Advantages of Avocado for Your Child

Contrary to what many people think, avocados are a fruit, not a vegetable, and are packed with nutrients you need and may not be getting enough of.

The avo is king in the kitchen. Avocado’s versatility allows it to practically be used in any dish and for those who are time-challenged, this fruit is quick and easy to prepare, making it the height of culinary convenience.

Many kids resist eating fruits and vegetables, but avocado is a fruit kids more willingly eat, especially when you prepare it in an appealing way. For example, you can create a quick, yummy mousse using mashed avocado, cocoa powder and sweetener such as stevia or honey. Serving avocados to kids offers numerous advantages, as they provide abundant vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.

One of nature’s superfruits

Avocados are considered by the scientific fraternity to be one of nature’s superfruits, most notably because of their nutrition density. The avo contains nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds. It is crammed full of monosaturated fats, the fat known to lower artery-clogging LDL cholesterol and raise heart-healthy HDL cholesterol.

A half-cup of avocado contains 15.3 micrograms of vitamin K, or 19.1 percent of the DV. This fat-soluble vitamin helps with blood clotting. A 1/2-cup serving of avocado contains 59 micrograms of folate, or 14.8 percent of the DV. Folate is of the B vitamins that helps promote healthy cell and tissue development. That same serving of avocado contains 1.51 milligrams of vitamin E, which is 5 percent of the DV. This vitamin supports the heart, red blood cells, skin and hair. Vitamin B-6 supports the immune system and nerve function and is also significant in avocados, at 0.188 milligrams in 1/2 cup and 9.4 percent of the DV. Vitamin C, a nutrient that supports development and growth, is essential for children. Just 1/2 cup of avocado contains 7.3 milligrams of this nutrient and 12.1 percent of the DV.

Rich in potassium

Avocados provide an excellent source of the mineral potassium. According to the USDA, a 1/2-cup serving provides 354 milligrams, or 10.1 percent of the DV. Potassium is an electrolyte that the body requires for the organs, cells and tissues to function normally. One of the advantages of potassium for children is its role in growth and muscle building.

Other nutrients include lutein and beta-sitosterol. Lutein, a carotenoid, is linked with heart, prostate and eye health, while beta-sitosterol is a plant compound that studies show can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

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Carole Derrick, Primary Grades Teacher