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The Avocado Diet

As its name suggests, the avocado diet emphasizes eating avocados. Avocados are fruits that primarily grown in Central and South America, as well as some parts of Mexico. They are characterized by thick, leathery rinds and dense, creamy flesh. Focusing on avocados as a food source may have several beneficial health effects.

Avocados are rich sources of essential fatty acids, particularly oleic acid, according to David Wolfe, author of "The Sunfood Diet Success System." Essential fatty acids may help lower levels of low-density lipoproteins and elevate high-density lipoproteins in your bloodstream. Low-density lipoproteins, or LDL cholesterol, are compounds of protein and fat that may promote arterial blockages, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. High-density lipoproteins, or HDL cholesterol, are "good" cholesterol components that may help your body prevent and clear lipid deposits in your arteries.

Avocados are rich sources of vitamin K. Although vitamin K deficiencies are rare, low levels of this vitamin may encourage excessive bleeding from wounds. A vitamin K deficiency may also decrease your body's ability to absorb and use calcium, which may lead to osteoporosis and increased risk of bone fractures. A average-size avocado contains about 42 micrograms of vitamin K, or about 45 percent of the recommended daily intake, according to the National Nutrient Database.

Potassium is an essential mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and heart rhythms. It is also necessary for proper nervous system function and helps maintain proper water balance in your body to prevent dehydration and water weight gain, according to Phyllis Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Avocados are abundant sources of potassium -- an average-size avocado contains about 975 milligrams of potassium, or about 20 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Although avocados may provide health benefits, relying heavily on avocados as food sources may also pose health risks. Avocados are high in calories compared to other fruits -- an average-size avocado provides about 322 calories. Limit your consumption of avocados if you are watching calories in an effort to lose weight. Also, an avocado provides about 24 grams of fat. Although about 80 percent of the fats in avocados are unsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy, high consumption of fat can still contribute to weight gain and other health problems.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.