Avocado is a pear-shaped fruit with a creamy texture and is also known as butter fruit. This unique fruit is rich in healthy fats and is packed with nutrients and minerals.
Avocados are harvested early and then allowed to ripen gradually. A sign of ripe avocados is its skin, which turns soft and tender on pressing it gently, which says the fruit has ripened completely.
It is a high-calorie fruit that offers an adequate amount of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), minerals, and 20 vitamins. To better understand the value of this amazing avocado fruit, let us discuss twelve incredible health benefits of eating avocado regularly.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
13 Health Benefits of Avocado
Avocados are Rich in Nutritional Content
Avocados are a rich source of various vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, and are known as “superfoods”. According to the USDA database, one serving or around 40 grams of avocado contains 64 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3.4 grams of carbohydrate, and 3 grams of fiber. (1)
Avocados are packed with a wide variety of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Other than these nutrients, avocados also have a unique collection of bioactive compounds like carotenoids, phytosterols, and flavonoids.
According to the USDA, food nutrient database, avocados contain minerals, including calcium, iron, copper, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. (2) They contain vitamins A, C, E, K, B6, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. Also, they are abundant in dietary fiber, and a single serving can provide more than 25% of the daily requirement.
Avocados contain healthy fat, which will make you feel full and satiated. This reduces your calorie intake, helps to maintain weight, and blood sugar level. Also, your body can not absorb all the nutrients you eat, and avocado helps your body to utilize all these nutrients.
Summary: Avocado is the most healthy fruit loaded with nutrients, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats. They make you feel full, thus reducing the intake of excess calories.
Avocados Improve Heart Health
Heart problems are the most common cause of death around the globe. Avocados are believed to reduce the risk of heart diseases. According to the heart foundation, avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which contribute to heart health (3).
According to a 2018 report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, avocado consumption can significantly increase HDL cholesterol levels (4). This helps to prevent heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular diseases.
Avocado has a lipid-lowering effect due to its content phytosterol β-sitosterol. Potassium and lutein present in avocado may help to maintain your blood pressure levels and also improve your lipid profile. Avocado has a significant effect on cardiometabolic health. It acts by reducing the risk factors like dyslipidemia, hypertension, and glycemic levels. (5)
Though avocado has many beneficial effects on heart health, many studies were conducted on animals. More human studies are needed to understand the avocados’ benefits.
Summary: Avocados contain healthy fats or monounsaturated fatty acids, which help to maintain heart health. It also helps to increase the good cholesterol in your body.
Avocado May Aid Weight Loss
The rich fiber and low-carb content of avocado promote weight loss. Avocados help to reduce the appetite and burn more calories, thus helping to shed some weight.
A study was conducted where carbohydrate meal was replaced with avocado derived high fiber. It was seen that avocado increased the feeling of satiety or fullness, and it led to better appetite management (6).
Avocados are filled with fiber, lutein, and vitamin E, which are a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids. In a randomized parallel control study, out of 51 healthy obese women and men, 24 were given a hypocaloric diet with one avocado daily, and another group of 27 people consumed a hypocaloric diet without avocado. Daily avocado consumption as part of a hypocaloric diet supported weight loss (7).
Avocados contain nutrients and bioactive compounds that may help reduce the risk of becoming overweight/obese. Another study that examined the effect of constant avocado intake on weight revealed that avocado might reduce the tendency of weight gain (8).
Avocados contain both soluble (25%) and insoluble fibers (75%). The soluble form attracts water and turns it into a gel, whereas the insoluble form helps in the movement of material during digestion (9). If you are suffering from poor digestion or constipation, eating avocado can bring relief.
Summary: Rich fiber content of an avocado, when consumed as a hypocaloric diet, reduces the feeling of hunger and supports weight loss. Eating avocado regularly can reduce the tendency of weight gain.
Avocados Improve Vision
Most of the eye diseases are caused by the accumulation of free radicals in the tissues of the eyes. The antioxidant property of avocado helps to keep your eyes healthy.
Avocados contain potent antioxidants, and they also promote the absorption of antioxidants from your food. Two antioxidants that are present in avocado and are most essential for maintaining eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin. These two phytochemicals provide antioxidant protection to the retina of your eyes, which prevents the occurrence of age-related macular degeneration and cataract (10).
According to American Optometric Associate, lutein and zeaxanthin filter harmful blue light, and this helps to maintain healthy cells within your eye (11).
Our body can not naturally make the lutein and zeaxanthin; hence it is essential to eat a diet containing these carotenoids such as avocado and green vegetables.
Summary: Lutein and zeaxanthin are the powerful antioxidants present in avocado that protects your eyes from harmful blue light. They also reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataract.
Avocados Help Prevent Osteoporosis
An essential nutrient needed for bone health is vitamin K. Avocado is rich in vitamin K, and half of this fruit can meet 25% of your daily requirements. Along with calcium and vitamin D, vitamin K is also needed for maintaining bone health as it improves calcium absorption and lowers urinary excretion of calcium.
