The avocado is a nutrient dense food, fall under the classification of a stone fruit with a creamy texture. It grows in warm climates and are often a feature in the Mexican and South American cuisine.
Avocados are considered a “Super food” and have a special position in the food calorie pyramid (1).
They are a good source of energy and contain a number of essential vitamins and minerals. Avocados contain calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.
They also contain minerals such as vitamin C, B6, B-12, A, D, K, E, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. Furthermore, they are a great source of dietary fiber, and a single serving can provide more than 40 percent of the daily requirement!
23 Possible Health Benefits of Avocados
Eating a diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.
Numerous studies have found that a predominantly plant-based diet that includes foods such as avocados can help to decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy and overall lower weight.
Keep reading to discover some of the interesting health benefits of eating avocados.
1. Good Digestion
It is believed that avocados are soothing for the intestine and therefore aid in digestion.
They contain soluble and insoluble fibers that help to keep digestive system running smoothly. These two types of fiber are very important for digestion, because they bulk up stools and help to ensure the smooth passage of food through the intestinal tract.
Furthermore, they stimulate gastric and digestive juices so nutrients are absorbed in the most efficient and rapid way.
Finally, they reduce the symptoms from conditions like constipation and diarrhea. All in all, the huge amount of fiber found in avocados (40 percent of daily requirement per serving) makes this a very important food for optimizing your digestive health.
They also maintain a healthy digestive tract and lower the risk of colon cancer.
2. Nutrient Absorption
Avocados are best eaten along with other fruits and vegetables.
This is due to the fact that nutrients present in fruits and vegetables get enhanced when eaten along with avocados (4).
The absorption of carotenoid antioxidant molecules, which helps to protect the body against free radical damage, increases three to five times when a salad is eaten along with avocado.
This makes avocado a great element as an appetizer since it prepares the digestive tract to function at its highest level during the meal to come!
3. Blood Glucose Levels
Apart from the fruit, the leaf extracts of avocados also provide health benefits. A study conducted on non-diabetic and diabetic rats suggest that the leaf extracts may help in lowering blood glucose levels (5).
For diabetic patients, the metabolism of starch-based foods into simple sugars like glucose can cause the spikes and plunges that are so dangerous for diabetics.
Fiber helps to slow the breakdown of food into usable sugars, so it is absorbed by the body in a more balanced way.
Furthermore, the majority of carbohydrates in avocados are made up of 7-carbon sugars, a relatively rare form of sugar that actually inhibits the enzyme hexokinase.
This helps avocados control the way that glucose is metabolized by the body, thereby protecting the overall health of diabetic patients.
4. Dental Care
Consumption of avocados also helps in preventing bad breath, which is primarily caused due to indigestion or an upset stomach.
Halitosis can be eliminated by improving digestive health, and the antibacterial and antioxidant flavonoids found in avocados also kill the bacteria in your mouth that can result in bad breath as well.
Avocados have also been connected with preventing oral cancers (6)
5. Liver Care
Avocados are very good at reducing liver damage (7).
It has certain organic compounds that help in improving liver health (8).
Liver damage is normally caused due to Hepatitis C. Findings of a recent research study suggest that avocados may play a major role in toning up and protecting your liver from a wide variety of conditions (9).
6. Eat Avocado For Healthier Eyes
Avocados help to keep your eyes healthy.
Avocado contains Photochemical (carotenoids) such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which acts as antioxidants and help to protect your eyes against cataracts, eye diseases related to age, and macular degeneration.
Those conditions are often caused by free radicals that accumulate in the tissues of the eyes. The antioxidant activity of those special carotenoids neutralize the effects of those dangerous free radicals.
7. Skin and Hair Care
Avocados are packed with nutrients that are beneficial for maintaining healthy skin (10).
It enriches skin that is dry, chapped or damaged.
They are added to a variety of cosmetics due to their ability to nourish the skin with essential vitamins and also to make it glow.
It is also used for nourishing dry and damaged hair. Many people use avocados to prepare skin and hair masks. Above all, avocado oil helps in treating plaque psoriasis (11).
Beta-carotene and lycopene are two of the organic compounds found in large quantities within avocados.
Both of these have been connected to improving the health and tone of your skin and eliminating signs of premature aging.
8. Healthy Heart
The health benefits of avocados include a healthier heart.
Beta-sitosterol, which is found in avocados, helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Research studies suggest that the intake of avocado may enhance anti-atherogenic properties of high density level (HDL) cholesterol, which helps in protecting your heart from atherosclerosis, also known as arteriosclerotic vascular disease (11).
The significant levels of potassium also make avocados a powerful fruit in the fight against hypertension.
Potassium is a vasodilator, which relaxes the tension of blood vessels and arteries, thereby reducing the chances of clotting, heart attacks, and strokes.
9. Kidney Health
Avocado helps improve kidney health.
Potassium is one of the minerals that help in maintaining a normal heart rate (12).
