12 proven health benefits of avocado
THE avocado is a rather unique type of fruit.
Most fruit consists primarily of carbohydrate, while avocado is high in healthy fats.
Numerous studies show that beneficial effects to health.
Here are 12 health benefits of avocado that are supported by scientific research: 1. Avocado is Incredibly Nutritious What we refer to as “avocado” is the fruit of the avocado tree, called Persea americana.
This fruit is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to all sorts of dishes due to its good flavour and rich texture. It is the main ingredient in guacamole.
These days, the avocado has become an incredibly popular food among health conscious individuals. It is often referred to as a superfood . . . which is not surprising given its health properties.
There are many kinds of avocados, and the shape (from pear-shaped to round) and colour (from green to black) can vary between them. They can also weigh anywhere from 8 ounces (220 grammes) to 3 pounds (1.4 kg). The most popular type is called Hass avocado.
It is often called “alligator pear,” which is very descriptive because it tends to be shaped like a pear and have green, bumpy skin… like an alligator.
The yellow-green flesh inside the fruit is eaten, but the skin and seed are discarded.
Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.
Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving:
Vitamin K: 26 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Folate: 20 percent of the RDA. Vitamin C: 17 percent of the RDA. Potassium: 14 percent of the RDA. Vitamin B5: 14 percent of the RDA. Vitamin B6: 13 percent of the RDA. Vitamin E: 10 percent of the RDA. Then it contains small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).
This is coming with 160 calories, 2 grammes of protein and 15 grammes of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grammes of carbs, 7 of those are fibre so there are only 2 “net” carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.
Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium, and are low in saturated fat. I personally don’t think that matters, but this is one of the reasons they are favoured by many “old school” experts who still believe these things are inherently harmful. 2. They Contain More Potassium Than Bananas Potassium is a nutrient that most people aren’t getting enough of.
This nutrient helps maintain electrical gradients in the body’s cells and serves various important functions.
Avocados are actually very high in potassium… with a 100 grammes (3.5 ounce) serving containing 14 percent of the RDA, compared to 10 percent in bananas, which are a typical high potassium food.
Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
3. Avocado is Loaded With Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids Again, avocado is a high fat food. In fact, 77 percent of the calories in it are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence.
But they don’t just contain any fat … the majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid.
This is a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component in olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its beneficial effects.
Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
The fats in avocado are also pretty resistant to heatinduced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe choice for cooking. 4. Avocados Are Loaded With Fiber Fibre is another nutrient found in relatively large amounts in avocado.
Fibre is indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many diseases.
A distinction is often made between soluble and insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre is known to be able to feed the friendly gut bacteria in the intestine, which are very important for the optimal function of our bodies.
A 100g (3.5 ounce) serving of avocado contains 7g of fibre, which is 27 percent of the recommended daily amount.
About 25 percent of the fibre in avocado is soluble, while 75 percent is insoluble.
5. Eating Avocados Can Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world.
It is known that several blood markers are linked to an increased risk.
This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure and various others.
The effects of avocado on some of these risk factors has been studied in eight human controlled trials.
These are studies where people are split into groups… one group is instructed to eat avocados, while the other is not. Then researchers see what happens to their blood markers over time. These studies have shown that avocados can: Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly. Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20 percent. Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22 percent. Increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by up to 11 percent.
One of the studies showed that including avocado in a low-fat vegetarian diet led to improvements in the cholesterol profile.
Unfortunately, all of the human studies were small (13-37 subjects) and short-term (1-4 weeks), but the results were impressive nonetheless. 6. People who eat avocados tend to be healthier One study looked at the dietary habits and health of people who eat avocados.
They analysed data from 17,567 participants in the NHANES survey in the US.
Avocado consumers were found to be much healthier than people who didn’t eat avocados.
They had a much higher nutrient intake and were half as likely to have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that are a major risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. it has powerful
People who ate avocados regularly also weighed less, had a lower BMI and significantly less belly fat. They also had more HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.
However, correlation does not imply causation and there is no guarantee that the avocados caused these people to be in better health. Therefore I don’t think this particular study carries much weight. 7. The fat in them can help you absorb nutrients from plant foods When it comes to nutrients, the total amount of them is not the only thing that matters. We also need to be able to absorb them . . . move them from the digestive tract and into the body, where they can be used.
Some nutrients are “fat soluble,” meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilised.
This includes vitamins A, D, E and K — along with antioxidants like carotenoids.
One study showed that adding avocado or avocado oil to either salad or salsa can increase antioxidant absorption by 2.6 to 15-fold.
So, not only is avocado highly nutritious, it can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you are eating.
This is an excellent reason to always include a healthy fat source when you eat veggies. Without it, a lot of the beneficial plant nutrients will go to waste.
8. Avocados are loaded with Powerful antioxidants that can protect the eyes
Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves.
This includes nutrients called Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health.
Studies show that these nutrients are linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in the elderly. Therefore, eating avocados should have benefits for eye health over the long term. 9. Avocado may help prevent cancer
There is limited evidence that avocado may be beneficial in preventing cancer.
One study showed that it may help reduce side effects of chemotherapy in human lymphocytes. Avocado extract has also been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.
However, keep in mind that these studies were done in isolated cells and don’t really prove anything about what happens in a living, breathing human. 10. Avocado extract may help relieve symptoms of arthritis Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are many types of arthritis, and these are often chronic problems that people have for the rest of their lives.
Multiple studies have shown that extracts from avocado and soybean oil, called Avocado and Soybean unsaponifiables, can reduce symptoms of arthritis of the bones, called osteoarthritis.
Whether avocados themselves can have this effect, and not just the extract, remains to be seen. 11. Eating avocado may help you lose weight There is some evidence that avocados are a weight loss friendly food.