September 16 is National Guacamole Day (don't ask me why I know that) and in case you need a reason to celebrate, it turns out that avocados are one of the healthiest fruits out there—maybe even the perfect food.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I craved guacamole and ate it like it was my job. Turns out, that was probably not a terrible plan (aside from the nachos I used as a guacamole delivery system) because of the good fats, folate, and phytochemicals that would have been good for me and baby. In fact, according to nutritionists, avocados contain everything a person needs to survive. So, what exactly makes these fruits so amazing?
- According to WebMD, “A medium-sized avocado contains 30 grams of fat, as much as a quarter-pound burger,” but most of the fat is monounsaturated fat—the good kind. A study shows that people who eat avocados are actually thinner.
- The same study showed that avocado eaters were less at risk for metabolic syndrome, which can lead to type-2 diabetes and heart attacks.
- Avocados contain folate, an important nutrient for pregnant women and infants, and have also been shown to help reverse memory loss in Alzheimer's patients and retard the progression of the disease.
- Speaking of infants, avocados are also often cited as a perfect first food for babies because of their nutritional benefits, the amount of healthy fats for brain development—and the soft texture.
- Foods high in carotenoids, like avocados, have been shown to protect against skin aging, UV damage, and even sunburn.
- Another study showed that avocados have anti-inflammatory properties, which is good because inflammation has been linked to Alzheimer’s, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, sleep apnea, and cancer.
- Some other studies have shown avocados to have cancer-fighting properties; in lab tests, avocados killed cancer cells, so there might be a benefit for adding them to an anti-cancer diet.