Avocados are a healthy, creamy, tasty food, whether they sit on top of a sandwich, an omelet or a salad -- or become transformed into guacamole. Avocados balance hormones, contain beneficial fats, and feature over twenty vitamins and minerals including magnesium and potassium.
They are a uniquely high source of plant sterols, which is the part of the plant that corresponds to cholesterol in people. Eating plant sterols has been proven to lower cholesterol and increase heart health in several research studies from sources like the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Another key benefit of avocados is their ability to block estrogen absorption in the body. They contain key plant sterols that can reduce excess estrogen. This allows increased progesterone to be present in women and testosterone in men.
Some of the causes of excess estrogen include exposure to toxins and pollutants in the environment, chemical estrogens in plastics, hormones from food, and toxic cleaning products. Eating some avocado regularly can take the edge off the toxic load and provide better hormonal balance.
Increased estrogen levels can lead to weight gain, tiredness, headaches, water retention, breast tenderness and insomnia. Regarding excess weight, one study in the "Nutrition Journal" showed that adding half an avocado to the lunch time meal resulted in a feeling of satisfaction and a 40% reduction in the desire to eat during the 3 hours after lunch.
Decreased estrogen levels, as in the time of menopause, can also create many uncomfortable symptoms. As menopause approaches, an emerging link between estrogen decline and menopause symptoms is the aspect of mineral deficiency. Mildred Seeling, M.D. describes this in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. She says "Estrogen enhances magnesium utilization and uptake by soft tissues and bone, and may explain the resistance of young women to heart disease and osteoporosis -- as well as the increased prevalence of these diseases when estrogen production ceases."
Magnesium works best when it's balanced with calcium. The pioneering nutritionist Adelle Davis writes of mineral deficiency during menopause in her book "Let's Get Well." Davis says: "Calcium is less well absorbed and the urinary losses are greater when the output of estrogen decreases...during the menopause high amounts of calcium should be obtained and every step be taken to insure its absorption into the blood. When these precautions are taken and the diet is adequate in other respects, the woman at menopause usually loses her irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, insomnia, and mental depression."
Regarding the beneficial hormonal effects of avocado, Michael Lam, M.D. who specializes in nutritional medicine says: "Plants contain over 5,000 known sterols that have progesterone enhancing effects. People who eat more wholesome plant foods have a far lower incidence of menopausal symptoms because their pre- and post-menopause levels of (hormones) do not drop as significantly."
The avocado is a pear-shaped fruit that is free of cholesterol and salt. They are high in fiber and also contain lutein, which is a plant pigment that is proven to strengthen the eyes. Eating avocados can help prevent heart disease with its healthy fats that reduce cholesterol in the body. Adding some avocado to meals is a great way to help balance hormones - half an avocado is a good amount.
Avocado oil is another concentrated form of plant sterols that can be used for cooking in any high heat application like stir-fry, bar-b-q or roasting. It also makes a great base for salad dressings and sauces. An avocado in any form is a great food for overall health and particularly good hormonal health.