Avocado is a unique type of fruit. Most fruits consist primarily of carbohydrates, while avocado is high in healthy fats. Numerous studies show that it is enormously beneficial for health, and here we present 12 of its main strengths.
1. It is Incredibly Nutritious:
The avocado is the fruit of the Persea americana tree and is valued for its great nutritional value. Thus, it is added to a wide variety of dishes thanks to its good taste and rich texture. For example, it is the main ingredient of Mexican guacamole. Nowadays, avocado has become a very popular food among people looking for a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes it is labeled as a “superfood”, which is not surprising considering its health benefits.
There are many kinds of avocados, and their shape (from similar to that of a pear to round) and color (from green to black) can vary. They can also weigh from 220 grams to more than one kilo. The most popular type is the Hass avocado. Many times it is called “pear alligator”, which is quite descriptive because its shape tends to resemble that of a pear and has a green and rough skin, like the skin of an alligator. This shell, together with the seed, should be discarded when consuming the fruit. And the content includes a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 vitamins and minerals. In a 100 gram serving, an avocado contains:
- Vitamin K: 25% of the daily requirement (RDA).
- Folic acid: 20% of the RDA.
- Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 14% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.
In addition, it contains small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin). This is accompanied by 160 calories, two grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. And although it contains 9 grams of carbohydrates, 7 of them are fiber, so only 2 grams are “net” carbohydrates, so it is a “friendly” food for low carbohydrate diets. Avocados do not contain cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat, which is why they are recommended by several “old school” experts who still believe that these elements are harmful.
In summary: Avocados are full of healthy fats, fiber and several important nutrients.
2. Contains More Potassium Than Bananas:
Potassium is a nutrient that most people do not incorporate sufficiently. It helps maintain electrical gradients in cells and serves several important functions. And the avocado contains a lot of potassium. In a 100 gram serving, it includes 14% of the recommended daily intake, while bananas (a typical high potassium food) contain 10%. Several studies show that high potassium intake reduces blood pressure, high risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. In summary: Potassium is a very important mineral that is not consumed enough by most people. And avocados contain a lot of potassium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
3. It is Packed with Monounsaturated Fatty Acids Beneficial to the Heart:
As we said, avocado is a high fat food. In fact, 77% of its calories come from them, making it one of the vegetable foods with the highest fat content. But it is not any fat. It is mostly oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the largest component in olive oil and, it is believed, responsible for some of its beneficial effects. Oleic acid has been linked to a reduction in inflammation and has been shown to have positive effects on genes related to the fight against cancer.
“Fats in avocado are also very resistant to heat-induced oxidation, which is why avocado oil is a healthy and safe cooking option”.
In summary: Avocados and their oil have a high content of monounsaturated oleic acid, a fatty acid beneficial to the heart that, it is believed, is one of the main reasons why olive oil is healthy.
4. It is Full of Fiber:
Fiber is indigestible vegetable matter that can contribute to weight loss and reduce blood sugar spikes, as well as being strongly related to a lower risk of suffering several diseases. The fiber can be soluble or insoluble. The soluble one serves as food for the “good” bacteria of the intestine, and they are very important for the optimal functioning of the body. A 100 gram serving of avocados contains 7 grams of fiber , which represents 27% of the recommended daily intake. 25% of that fiber is soluble, while 75% is insoluble.
In summary: Avocado is high in fiber, which represents 7% of its total weight, a very high amount compared to other foods. And fiber has important benefits for weight loss and metabolic health.
5. May Reduce the Level of Cholesterol and Triglycerides:
The cholesterol , triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood pressure are among the risk factors associated with heart disease. And the effects of avocado on any of these factors have been studied in eight controlled studies in humans. In these studies, people were divided into groups. One was instructed to consume avocados, the other not. Then, the researchers measured their blood indicators.