Avocados are a good source of potassium and their inclusion in your diet may provide other benefits as well. It is important to make sure that potassium levels are not too high as that can also be dangerous for the heart.
Potassium is a key aspect of maintaining fluid balance through chemical channels for cells and organs. This balance of fluid is also vital for the functioning of the kidney, which handles the movement of fluid and toxins through the body.
10. Vitamin K Deficiency
A vitamin K deficiency is not very common, but is frequently seen in neonatal care (13).
It may lead to a bleeding disorder known as vitamin K deficiency-related bleeding (VKDB). This occurs mostly due to an insufficient intake of vitamin K during pregnancy.
Inclusion of avocado in the diet of a pregnant woman may help in lowering risk of VKDB in the newborn child, since avocados are one of the rare fruits that have a very high amount of vitamin K (almost 40 percent of the daily requirement in a single serving!)
11. Avoid Morning Sickness
During pregnancy, morning sickness is very common.
12. Prevent Arthritis
The anti-inflammatory properties of avocados are perhaps its most valuable attribute, and between the wide range of phytochemicals, flavonoids, carotenoids, phytosterols, fatty alcohols, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Avocados are one of the best foods for reducing the inflammation in tissues, joints, and muscles.
Arthritis affects tens of millions of people around the world, and by consuming a proper amount of avocados, studies have frequently shown the symptoms and associated pain of arthritis can be efficiently reduced (15)
13. Anti-Cancer Properties
Health benefits of avocados includes reducing the risk of cancers, including breast cancer in females and prostate cancer in males.
Avocado contains carotenoids and mono-unsaturated fat, which both contribute to the significant reduction of cancer (16).
Avocado also contains Glutathione, an antioxidant that protects the cells from cancer and the dangerous effects of free radicals.
The list of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in avocados is impressive, and it is almost difficult to determine which one has the largest impact.
14. Antioxidant Properties
Avocado contains both vitamin C and E, which help to enhance antioxidant properties of the human body (17).
Vitamin C recycles vitamin E and helps to reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (18).
Avocado also contains antioxidants like epicatechin, violaxanthin, neochrome, and about a dozen others.
15. Healthy Skin
Avocados contain many vitamins and minerals that help in maintaining healthy skin (19).
Carotenoids found in avocados are associated with reducing UV-induced inflammation of the skin due to exposure to sun (20).
Oil made from avocado helps in protecting the skin against sunburn damage.
The high levels of beta-carotene in avocados can be enzymatically split into provitamin A, which has long been connected to protecting the skin from a variety of conditions and the damaging effects of the sun.
16. Weight Management
Regular exercise, along with a healthy diet, is very important in weight management.
Avocados are fruits that provide nutritional value to the body and support weight control.
Findings of a recent study suggest a number of beneficial effects of avocado on weight management (21).
17. Anti-Aging Properties
Consuming avocados is also associated with healthy aging.
It contains compounds such as xanthophyll, which have antioxidant properties.
Research studies suggest that an intake of xanthophyll may decrease signs of the aging process on various parts of your body (22).
18. Osteoporosis Prevention
Half of an avocado provides approximately 25 percent of the daily-recommended intake for vitamin K, a nutrient that is often overlooked, but which is essential for bone health.
Phytochmicals such as zeaxanthin and lutein, are associated with a reduced risk of cartilage defects (symptom of osteoarthritis).
Intake of foods such as avocado and soybean may help in reducing the risk of osteoarthritis.
Vitamin K is often overshadowed by calcium and vitamin D when thinking of nutrients important for maintaining healthy bones, however, eating a diet with adequate vitamin K can support bone health by increasing calcium absorption and reducing urinary excretion of calcium.
All of these are connected to lowered risks of osteoporosis and improvements in bone mineral density.
19. Useful For Athletes
Athletes require a lot of energy and must maintain optimal nutrition to fuel their body. Avocado provides vital nutrients to athletes to maintain required energy levels and good health (23).
Moreover, they contain phytochemicals that are a natural fuel source for your body.
20. Healthy Babies
Folate is also extremely important for a healthy pregnancy, with adequate intake reducing the risk of miscarriage and neural tube defects.
Recent research from McGill University also found a 30 percent higher incidence of a variety of birth defects in baby mice conceived using sperm from mice with a folate deficiency compared to mice conceived using sperm from mice without a folate deficiency.
21. Lower Risk of Depression
Foods containing high levels of folate may help to decrease the risk of depression as folate helps to prevent the build-up of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain.
Excess homocysteine can also interfere with the production of the serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep and appetite
22. Natural Detoxification
Adequate fiber promotes regular bowel movements, which are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins through the bile and stool.
Recent studies have shown that dietary fiber may also play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation.
23. Protection from Chronic Disease
According to the Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Program of the University of Kentucky, high fiber intakes are associated with significantly lower risks of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases (24).