9 Health Benefits of Avocado
Avocado is a unique fruit, while most fruits primarily consist of carbohydrates, avocado, is full of healthy fats. It is a stone fruit that has a creamy texture and is grown in a warm climate. It is also known as “alligator pear”, primarily because of its rough coarse outer cover. While it is also called “butter fruit” because of its creamy interior texture. You can eat avocado raw or can incorporate in salads. Include avocado in sandwiches or serve as a dressing or side. You can even enjoy it as a healthy snack alternative. Today we will discuss 9 health benefits of avocado (1)(2).
Avocado is considered a “ superfood”. It is full of various essential nutrients and that’s why rank high in the food calorie pyramid. It is rich in several nutrients, vitamins and also minerals. Avocado is a good source of monosaturated fatty acids and has a low content of sugar (3). It is also a good source of energy and contains Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, and Manganese. It is also a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin K and Vitamin E, along with Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin (4).
Avocado provides almost 40% of the daily requirement of Dietary Fibers. Avocado helps you to maintain the ideal Potassium to Sodium ratio of the body as it is rich in Potassium. The unique thing about avocados is that they are rich in organic compounds like Phytosterols, Carotenoids, and Flavonoids (5)(6).
To dig deep, let us indulge in the primary nutritional constituents and their respective health benefits in detail:
Monosaturated Fats: Unlike “bad” fats, monosaturated fats are soluble fats that have been proven to reverse insulin resistance and also regulate blood sugar levels, avocados are one of the richest reserves of monosaturated fats (7).
Fat-soluble vitamins B, A, K, and E: As already stated, avocado is rich in vitamins, which are not only essential for normal body functioning but also important to impact the metabolic rates (8).
Carotenoids: Avocados is rich in oleic acid that improves memory and brain activities, and also helps the body in carotenoid absorption. Carotenoids benefits the body by reducing inflammations, boosting the immunity and also promoting growth and development (9).
Fibers: Avocados contain a high degree of soluble fiber that helps in promoting normal blood sugar levels and also facilitates proper bowel movement and is hence important in weight loss (10).
Protein: Avocado is primarily a protein-rich food, it has the highest protein content with the least sugar content and offers a great balance in building lean muscles and burning fat.
Health Benefits of Avocado
1. Full of Nutritional Value
Avocados are prized for their high nutritional value. Avocado is one of the most reliable fruits among the conscious eaters. It is considered as one of the top superfoods and is also incredibly tasty! In terms of calories, a medium sized avocado has total calorie about 215 calories. It contains healthy fats and fibers that help you increase your metabolic rates. Avocado also contains phytochemical components. Hence, this super fruit helps in losing weight, although it has a high-calorie count. The official serving size of this fruit is about 30 grams, which is roughly one-fifth of the whole fruit, but it is most beneficial to have one half of the fruit or 68 grams that is roughly estimated to contain:
- 113 Calories
- 4.6 grams Dietary Fibers
- 10 grams Fats
- 6 grams Carbohydrates
- 14 milligrams Vitamin K
- 60 milligrams Folate
- 6 milligrams Vitamin C
- 343 milligrams Potassium
- 2 milligrams Pantothenic Acid
- 0.4 milligrams Vitamin B6
- 1.3 milligrams Vitamin E
- 19.5 milligrams Magnesium
Besides these, avocado also provides beta-carotene and omega- fatty acid. They are full of healthy beneficial fats that will keep you full for a long time. Avocados, due to their nutritional benefits are great in weight management, protection from vascular diseases, treating osteoarthritis and also enhancing the nutrient absorption of the body. They also help us in lowering the risk of cancer.
2. Good for Skin
Avocados are full of the nutrients that are extremely important and beneficial to maintain a healthy skin. They help the skin to rejuvenate when it is dry, damaged and chapped. Avocados are being incorporated into a multiplicity of cosmetics due to their ability to nurture the skin with important vitamins. They are being extensively used to make hair and skin masks.
Avocado oil helps in the treatment of plaque psoriasis. Two organic compounds that are found largely in avocados are beta-carotene and lycopene, both of these organic compounds have been linked with improving health and tone of the skin and also eliminating early signs of aging. Being rich in fat-soluble vitamins and monosaturated fats, avocado actually benefits to bring a natural glow to the skin. It is considered as the world’s best moisturizer that is absolutely free of any kind of synthetic added chemicals. This is one of the most amazing health benefits of avocado.