Thus, these studies showed that avocado can
- Significantly reduce total cholesterol levels
- Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%
- Reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 22%
- Raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by up to 11%
One of the studies also showed that including avocado in a low-fat vegetarian diet improved cholesterol profiles. Unfortunately, human studies were small-scale (13 to 37 subjects) and short-term (one to four weeks), but the results were surprising anyway.
In summary: Numerous studies have shown that consuming avocado can lower the risk of heart disease by reducing total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides, and raising HDL cholesterol.
6. People Who Consume it Tend to be Healthier:
A study that focused on the dietary habits and health of people who consumed avocados, analyzing data from 17,567 participants in the United States, found that they were much healthier than those who did not consume them. They had a much higher intake of nutrients, and were half as likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome, a large risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. In addition, people who consumed avocados regularly weighed less, had a lower body mass index and less abdominal fat. They also had more HDL cholesterol (the “good”). However, this correlation does not imply cause, and there is no guarantee that avocados cause these people to have better health.
In summary: A dietary survey found that people who ate avocados had a higher nutrient intake and a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.
7. The Fats it Contains Help Absorb Nutrients From Other Vegetables:
The total amount of nutrients consumed is not the only thing that matters. You also have to be able to absorb them, move them from the digestive tract to the rest of the body. Some nutrients are fat soluble, which means they must be combined with fats to be used. This includes vitamins A, D, E and K, in addition to some antioxidants such as carotenoids. A study shows that adding avocado or avocado oil to salads or sauces can increase the absorption of antioxidants from 2.6 to 15 times. Thus, avocado is not only very nutritious, but it can also dramatically raise the nutritional value of other vegetables consumed. This is an excellent reason to always include a healthy source of fat when eating vegetables. Without it, many of its beneficial nutrients will be wasted.
In summary: Some studies have shown that consuming avocado or avocado oil with vegetables can dramatically increase the absorption of antioxidants.
8. They are Full of Powerful Antioxidants That Can Protect Vision:
In addition to raising the absorption of antioxidants from other foods, avocado also has many of them. Two are lutein and zeaxanthin, which are very important for eye health. These nutrients are related to a drastically lower risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, common in the elderly. Thus, consuming avocados can be beneficial for long-term eye health.
In summary: Avocados have lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
9. Can Help Prevent Cancer:
There is limited evidence that avocado may be beneficial for cancer prevention. One study showed that it can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy in human lymphocytes. In addition, it was shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the prostate. Keep in mind that these studies were performed on isolated cells and do not prove that the same thing happens in people.
In summary: Some isolated cell studies have shown that avocado nutrients can prevent prostate cancer and reduce the side effects of chemotherapy in some cells.
10. Avocado Extract Relieves Arthritis Symptoms:
Multiple studies have shown that avocado and soybean oil extract can reduce symptoms of bone arthritis. It remains to be seen if avocados alone have the same effect, not just their extract.
In summary: Avocado extract and soy oils significantly reduce the symptoms of bone arthritis.
11. Help to Lose Weight:
In a study divided into two groups, one was instructed to consume a meal containing avocados, another who ate a similar meal, but without avocado. Then, they were asked a series of questions related to hunger and satiety. People who consumed avocado felt 23% more satisfied and had a 28% lower desire to eat in the next five hours. If this is sustained in the long term, including avocados in the diet can help you naturally consume fewer calories and facilitate the task of maintaining a healthy diet. In addition, they are high in fiber and very low in carbohydrates, two attributes that should help promote weight loss, at least in the context of a healthy diet.
12. It is Delicious and Easy to Incorporate into the Diet:
Avocados can be added to salads and all kinds of recipes, or simply be consumed directly from the spoon shell. They have a rich and creamy texture that blends very well with other ingredients. A notable mention is the guacamole, which represents the most famous use of avocado. It includes it with salt, garlic, lemon and other ingredients depending on the recipe. Avocados sometimes take time to ripen, and should feel slightly soft to the touch when they are. Its nutrients may oxidize soon after peeling, but if lemon juice is added the process is delayed.