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Avocados are a naturally nutrient-dense food and contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like avocados decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy and overall lower weight.

Healthy for the heart: Avocados contain 25 milligrams per ounce of a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. Regular consumption of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols are recommended for their ability to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Great for vision:Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that are essential to eye health. These two carotenoids act as antioxidants in the eye and can minimize the damage and reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Osteoporosis prevention:Vitamin K can improve bone health by increasing calcium absorption and reducing urinary excretion of calcium.Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk of bone fracture. One-half of an avocado provides approximately 25% of the daily-recommended intake for vitamin K.

Cancer fighter:Low levels of folate have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer in women. Adequate intake of dietary folate (from food, not necessarily supplements) has also shown promise in protecting against colon, stomach, pancreatic and cervical cancers.One-half of an avocado provides approximately 20% of the daily-recommended intake for folate.

Healthy babies:Folate is also extremely important for pregnant women. Adequate intake protects against miscarriage and neural tube defects.Paternal folate deficiency in mice was associated with a 30% higher number of various birth defects than in offspring with no paternal folate deficiencies.

Improved digestion:Avocado is actually high in fiber, with approximately 6-7 grams per half fruit. Eating foods with natural fiber can prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract and lower the risk of colon cancer.

Protection from chronic disease:High fiber intakes are associated with significantly lower risks of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Increased fiber intake has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance weight loss for obese individuals.

The author MaxCure Hospitals