If you have read our recent blog on fat, you learned the many reasons why we need healthy fats in our diet to function optimally. Avocados are an example of a healthy fat. So go for the guacamole when seeking out a healthy appetizer!
Avocados are high in oleic acid (also known as Omega-9), a mono-unsaturated fat that research has shown to help prevent heart disease and even cancer! As if that isn’t enough good news, avocados can actually help increase the absorption of nutrients from other vegetables! This is a concept known as nutrient fusion. For instance, a salad with lettuce, carrots, some spinach, and salsa is rich in carotenoids (example: beta carotene), which are extremely health-promoting. Add an avocado in your salad, and you automatically increase your body’s ability to absorb those nutrients! Why? Because these carotenoids are lipophilic (which means they are soluble in fat, not water); if you eat them along with a healthy fat, like avocados, you enhance their bioavailability!
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Nutrition proves this point. Adding avocado to a salad increased absorption of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein 7.2, 15.3, and 5.1 times higher, respectively, than the average amount of these carotenoids absorbed when an avocado-free salad was eaten. Amazing stuff, isn’t it!