I’m often asked if people with gout should avoid avocados in their diet. The answer is not at all. In fact, here you’re going to discover the benefits of adding avocado to your diet, not just in terms of your gout, but also in terms of your overall health position.
I love avocado! I love it in salads, and in guacamole of course. But a favorite breakfast of mine is a layer of mashed avocado (mixed with a little lemon juice and a few chillie flakes) on toasted sourdough bread, with chopped red onions and chopped tomatoes spooned over, and then the whole topped with a soft boiled or poached egg, with a garnish of coriander or parsley. Delish!
Native to Central America and Mexico the avocado is grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. The name ‘avocado’ refers both to the avocado tree and its pear-shaped fruit which is technically a berry. So, although it’s often found in the vegetable aisle, it’s actually a fruit with rough leathery skin and smooth, oily edible flesh.
Its name comes from the Aztec word — ahuacatl — meaning ‘testicle,’ perhaps due to its shape or because it was thought to be an aphrodisiac. When the Spanish arrived in South America ahuácatl became aguacate then, over time, avogato, and finally avocado.
Avocado is a Superfood
According to the todayifoundout.com website:
“There are 13 known vitamins that the body requires for survival. They are vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and 8 types of B vitamins. Avocados contain most of them. One serving of avocado will yield you 4% of your daily needs for vitamins C, E, Potassium, 4 types of B vitamins and 8% of vitamin K. It contains 2% of your daily needs for magnesium and 8% of your dietary fiber. And besides all that, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends them as part of a daily diet.”
And according to avocadocentral.com, one cup of pureed avocado contains:
- 368 Calories
- 4.6 g of Protein
- 19.62 g of Carbohydrate
- 1166 mg of Potassium (more even than bananas)
- 23.0 mg of Vitamin C
- 175 mg Beta-sitosterol
- 0 mg Cholesterol
So you can see that the avocado is somewhat of a superfood and why more and more health-conscious people are adding it to their diet.
Benefits of Adding Avocado to Your Gout Diet
Thus it’s a safe addition to your gout diet. Remember, gout is caused by high uric acid levels in the blood and uric acid is a byproduct of the metabolic breakdown of purines and fructose. So the less purines and fructose in your system, the less uric acid is produced, and the less risk of a painful gout flare.
However, avocado has additional benefits, particularly in terms of helping to reduce inflammation and lower uric acid levels…
As you’ve seen above, it’s very high in potassium. Studies have shown that potassium helps to flush excess uric acid out of the body, which in turn helps to lower and maintain healthy uric acid levels in the blood.
It’s also an alkaline food when eaten, so it can help to maintain your body in a more alkaline state which makes it more difficult for urate crystals to form out of uric acid in the joints and trigger a gout flare.
Avocados are rich in oleic acid (a powerful antioxidant and monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil) and in carotenoids (also powerful antioxidants) that, together, can help reduce inflammation, while the vitamin E in avocados can aid in the repair of damaged joint cartilage.
But wait, there’s more…
Other Health Benefits of Avocado
An avocado has zero cholesterol, is virtually sodium-free, a good source of fiber, and more than 50% of its fat content is monounsaturated (good) fats.
Studies have shown that the oleic acid in avocados — remember, a monounsaturated (good) fat — can reduce both total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels whilst, at the same time, increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels. So avocados may help to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
And other studies have shown that fiber can lower the risk of stroke and heart attacks too. But dietary fiber is also an important element in heart, skin, and digestive health, as well as in the proper regulation of blood sugar. It’s also thought that fiber may even contribute to weight loss by helping to increase the feeling of being full. (Source)
As well as helping to reduce inflammation, carotenoids in avocados — especially lutein and zeaxanthin — may aid eye health and reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, according to some studies.
And, as powerful antioxidants, carotenoids also protect cells and DNA in our bodies by sweeping up free radicals in the bloodstream. As a result, some studies suggest that carotenoids may lower the risk of some cancers; prostate, lung, skin, and breast cancer, for example.
Carotenoids are mostly concentrated in the flesh immediately below the outer peel. So to get the maximum benefit from avocados they have to be very ripe and peeled correctly before eating. The following video shows exactly how to do this…
Who Should NOT Eat Avocado?
It’s known that some people can have an allergic reaction to consuming avocado.They generally fall into two groups; those who are allergic to latex and those who have a tree-pollen allergy…
Some people who are allergic to natural rubber latex can also be allergic to certain plant-based foods such as avocado. The cross-reaction between these allergies is termed the ‘latex-fruit syndrome.’ Symptoms include abdominal pains, vomiting, urticaria (hives), and severe reactions can be life-threatening.
In much the same way there is an association between tree-pollen and plant-based food allergies. This is called the ‘pollen-food syndrome.’ Symptoms of tingling / mild itching are usually confined to the mouth and throat. Sometimes, though, they can be more severe and include local swelling and even nausea and vomiting.
So if you have an allergy to either natural rubber latex or tree-pollen you should avoid avocado.
But, if you’re safe to eat avocados, then consider adding them to your regular diet. To start, why not try my breakfast I described at the beginning? It really is delicious!
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