One key to a healthy colon is a high fiber diet. Unfortunately, most Americans consume less than half the daily recommended amount. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should consume between 30 and 38 grams of fiber daily, and women should consume 21-25 grams. However, the majority of Americans only consume 15 grams per day on average. A diet high in fiber aids digestion, lowers weight and cholesterol, and reduces inflammation in the body. It can also reduce the risk of colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, and heart disease.
Fiber is part of the cellular wall of fruits, vegetables, and grains, and, with the help of water, moves food through the digestive tract quickly and efficiently. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water while insoluble does not. Adequate water intake is important when on a high-fiber diet because fiber draws fluids from the body. Dietary fiber is not digested by the body but passes through the stomach, small intestines, and colon and out of the body relatively intact (Source: Mayo Clinic).
If you need to boost your fiber intake, avocados may be the fruit to add to your diet. Avocados are an excellent source of insoluble fiber as well as oleic acid, a monounsaturated “heart-healthy” fatty acid. Their rich, buttery yet mild taste makes them a perfect ingredient for baking-- plus they are loaded with nutrients including potassium, folate, lutein, and vitamins K, C, B, and E. Low in carbohydrates, avocados are thought to help prevent cancer, reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, and even relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
There are 2 types of avocados: the the Florida Fuentes and the more popular California Hass. Hass avocados have a thick dark skin and are smaller in size than their counterpart. Half of a Hass avocado has about 114 calories and 4.6 grams of fiber (more than 18 percent of the daily value for dietary fiber) while half of the bright green, pear-shaped Florida Fuentes avocado provides 183 calories and 8.5 grams of fiber (34 percent of the daily value).
The soluble fiber found in avocados promotes healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels as “water dissolves it into a gel-like substance capable of binding cholesterol and delaying glucose absorption in the small intestine” (Source: SFGate). The insoluble fiber in avocados helps achieve good digestive health and regulates bowel function.
How to Add More Avocado to Your Diet
Lest you think guacamole is the only way to eat avocados, here are some delicious ways to incorporate the superfood into your daily diet:
What’s your favorite way to eat avocados?