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Avocados

Avocados – often called Alligator Pears – due to their bumpy green skin, have long been hailed as super fruits by health practitioners and nutritionists, and now, research conducted earlier this year has revealed new health benefits, putting them in the same league of super foods such as watercress and kale. Since they are available all year round in Pakistan, you can add them to soups and salads, pair them with crackers and cottage cheese or enjoy avocado paste in sandwiches, for a delicious and healthy snack.

Here are four reasons why you should add avocados to your diet:

1. Avocados are rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A) and lutein, which improve eyesight, reduce the risk of contracting chronic eye diseases and prevent age related macular degeneration by maintaining healthy ocular tissues. They are also believed to delay the onset of cataracts.

2. High doses of vitamins C and E in avocados help in regulating your cholesterol and boosting your immunity. Your dermatologist will often recommend their regular consumption as these vitamins promote collagen production, which helps regenerate skin cells, reduce pregnancy stretch marks and acne scars, giving you a healthy glow. The anti-oxidants in these vitamins are believed to reduce chances of contracting oral cancers.

3. Expectant mothers should eat avocados as they provide high quantities of folate (vitamin B), essential in preventing birth defects. Avocados are rich in iron which prevents low energy levels, fatigue and anaemia, all of which are common during pregnancy.Page 1 copy

4. A single serving of avocados contains almost double the amount of potassium that bananas have; they are also chock-full of monosaturated fats, dietary fibre and oleic acid. Together, these compounds help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and consequently, your risk of developing heart disease; they are therefore essential for maintaining your cardiovascular and nervous systems.

– Saba Gul Hasan
The writer is a dietician.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on November 9, 2014.

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