Avocado is an incredibly nutritious food with a high content of healthy fats and nutrients. Avocados are beneficial to your health because they boost your good HDL cholesterol. The fruit offers approximately 20 vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including vitamins K, C, E, B, potassium, and lutein. Added to a salad or a slice of whole grain toast, or made it into a guacamole dip, avocados offer a delicious way to invigorate your health.
Protects the Eyes
Avocado contains the carotenoid and antioxidant lutein, which is a key player in eye health. Lutein is deposited into the retina and helps filter out harmful light and protect the eye from free radicals. It shields the cells from damage and encourages the regeneration of healthy eye cells. Eating foods with lutein protects your eyes from developing diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts as you age. The healthy fat in avocado enhances the absorption of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lycopene, and zeaxanthin, which all fight free-radical damage and protect healthy cells.
Lowers Blood Pressure
You may have heard that bananas are a good source of potassium. But did you know that avocado contains even more potassium than bananas? A 150g serving of avocado (1 cup of diced fruit) contains 727mg of potassium, which is 21 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for most people. Potassium is an important mineral because it is responsible for regulating blood pressure. Studies show that consumption of potassium-rich foods causes a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. If you want to keep your blood pressure down, eat foods high in potassium, and avoid foods high in sodium.
You may be asking yourself what it means that avocado contains the “good kind of fat.” Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which raise HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL. In a 1996 study in the Archives of Medical Research, 15 healthy and 30 hypercholesterolemic subjects were given an avocado-enriched diet. The hypercholesterolemic subjects experienced a 17 percent decrease in serum total cholesterol, a 22 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and an 11 percent increase in HDL cholesterol. Another study compared subjects on an avocado-rich diet to subjects on a restricted saturated-fat diet, and both groups experienced similar reductions in cholesterol and lipoprotein levels.
Studies suggest that the phytochemicals present in avocado play a vital role in cancer prevention. Compounds with antioxidative properties can inhibit the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells. The fat, vitamin, and antioxidant content of avocado make it a helpful food to eat during chemotherapy. A lot of evidence points to eating foods rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants to prevent the growth of various cancer cells.
Prevents Congenital Disabilities
Avocado is full of folate, a B vitamin. Today, many women are aware of the positive implications of taking folic acid (folate supplements) before and during pregnancy. Studies show that increased folate or folic acid significantly reduces the risk of neural tube defect and spina bifida, and 150g of avocado contains 30 percent of your RDI of folate.
A 1998 study in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatology concluded that supplementation with avocado or soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) in symptomatic osteoarthritis patients could significantly reduce pain. After a six-month trial period, NSAID consumption was lower, and patients reported a decrease in pain levels. Arthritis is chronic inflammation in the joints, and the antioxidants and monounsaturated fats in avocados have anti-inflammatory properties. Avocado may also reduce the symptoms of other chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, and ulcerative colitis.
Maintains a Healthy Heart
Avocado contains many heart-healthy nutrients, including healthy fats, fiber, potassium, and magnesium. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels to help keep the bloodstream clean and healthy. These factors are important in maintaining cardiovascular health. The nutrients in avocado help reduce plaque build-up and keep blood vessels relaxed.
Prevents and Controls Diabetes
Two main factors make avocado a perfect blood sugar stabilizer: good fats and fiber. The monounsaturated fats in avocado may reduce high triglyceride levels and reverse insulin resistance to help regulate blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. The soluble fiber in avocado also stabilizes these levels. People with diabetes have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease; since avocado reduces LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, it is an excellent food for people with diabetes.
Consuming avocado or creating avocado facemasks can help maintain skin health. This is due to the fruit’s rich supply of monounsaturated fats, vitamin C, and vitamin E. The good fats improve skin tone and maintain moisture. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, guarding against damage from sun exposure. Vitamin C is responsible for creating elastin and collagen, which keep the skin tight and firm, warding off wrinkles. This combination of nutrients provides the nourishment skin needs for proper skin cell regeneration, production of collagen and elastin, and a youthful glow.
Avocado contains a lot of fiber. One cup of diced fruit has 10 gram or 40 percent of the average RDI of fiber. A diet high in fiber is linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, not to mention constipation. Avocado contains large amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber. The former binds to fat in the digestive tract and escorts it out of the body, reducing LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Soluble fiber also keeps blood sugar levels in check, which is beneficial for diabetic and prediabetic people. Insoluble fiber fills the belly and bulks up the stool so you stay full for a long time after eating.
Encourages Weight Loss
Since avocado is packed with fiber, you’ll feel full and satisfied for a long time after eating it. Even though high-fat foods are often associated with weight gain, studies show the opposite when it comes to foods like avocado. The good fats become slow-to-burn energy, which prevents midday crashes. The monounsaturated fats and soluble fiber lower LDL cholesterol levels and clear out fatty deposits. Avocados can prevent afternoon snacking on less-healthy choices. In general, it’s best to eat more healthy foods and exercise regularly to help manage weight, rather than just restricting calories.
Increases Nutrient Absorption
It’s not enough to simply eat foods high in valuable nutrients. Once you consume the nutrients, they need to be properly absorbed from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. Certain nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning they need to be consumed with fat to deliver their full potential. This is the case with vitamins A, D, E, and K, and carotenoids. Since avocado is full of healthy fats, it increases absorption of both the nutrients in the avocado itself and from other healthy foods as well.