Bloomington / Normal, IL

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The Almighty Avocado


Submitted by Elizabeth Madlem, APN, The Bone Health Clinic at Millennium Pain Center

Food trends come and go. One such trend that has seemingly enjoyed more staying power than others is avocado toast, a popular dish that might trace some of that admiration to how easy it is to prepare. The popularity of avocado toast has exploded in recent years, but it has actually been around for decades. Many trace the origins of avocado toast to Australia, though it’s hard for food historians to say with utmost certainty where the dish was first served.
Avocado toast is as healthy as it is popular. Avocados boast a host of health benefits, some of which might surprise even the most ardent devotees.

  • Avocados are loaded with vitamins. They are a great source of numerous vitamins, including C, E, K, and B-6. Avocados also contain beta-carotene, which the human body converts into vitamin A that promotes healthy skin and a strong immune system.
  • Avocados can promote healthier bones. Because they’re high in vitamin K, a nutrient that is crucial for bone health, avocados may help reduce a person’s risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition characterized by bones becoming fragile and brittle due to loss of tissue. Vitamin K may help improve the intestinal absorption of calcium. That’s a significant benefit, as calcium deficiency has long been associated with a greater risk for osteoporosis. Other bone-healthy foods include blueberries, olive oil, soybeans, leafy greens, broccoli, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. While milk and dairy products have long been touted as good for your bones, recent research has questioned the benefit of getting calcium from dairy products. The best recommendation is to eat a variety of healthy foods, including dairy, but don’t depend on dairy for all your calcium needs.
  • Avocados can benefit vision. Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, a pair of phytochemicals concentrated in the tissues in the eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin are believed to block blue light from reaching structures in the retina, thereby reducing a person’s risk of developing macular degeneration.
  • Avocados may help fight depression. Avocados are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit the body in myriad ways. One of those ways is by helping to reduce the symptoms of depression. Polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids are thought to antagonize inflammatory cytokines that can contribute to feelings of depression.

Trendy foods come and go, oftentimes falling off the radar when their health benefits are overstated or proven dubious. However, the documented health benefits of avocados and the many ways that they can be prepared and consumed will ensure their staying power.

For more information on bone health and osteoporosis, you may contact The Bone Health Clinic at Millennium Pain Center,
309-662-4321. They have a new location at 2406 East Empire St. in Bloomington, next to Orthopedic & Sports Enhancement Center. Elizabeth Madlem is a certified bone health consultant. The clinic provides screening, diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment plan for people who have or are at risk of developing osteoporosis.