Take Your Heart's Health to Heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but there is plenty you can do to help prevent it. A healthy diet, physical activity and not smoking are three key ways to keep your heart strong and healthy. The American Heart Association recommends a diet that is low in saturated fat (less than 7% of energy), trans fats (less than 1% of energy), cholesterol (less than 300 mg per day) and sodium. Avocados have 3.5 grams of mono- and polyunsaturated fat combined and just 0.5 gram of saturated fat per 1-oz. serving. They are naturally free of sodium, trans fats and cholesterol, making them a great fruit to help meet heart-healthy eating recommendations.

Did you know?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 states that replacing some saturated fatty acids with unsaturated fatty acids lowers both total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) blood cholesterol levels. Studies show replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat, while staying within calorie needs, is more effective in reducing the risk of heart disease than simply lowering total fat intake. Research also supports the importance of improving the fat quality of the diet by choosing better fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are associated with improved blood lipids. Avocados contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Avocados and Heart Disease

Avocados can help consumers meet the dietary guidelines of the American Heart Association, which are to eat a diet that is low to moderate in fat. The fats should be primarily unsaturated and low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They recommend limiting saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of total daily calories, trans fats intake to less than 1 percent of total daily calories and cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day. A 1-oz. serving of avocado contains 0.5 grams saturated fat and is trans fat- and cholesterol-free making it a good choice to help meet these dietary guidelines.

Avocados and Good Fats

The avocado is virtually the only fruit that has monounsaturated fat. According to the American Heart Association, good fats are those that can lower bad cholesterol levels and are beneficial when consumed in moderation. Avocados contribute good fats to one's diet, providing 3 grams monounsaturated fat and 0.5 polyunsaturated grams fat per 1-oz. serving. Avocados are cholesterol- and sodium-free, and more than 50 percent of the fruit's fat content comes from monounsaturated fats.

Good for a Healthy Heart because of:

Monounsaturated Fat

Avocado is loaded with monounsaturated fats. This is the healthy oelic acid, which is the primary fat in avocado. Omega-9 fats is better than Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. Too much Omega-6 fats, from heated and chemically processed vegetable oil, has been linked to a variety of diseases of inflammation, including heart disease. The fat in avocados provides protection against heart diseases.

Phystosterol

Avocado is a good source of phytosterols like beta-sitosterol which help reduce cholesterol absorption, hence cholestrol level. Cholesterol cannot dissolve in the blood. It has to be transported to and from the cells by carriers called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the "bad" cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the "good" cholesterol. Research suggests that avocados lower the bad cholesterol while elevating the amount of (good cholesterol level in our body.

Potassium

Avocado is a good source of potassium, 3 times more than in banana. Potassium is a mineral vital for normalizing and regulating blood pressure, reduced risk of high blood pressure, stroke & other cardiovascular diseases. Potassium deficiency can result in irregular heartbeat.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant which reduce cholesterol oxidization in the arteries which block blood flow leading to stroke, and serious cardiovascular disease.

Folate

Avocado has a high concentration of folate which minimize the risk of stroke.

Fiber

Avocado is rich in fiber which control blood sugar levels and improve digestion and elimination. Research indicates that avocado consumption is associated with improved diet quality, nutrient intake and reduced risk of Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a group of symptoms that raise the risk of corornary artery disease.

Good for Eye Health

Of the 600 carotenoids found in nature, only lutein and zeaxanthin are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye – American OptometricAssociation. Many studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts - American Optometric Association.

What is Lutein?

A natural antioxidant that helps maintain eye health as we grow old.

Good for Weight Management

Over 75% of the fat is unsaturated fat, a great substitute for foods high in saturated fat. The healthy fats increase body metabolism. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and fibres. One feel full after eating avocados. The fiber creates a long-lasting sense of fullness by slowly digesting the food item and releasing appetite-suppressing hormones.

Good for Skin Care

Over 75% of the fat is unsaturated fat, a great substitute for foods high in saturated fat. The healthy fats increase body metabolism. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and fibres. One feel full after eating avocados. The fiber creates a long-lasting sense of fullness by slowly digesting the food item and releasing appetite-suppressing hormones.

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

The high oleic acid content help maintains moisture in the epidermal layer of the skin to make it soft and moisturized. It also helps regenerate damaged skin cells, reduce facial redness and irritation. Omega-9 fatty acids are one of the building blocks of healthy skin.

Antioxidant Carotenoids

These free radical quenching compounds - alpha carotene, beta carotene, beta cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein, provide significant protection for the skin from environmental damage that leads to fine lines, wrinkles and other visible signs of aging.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is needed for the creation of elastin and collagen, which bind the skin cells and maintain their firmness.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that is essential for the maintenance of healthy skin. Research studies have demonstrated that vitamin E can reduce the effects of UVA and UVB radiation from sun exposure on skin. Vitamin E also assists in preventing free radical damage from oxidizing fats in the skin cells that lead to aging skin.

Good for Anti-Aging

Avocados are enriched with glutathione, a powerful antioxidant capable of preserving age. Being rich in vitamin C and vitamin E, both of them having antioxidant properties, avocados help in slowing down the aging process.