3. Good for Hair
Avocados have a high content of antioxidant, that contains lutein, which is a carotenoid that helps in achieving silky smooth hair. Making a hair mask or simply applying the insides of an avocado to the hair may prove beneficial. Using avocado in the form of a hair mask replenishes hair growth, adds moisture and makes the hair shiny.
4. Improves Heart Health
Avocados or Avocado oil promotes heart health as it balances blood lipids, due to a good proportion of fatty acids. Diets that are rich in monosaturated fats are proven to resist the advancement of arteriosclerosis rather than diets that are high in insulin-spiking carbohydrates. Being composed of 71% monosaturated fatty acids, avocados are a great way to resist arteriosclerosis.
When a group of healthy adults and a group of adults with high cholesterol level were given an avocado-enriched diet, within a week of their consumption, the people who had normal lipid level, after eating avocado saw a drop in their cholesterol levels by 16% whereas those who had high cholesterol dropped the cholesterol level by 17%. Beta-sitosterol, which is found in avocado helps to maintain a healthy cholesterol level. It is also rich in potassium, which is a vasodilator, which relaxes the tension of blood vessels and hence reducing chances of heart attack and strokes. Good heart health is one of the most amazing health benefits of avocado.
5. Healthy Teeth
Eating avocados help to prevent bad breath, which is generally caused due to indigestion and stomach upsets. Halitosis can hence be reduced by improving the digestion and metabolic rates. Also, the antibacterial antioxidants that are flavonoids also kill the bacteria, that causes bad breath in the mouth. They are also linked to eliminating the chances of oral cancer.
6. Improves Digestion
Avocado is high in fiber, helps in preventing constipation and lowers the risk of colon cancer. It is also believed that avocados are soothing for the intestines and hence they aid in digestion. The soluble and insoluble fibers in them are important to bulk up stools and make sure that the digestive tracts are running smoothly. High fiber food, that is avocado is important with digestive tract issue as the fiber helps shift the balance of bacteria in the gut that increases the levels of good bacteria. Good digestion is one of the most amazing health benefits of avocado.
7. Improves Vision
Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, these are two photo chemicals that are concentrated in the tissues of the eyes, providing antioxidant protection in order to minimize damage from ultraviolet rays. Monosaturated fatty acids help in absorption of other beneficial antioxidants, like beta-carotene, which may help in reducing the risks of macular degeneration in old age. The antioxidants facilitate to neutralize the effects of dangerous free radicals. Studies have shown that the aforementioned nutrients that are found in avocado have been connected to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts in old people.
Here is an informative video from Healthline Authority Nutrition on benefits of avocado
8. Lowers the Risk of Cancer
Avocados contain folate and an adequate intake of folate has shown promising results in declining the dangers of colon, pancreatic, stomach and cervical cancers. It is believed that folate protects against unwanted mutations in DNA and RNA when cell division takes place. They also contain monosaturated fats and carotenoids that significantly contribute to reducing risks of cancer. Studies have found that organic compounds in avocado cause the cancerous cells to undergo apoptosis instead of metastasizing them.
9. Good for Bone Health
Avocados contain carotenoids like zeaxanthin and lutein that are linked to the lower risks of cartilage defects. Levels of essential minerals in avocado are very important for example zinc, calcium, and selenium that are all connected with the lower risk of osteoporosis. Avocado also has anti-inflammatory properties, that helps in treating arthritis. Good bone health is one of the most amazing health benefits of avocado.
Types of Avocadoes
The popular types of avocados that have been introduced in India are long Round, Fuerte, Pollock, Peradeniya, Trapp, Shmbaganur and Pure Hybrid. Avocado is a native fruit of tropical America, though it had originated in Mexico and Central America. Avocados are being grown in India on a very small scale in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka. In USA, however, the varieties of avocados are Shepard, Choquette, Tonnage, Daily 11, Macarthur, Hall, Mexicola Grande among others.
They are generally available in fruit stores in India now. Fresh, ripe avocados are to be chosen, preferably with no dark spots. Avocados are not to be refrigerated unless they are ripe. When only half an avocado is being used, the rest can be stored in the refrigerator for future use. Unripe avocados are to be stored at room temperature unless they are ripe.
Avocados can be enjoyed by turning them into guacamole or by enjoying them in salads or sandwiches, these superfoods should be incorporated into our diets as often as possible. However, consumption of avocado may cause migraines or even headache, symptoms including nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light may develop, in such a case, avocado needs to be avoided. In other cases, this delicious fruit, that is so easily available should be enjoyed to get a power pack of nutrients and vitamins in one go.