A dietician, Ms Yemisi Olowookere, on Monday advised people to consume avocados regularly to help lower cholesterol and fight anaemia as well as other ailments.
Olowookere told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that avocados are very rich in dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals.
``Avocados, such as olives, are high in mono-unsaturated fats and calories.
``Avocado’s creamy flesh is a good source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic and palmitoleic acids as well as omega-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acid and linoleic acid.
``Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids help lower LDL or bad cholesterol and increase HDL or good-cholesterol,’’ she said.
According to her, avocados prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favouring healthy blood lipid profile and also appropriate for the diet of those suffering from stomach ulcers or gastritis.
The dietician also said that avocados are good sources of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre that provides about 18 per cent of recommended daily intake.
Olowookere said that dietary fibres also help lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent constipation.
She also explained that avocados are rich in vitamin B6 important for proper neuron functions and appropriate for those suffering from nervousness, irritability or depression.
`` The compounds present in avocados act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in ageing and various disease processes,’’ she added.
Olowookere said that avocados are excellent sources of minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium and manganese.
She also said that magnesium is essential for bone strengthening and has a cardiac-protective role as well.
``Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme as iron and copper are required in the production of red blood cells.
``The iron in avocados are well assimilated; eating them is recommended for all those needing additional iron, such as adolescents particularly girls and pregnant women,’’ she said.
The dietician, who said that fresh avocado pear is a rich source of potassium which is an important component of cell and body fluids responsible for regulating heart rate and blood pressure.
She also said that recent studies had shown that eating avocados is particularly beneficial to diabetics as they help maintain glycemia level (blood glucose).
``Avocados have great nutritional value, ease digestion and because of their vitamin E content, it should be a part of the diets of children and adolescents during periods of rapid growth.
``Avocados are good for athletes exhausted or stressed adults, the elderly and all those wishing to naturally and healthily increase their vitality,’’ she said.
She said that avocados are ideal in salads and also delicious on their own when eaten.
Olowookere, however, advised for the consumption of avocados as a healthy source of calories, unlike many other calorie-dense foods that may contain excess saturated fats and sugar. (NAN)