Over the years, numerous studies have shown the myriad health benefits of avocado and that’s why we decided to condense 19 of the most important to make it one of the unblemished points of your shopping list of supermarket.
Although many people confuse it with a vegetable since it is usually eaten in salty dishes and, very often in salads, the truth is that avocado is a fruit that is found in the avocado tree, of the Lauráceas family.
This fruit is usually yellow, green, or reddish brown. It has the shape of a pear and a very nice flavor, perfect to accompany many dishes in the world. One of the popular and erroneous beliefs about avocado is that its fat is “detrimental” to health, totally false assertion. In fact, it is known that athletes rely on avocado as an alternative supplement for their demanding activities.
Health Benefits of Avocado
1. Incredibly nutritious
This fruit is appreciated for its high nutritional value; it is used in all kinds of dishes thanks to its good taste and texture. It is the main ingredient of guacamole. Currently, the avocado has become a very popular food among people who take care of their health. It is sometimes referred to as a superfood which is not surprising if we consider its health benefits.
There are many types of avocados, the shape (pear-shaped to round) and the color (from green to black) can vary. They can also weigh between 220 grams and up to 1.4 kg.
2. It has more potassium than bananas
Potassium is a nutrient that most people do not consume in sufficient quantities. This nutrient helps maintain the electrical gradient of the body’s cells and fulfills several important functions.
Avocados have a very high content of potassium. A serving of 100 grams contains 14% of the recommended daily dose, compared to 10% of the banana, a typical food rich in potassium.
Several studies reveal that an elevated intake of potassium helps lower blood pressure, the main cardiovascular risk factor, heart attacks and kidney dysfunction.
3. It is beneficial for the heart
Once again, the avocado is a high-fat food. In fact, 77% of your calories come from fat, which makes it one of the fattiest foods of plant origin of all that exist.
But not only they contain any fat, most of the fat in the avocado is oleic acid. This is a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the main component in olive oil and is thought to be responsible for some of its beneficial effects.
Oleic acid has been linked to the reduction of inflammation and has been shown to have beneficial effects on cancer- related genes. The fats in the avocado are also quite resistant to oxidation induced by heat, so avocado oil is a healthy and safe option for cooking.
4. They are full of fiber
Fiber is another nutrient found in relatively large quantities in avocados. Fiber is the non-digestible plant material that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of suffering from many diseases.
Fiber is known to be able to feed the good bacteria of the intestine, which are very important for the optimal functioning of our organism.
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in the world. It is known that several markers of blood are associated with an increased risk. These include cholesterol, triglycerides, markers of inflammation, blood pressure and several others. Eating avocado can lower the risk of those diseases.
6. Avocado makes people healthier
One study examined the eating and health habits of people who eat avocados.
We analyzed the data of 17,567 participants in the NHANES survey in the USA. It was found that avocado consumers were healthier than people who did not eat them. They had a much higher nutrient intake and half the likelihood of having metabolic syndrome, a set of symptoms that are a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.
People who ate avocados regularly also weighed less, had a lower body mass index and significantly less fat in the belly. They also had more HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.
However, the correlation does not imply causality and there is no guarantee that the avocados were the cause of these people having better health. Therefore it is not considered that this particular study has much weight.
7. It can help absorb nutrients from plant foods
When it comes to nutrients, the total amount is not the only thing that matters. We also have to be able to absorb them, move them from the digestive tract to the body where they can be used.
Some nutrients are “liposoluble”, which means that they have to be combined with fat in order to be used. This includes vitamins A, D, E and K … along with antioxidants such as carotenoids.
One study showed that adding avocado or avocado oil to any salad or salsa can increase antioxidant absorption by 2.6 to 15 times.
So, it’s not that the avocado is highly nutritious, but that it can significantly increase the value of the nutrients of other plant foods that are ingested. This is an excellent reason why always include a source of healthy fat when you eat vegetables. Without it, many of the beneficial plant nutrients are wasted.
8. Help in the protection of the eyes
Avocados not only increase the absorption of antioxidants from other foods, but they are also rich in antioxidants by themselves. This includes nutrients that are called lutein and zeaxanthin, which are really important for eye health.
Studies show that these nutrients are linked to a significant reduction in risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, common in older people. Therefore, including avocados in the diet should be beneficial for long-term eye health.
9. Avocado could help prevent cancer
There is limited evidence that avocado can be beneficial in cancer prevention.
One study showed that it can help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy on human lymphocytes. It has also been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells. However, we must bear in mind that these studies were carried out on isolated cells and that they do not really prove anything about what happens in humans.
10. Relieve the symptoms of arthritis
Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are many types of arthritis, and it is often a chronic problem that people have for the rest of their lives. Multiple studies have shown that extracts of avocado and soybean oil, called unsaponifiable avocado and soy, can reduce the symptoms of arthritis in the bones, known as osteoarthritis.
If the avocados are the ones that can have this effect, and not only the extract, it is still to be known.
11. Help you lose weight
There is evidence that avocados are a valuable food for weight loss. Including avocados in the diet could help you eat fewer calories naturally since following a healthy diet is easier. Avocados are also high in fiber, and very low in carbohydrates, two attributes that should also help promote weight loss, at least in the context of a healthy diet.
12. Avocado is delicious and easy to incorporate into the diet
Avocados are not only healthy but also very tasty and can be used with all kinds of foods. They can be added to salads and different recipes or, simply, they can be eaten directly with a spoon. They have a rich, creamy and fatty texture that blends well with other ingredients.
A notable mention is guacamole, which is probably the best known use of avocados. Includes avocado along with ingredients such as salt, garlic, lemon and some others, depending on the recipe. An avocado needs time to mature and when it is it must feel soft. Its nutrients are oxidized shortly after being opened, adding a little lemon juice helps that it does not happen so fast.
13. It helps prevent osteoporosis
Avocado provides about 21 micrograms of vitamin K per 100 grams, which makes it a great ally for the prevention of osteoporosis. Recent studies have confirmed that this vitamin helps improve the quality of bones, thanks to the increased absorption of calcium.
14. Improves problems of constipation
Being an important source of fiber, “it is a very suitable food to improve intestinal transit in those people with bowel problems,” says Marta Villarino, member of the Professional Association of Dieticians-Nutritionists of the Community of Madrid (CODINMA).
15. It helps to delay aging
The wealth of antioxidants and minerals provided by avocados have shown that “it is a good ally when it comes to inhibiting the production of free radicals involved in aging and other diseases,” confirms Paloma Gil.
16. Improves the appearance of the skin
From the point of view of beauty, the consumption of avocado can be of help to improve the skin, since its components favor having a better tonality, given its richness in fatty acids and antioxidants,that improves the regeneration of it.
17. Avocados improve brain function
They contribute to a healthy blood flow and reduce blood pressure.
18. Elevate your immune system
The Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant associated with a healthy immune system. A 2000 report in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society stated: “The immune system works best if the lymphoid cells have an intermediate level of glutathione.” And avocados are a good source of this substance, according to the National University of the United States.
19. Prevents birth defects
Avocados are a great option for expectant mothers, as they contain a significant amount of folic acid, which is essential for the prevention of congenital defects such as spina bifida and neural tube defects.
At the end of the day, avocados are an incredible food. They are loaded with nutrients, many of which are lacking in the modern diet. They can help you lose weight, they are heart healthy and … last but not least, they taste incredible.