13 Benefits of Avocados for Health
Avocados contain nutrients and vitamins that are good for the body. The various health benefits of avocados include preventing cancer, heart disease, and gum disease.
The avocado is a fruit that comes from the Persea americana plant and is native to the Tehuacan Valley in the Mexican state of Puebla, although fossil evidence suggests similar species were widespread millions of years ago. Avocado plants can grow up to 20 meters with leaves that reach a size of 12 to 25 centimeters (cm).
This fruit contains good fats and fiber to help the body stay full longer. Avocados are also a source of vitamins C, E, K and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and potassium which are good for health.
Avocados are mostly monounsaturated fat with small amounts of saturated and polyunsaturated fats. Most of that monounsaturated fat is oleic acid, which is a very healthy fatty acid.
An 80 gram serving of avocado contains:
- 5 grams (g) of protein
- 6 grams of fat
- 5 grams of carbohydrates
- 6 grams of fiber
- 360 milligrams (mg) potassium
- 56 milligrams of Vitamin E
- 485 milligrams of potassium
- 81 micrograms of folate
- 257 milligrams of vitamin B6
- 10 milligrams of vitamin C
- 07 milligrams of vitamin E
13 Benefits of Avocados for Health
The benefits of avocados for health can be seen through the discussion and scientific facts presented below.
- Reducing the risk of heart disease
A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating one avocado per day lowered low-fat cholesterol by reducing LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol).
- Lose weight
A 2013 study published in the Nutrition Journal said people who ate avocado as a staple food felt 23% more satisfied and had 28% lower desire to eat in the next five hours than people who didn’t eat avocado.
This can help to keep the body full longer while holding back excess appetite. Therefore, avocados are able to lose weight.
- Lower cholesterol levels
One avocado a day can help raise bad cholesterol levels in overweight and obese people, according to 2015 research in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Make avocados part of your daily healthy eating plan, but consider reducing the portion to: half of the whole fruit aka 120 calories.
- Improve memory and brain health
Avocados are rich in oleic acid (or OEA), which is an omega-9 fatty acid that is associated with increased cognitive abilities. A 2009 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, United States of America, found that the type of omega-9 fatty acids in avocados can improve memory and brain health.
- Meet healthy nutritional intake
A 2013 study published in the Nutrition Journal said that consuming avocados can meet healthy nutritional intake and lower rates of metabolic syndrome. Because of this, people who eat avocados also have lower body weight, less belly fat and higher levels of HDL (high -density lipoprotein, or “good”) cholesterol.
- Helps prevent and treat cancer
A 2015 study published by Cancer Research found that the avocatin B in avocados can help kill leukemia cells. A research review in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry also mentions the phytochemicals (plant compounds) in avocados have the potential to have benefits for preventing cancer.
- Helps reduce the risk of depression
Avocados contain monounsaturated fats ( monounsaturated fats ). Consuming these fats has been shown to reduce depression and balance fat intake so that it can help control depression. The high amount of folate in avocados has also been shown to help keep the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin in balance.
- Helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases are incurable conditions. This disease is debilitating and results in progressive degeneration and/or death of nerve cells. As a result, problems arise with movement (ataxia), mental function (dementia) and affect a person’s ability to move, speak and breathe.
Some examples of neurodegenerative diseases are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. A 2016 study published in Advances in Neurobiology found that various kinds of bioactive nutrients present in avocados play an important role in the prevention and cure of this type of disease.
- Maintain eye health as you get older
Avocados are rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are compounds that can help protect and maintain healthy cells in the eyes. According to a 2017 study in the journal Nutrients, avocados can help increase macular pigment as you age so that you can maintain eye health as you age.
- Helps prevent gum disease
In addition to the fruit, avocado can produce oil that helps prevent gum disease. Avocado oil can help soothe irritated gums because it has a natural anti-inflammatory.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Periodontology wrote that the main ingredient in avocados can increase the protective effect against periodontal disease.
- Relieve osteoarthritis
Avocados are a good source of vitamin E and contain micronutrients that have anti-inflammatory effects. A diet high in this compound is associated with a reduced risk of joint damage which is a symptom of early osteoarthritis.
A 2010 review published in The Physician and Sportsmedicine found that a key ingredient in avocados may help patients with arthritis of the hip or knee.
- Helps reduce liver damage
A 2000 study presented by the American Chemical Society found that avocados contain chemicals that can protect the liver from harmful toxins and reduce liver damage caused by the hepatitis C virus.
- Good for pregnant women
Avocado is a fruit for pregnant women which contains many nutrients and benefits. A 2016 study published in the journal Nutrients concluded that this fruit is rich in folate and potassium as well as fiber, monounsaturated fat and fat-soluble antioxidants. All of these ingredients play an important role in improving the health of pregnant women, the birth process, and the quality of breast milk.
Avocados also contain folic acid which promotes the growth of the brain, tissues and nervous system in the fetus. The potassium in avocados can also relieve leg cramps which are common during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester.
How to Choose Avocados
- Ripe avocados generally have a dark green or almost black skin that will be slightly bumpy. How to choose a good avocado for consumption is:
- Press the avocado gently to determine the degree of ripeness. A perfect avocado will yield a bit of light pressure.
- If it feels firm to the touch, it’s not ripe and, although safe to eat, won’t have the same taste or consistency as a ripe avocado.
- If it’s too soft, it’s likely that the avocado is overripe and doesn’t taste good.
- Another way to find out if an avocado is ripe is to remove the stem. If the skin beneath the stem looks healthy and green, then the avocado is ready to eat.
- If the stem doesn’t come off easily, the fruit isn’t ripe and if the flesh beneath the stem is brown, then the avocado is likely ripe.
- If the avocado isn’t ripe enough, try sealing it in a paper bag with a banana, apple, or other fruit to help it ripen more quickly.
That’s a discussion about the benefits of avocado for health and how to choose it so that it can be consumed and beneficial to the body.