Studies suggest that avocado and soybean oil extract, also known as avocado soybean unsaponifiables or ASU helps to treat osteoarthritis. It inhibits cartilage degradation and the activity of tissue inhibitors (12).
A 2010 research study from the journal the Physician and sports medicine revealed that 300mg of avocado and soybean-based nutritional supplement is believed to be beneficial for patients with osteoarthritis (13).
Also, with anti-inflammatory properties, avocado helps to reduce inflammation in tissues, muscles, and joints.
Summary: Avocados are rich in vitamin K, which is essential for maintaining bone health. ASU plays a significant role in treating osteoarthritis.
Avocados May Help To Treat Cancer
Avocados may help in treating cancer as it contains cancer-preventing nutrients, phytochemicals, and vitamins. It is believed that the phytochemicals extracted from this fruit can significantly restrain the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells. They also enhance the proliferation of immune cells called lymphocytes. Eating avocados may limit the chromosomal damage caused by chemotherapy drugs.
According to a study published in 2011, phytochemicals present in avocado fruit make an active chemoprotective ingredient that lowers the side effect of chemotherapy caused by drugs such as cyclophosphamide (14).
Another scientific study says that avocado contains monounsaturated fat, and these bioactive carotenoids are absorbed into the bloodstream, where in combination with other diet-derived phytochemicals, they may contribute to reducing the risk of cancer (15).
Summary: With cancer-preventing phytochemicals, avocado reduces the risk of cancer. Avocado supports immunity and reduces the damage caused by chemotherapy drugs during cancer treatment.
Avocados Help Maintain Blood Glucose Level
With low carbohydrate content, avocados will not cause any spike in your blood sugar level. This makes avocados an excellent high fiber food for people with diabetes.
A randomized study conducted for a 4-week baseline period replaced complex digestible carbohydrates with monounsaturated fatty acids of avocado in the diet of patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. There was a noticeable improvement in the lipid profile, and there was an adequate glycemic control (16).
Another study published in Nutritional Journal revealed that adding half avocado in a healthy lunch of obese people can significantly reduce their desire to eat more and maintain their blood sugar level (17).
When you feel fuller with avocado, you will crave less for snacks, and there will be a reduced intake of calories. Avocado, with a healthy fat or monounsaturated fat, allows your body to use insulin effectively.
Summary: Avocado is rich in healthy fat and fiber, which makes it a suitable food option for people with diabetes. It increases your insulin sensitivity and maintains your blood sugar.
Avocados Help Reduce Depression
As avocado contains tryptophan, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids, it plays a major role in combating depression. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that regulates the neurotransmitters of your brain and can be used to treat depression (18). Fatty acids also enhance the release of dopamine and serotonin in your body. They act on your brain’s pleasure center and bring a feeling of reward and motivation.
Folate present in avocado prevents the buildup of homocysteine, an amino acid that causes anxiety and depression.
Avocado contains tryptophan, which is a precursor of serotonin. It is a feel-good chemical that can benefit your mood. Avocado is rich in nutritions that bring balance between neurotransmitters and hormones. Also, by regulating blood sugar, it helps to maintain better mental health.
Summary: Tryptophan, folate and omega-3 fatty acids are the significant components of avocado that act on different parts of your brain to reduce depression.
Avocados Support Healthy Skin and Hair
Avocados are packed with carotenoids that help to maintain healthy skin. Lutein and zeaxanthin present in the avocado act as antioxidants protecting your skin from UV rays and other radiation (21).
Avocado oil is rich in nutrient waxes, proteins, and minerals. In addition, it contains vitamins A, D, and E. It is an excellent source of enhancement for dry, damaged, or chapped skin. The topical application of avocado oil supports wound contraction and wound healing (22).
Avocado is added to various cosmetics due to its ability to nourish your skin. With essential vitamins, it makes your skin glow. Avocado oil is also used for nourishing dull and damaged hair. By improving the health and tone of your skin, it eliminates the signs of premature aging.
A study conducted in 2001 has revealed that avocado can be used as an effective topical therapy for psoriasis (23). It is believed that avocado oil keeps your scalp well hydrated, which helps to maintain strong and healthy hair.
Summary: Avocado contains all the nutrients needed for healthy skin and hair. Both oral consumption of avocado and topical application of avocado oil can be beneficial.
Avocados Prevent Chronic Diseases
Due to high fiber content, avocado can significantly reduce the risk of hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, and obesity (24).
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2008, consumption of avocado can improve overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and it reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome (25).
People who eat avocado regularly can maintain their weight and low BMI. They also have increased levels of good cholesterol or HDL.
Defensin is a protein present in avocado, which has antimicrobial properties against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. This antimicrobial property of avocado helps in the treatment of infectious diseases (26).
With a lot of calories and good fat, avocado promotes overall health and prevents chronic diseases.
