“Superfood” is a term used to describe foods that are nutrient dense and that may contribute to better health or provide health benefits. These power foods are natural, not created in a food lab and provide the most nutrient “bang” for the calorie “buck”. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, co-enzymes, fiber, anti-oxidants or phyto-nutrients.
Typically low fat fruits, vegetables and grains are categorized as superfoods (for example blueberries are considered a superfood because of the health promoting properties they contain: antioxidants, anthocyanins, vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber).
My list, contains superfoods that are higher in fat and are not typically considered “super” because of the fat content. Yet, by definition they should not be forgotten on any super food list. These high(er) fat nutrient dense superfoods contribute to optimal health and they should be included in your diet as part of a balanced healthy nutrition plan.
SUPERFOOD #1: Hass Avocado
A fruit also known as the “alligator pear” because of its dark coarse skin, avocado tops the list. Despite its soft creamy texture, half an avocado contains 6.5g fiber which is more than most other fruits, vegetables or grains. Eighty percent of the calories from avocado comes from fat. So if you take a fat soluble vitamin like vitamin D, an avocado should help with its absorption. This superfruit is dense in other nutrients as well including:
…And there is much much more avocado has to offer as a superfood; it contains phytonutrients like beta-sitosterol (lowers LDL and decreases prostate cancer cell growth, http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2005/6/report_prostate/Page-01), antioxidants such as lutein (important in eye and heart health) and oleic acid (an abundant monounsaturated fat component of the avocado) which according to a review in Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry entitled “An overview of the modulatory effects of oleic acid in health and disease,” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23278117, there are multiple health benefits linked to avocado consumption including reducing inflammation, lowering risk for heart disease and wound healing.
Very recently avocado fat is being investigated as an agent that may be effective at destroying the stem cells of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150615142715.htm.
Nutritional benefits have also been linked to anti-aging, helping maintain blood sugar levels, lowering chances of neural tube defects for the baby during pregnancy and improving gut and bowel health.
The broad spectrum of nutrients benefiting different health parameters gives this fat filled fruit its Superfood status. Eating an avocado or veggies with some guacamole everyday is not just delicious but gives you a wide range of nutrients that can contribute to wellness.
Limiting fat can jeopardize good health decisions and interfere with good choices to eat foods like the avocado just because they contain fat. Health conscious decisions should not be solely based on the narrow scope of macronutrient distribution as carbohydrates, fats and protein consumption only scratches the surface of health as a whole and should be considered only as one piece of an intricate health puzzle.
The countdown continues next week…