Health Benefits of Avocado: Avocados are a creamy-textured stone fruit that grows in warm climates. Their potential health benefits include improved digestion, a lower risk of depression, and cancer prevention.
The versatile avocado, also known as an alligator pear or butter fruit, is the only fruit that contains a significant amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). Avocados are a nutrient-dense food that contains nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a series on the health benefits of common foods. We take an in-depth look at the potential health benefits of eating avocados, as well as a nutritional breakdown, in this article. To keep things balanced, we’ll look at the potential health risks of eating avocados.
Benefits of Avocado
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been linked to a lower risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.
Numerous studies have found that a plant-based diet rich in foods like avocados can help to reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while also promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
1 Avocados are high in nutrients
One serving (about one-fifth of an avocado, or 40 grammes) contains:
- 64 calories
- almost 6 grams of fat
- 3.4 grams of carbohydrate
- less than a gram of sugar
- almost 3 grams of fiber
Avocados contain vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. In addition, they contain lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Despite the fact that fat accounts for the majority of the calories in an avocado, don’t be afraid to eat it! Avocados are high in healthy, beneficial fats, which help you feel full and satisfied. When you consume fat, your brain receives a signal that tells it to suppress your appetite. Eating fat slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which helps to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Fat is required by every cell in the body. Eating healthy fats benefits skin health, improves absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and may even boost the immune system.
Avocados contain 25 milligrammes of beta-sitosterol, a natural plant sterol. The consumption of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols on a regular basis has been shown to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
3 Excellent for vision
Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals found in high concentrations in the tissues of the eyes, where they provide antioxidant protection to help minimise damage caused by UV light.
Avocados’ monounsaturated fatty acids also aid in the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, so including them in your diet may help to lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
4 Preventing Osteoporosis
Half an avocado contains about 25% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K.
This nutrient is frequently overlooked, despite the fact that it is critical for bone health.
When it comes to nutrients important for maintaining healthy bones, calcium and vitamin D often take precedence. However, eating a diet rich in vitamin K can support bone health by increasing calcium absorption and decreasing urinary calcium excretion.
Adequate folate intake from food has been shown to protect against colon, stomach, pancreatic, and cervical cancers.
Although the mechanism underlying this apparent risk reduction is unknown, researchers believe that folate protects against undesirable mutations in DNA and RNA during cell division.
Avocados may even play a role in cancer treatment, with some research indicating that phytochemicals extracted from avocado can selectively inhibit the growth and death of precancerous and cancerous cells, while encouraging the proliferation of immune system cells known as lymphocytes.
These phytochemicals have also been shown to reduce chromosomal damage caused by the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide.
6 Babies who are healthy
Olate is essential for a healthy pregnancy.
A healthy diet lowers the risk of miscarriage and neural tube defects.
According to a recent study from McGill University, baby mice conceived using sperm from mice with a folate deficiency had a 30% higher incidence of a variety of birth defects than mice conceived using sperm from mice with adequate folate levels.
7 Reduced risk of depression
Foods high in folate may help to reduce the risk of depression because folate helps to prevent the buildup of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and nutrient delivery to the brain.
Excess homocysteine can also interfere with the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, all of which are involved in mood, sleep, and appetite regulation.
8 Digestion has improved
Despite its creamy texture, avocados are high in fibre, with about 6-7 grammes per half fruit.
Natural fiber-rich foods can help prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract, and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
9 Detoxification through nature
Adequate fibre consumption promotes regular bowel movements, which are necessary for the daily excretion of toxins via the bile and stool.
Recent research suggests that dietary fibre may also help to regulate the immune system and inflammation.
10 Treatment for osteoporosis
Saponins, which are found in avocados, soy, and some other plant foods, have been linked to symptom relief in knee osteoarthritis, with additional research to determine the long-term effects of isolated extracts planned.
11 Action against microbes
Avocados contain compounds with antimicrobial activity, particularly against Escherichia coli, a leading cause of food poisoning.
12 Protection against chronic disease
High fibre intakes are associated with significantly lower risks of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases, according to the Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Program of the University of Kentucky. Fiber consumption has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and aid in weight loss in obese people.
Gently pressing into the skin of an avocado will reveal its ripeness. If the avocado is firm and will not budge, leave it to ripen for a few days before eating. Firmer avocados are great for slicing and adding to salads or sandwiches, while soft avocados are great for guacamole or dip. Place an avocado in a paper bag with a banana to speed up the ripening process.
Avocado can be used in a variety of ways, many of which can be purchased online, including avocado oil. Check the product information before purchasing if you intend to use avocado oil for cooking or moisturising your skin or hair.
Aside from incorporating avocado into your diet, you can also use avocado products on your skin. Avocado is a popular moisturising ingredient in cosmetics such as face masks.
It is the overall diet or eating pattern that is most important for disease prevention and good health. It is preferable to eat a varied diet rather than focusing on individual foods as the key to good health.
If you are taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin (warfarin), it is critical that you do not abruptly start eating more or less foods containing vitamin K, which plays an important role in blood clotting.
Also Read: Benefits of Apricot