Summary: With great nutritional value, avocado reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Eating avocado can help you to avoid diseases like diabetes, cardiac disorders, and maintain quality of life.
Avocados Promote Smooth Pregnancies
Maternal nutrition plays a vital role in improving fertility, fetal growth, birth outcomes, and breast milk formation. Avocados are filled with fiber, monounsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants. With unique nutritional sources, avocados are highly recommended for pregnant and lactating women (27).
Folate is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Avocado is rich in such essential nutrients that help to reduce risks associated with miscarriage and neural tube defects.
With high vitamin B6 content, avocados provide effective therapy for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (30). It is believed to reduce morning sickness in expectant mothers.
Summary: Folate, Lutein, and zeaxanthin present in avocado are most beneficial during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Avocado helps reduce the risk of pregnancy complications.
Avocado Improves Cognitive Functions
Eating fresh avocados every day increases lutein levels by 25 %, and it significantly improves memory and problem-solving skills in healthy and older adults.
A study published in 2018 in the Natural Medicine Journal revealed that avocado increases lutein concentration in macular and brain tissue. This leads to improved cognitive performance via macular pigment density (MPD). With monounsaturated fats, fiber, lutein, and other bioactive substances, avocados make a nutrient-rich diet that enhances your cognitive functions. (31) (32)
Increased MPD can bring improvement in your performance and better memory. According to experts, avocados also increases the attention span. Incorporating avocado into your healthy diet is the best way to improve cognitive health.
Summary: Avocados may help improve cognitive function in older adults. Along with avocado, eating a well-balanced, healthy diet can improve memory, performance, and cognitive functions.
Avocado May Prevent Liver Damage
Avocado is an ideal fruit for people with liver health issues. Besides offering nutrition and taste, avocados greatly help to improve liver health.
Avocados help in detoxification and combat against infections to ward off any potential liver injury. With a healthy fat content, avocado reduces the cholesterol level in your body (33). This may help to treat fatty liver.
According to a research study, avocados may play a significant role in toning-up and protecting the liver from various conditions causing liver damage. (34) The researchers discovered that avocados contain liver protective chemicals.
Summary: Avocado has a protective effect on the liver and helps reduce liver damage. As it helps to reduce cholesterol levels, it is helpful in treating fatty liver.
Some Tips for Adding Avocado in your Diet
Avocados are incredibly delicious and can go well with many of your dishes. You can add them to various salads and recipes or you can also eat them plain. It has a creamy, rich texture that blends well with various ingredients, sweet or spicy.
Some quick tips:
- You can spread avocado on a toast and have it as a morning breakfast
- Add avocado slices in your salad with veggies or chicken
- Eat plain, deliciously avocados alone, adding salt, garlic, or lime can enhance its taste
- Add avocados to your fruit smoothies
- Always eat ripe fresh avocados with dark green skin. Ripe avocados feel soft on touching
The nutrients of avocado oxidize and turn brown after fleshing it; by adding lemon juice you may slow down this process.
Health Risks Associated With Avocado
Generally, avocados do not contain any serious side effects. Some people may develop mild oral allergy for avocado resulting in itching of lips, mouth, and throat after consuming avocado.
Avocado contains monosaccharides and fermentable carbohydrates, which may cause irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, and bloating (35).
Tyramine present in avocado is linked with migraine headaches (36). Avocados contain vitamin K, a blood clotting nutrient; hence it may interact with blood-thinning medications.
To avoid these health risks and drug interactions, consult your doctor before making any sudden, drastic changes in your diet. If you develop any allergy after eating avocado for the first time, seek medical help.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Avocado
Is Avocado Considered A Fruit Or Vegetable?
Avocados are fruits, and they are technically considered as berries with a single seed. Avocado can be defined as sweet and fleshy fruit and is a product of edible plants. The nutritional value of avocados is similar to that of vegetables.
Can I Grow Avocado Plants In My Garden?
Avocado trees need moderate warm temperatures with moderate humidity. Avocados are tropical plants; they can tolerate very little cold. If you live in a place where temperatures seldom drop to freezing, then you can grow avocados.
How To Tell If The Avocado Is Ripe?
The ripe avocado feels slightly soft when squeezed but not mushy. The skin appears darker on ripe avocado.
Can Avocados Cause Weight Gain?
No, avocados are high in fat, but that does not mean they lead to weight gain. Avocados help in weight loss as they are high in fiber and heart-healthy fats.
Can I Eat Avocado Skin And Seeds?
Even though avocado skin is inedible, seeds are believed to be a good source of nutrients, fiber, and various antioxidants. You can dry the seeds, crush them, and can add to smoothies, teas, baked goodies, or dips. But, there is no proven evidence of their health benefits.
How Can I Save The Half-cut Avocado?
You can apply lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or olive oil and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge to last for two to three days.
How Is Avocado Oil Manufactured?
Avocado oil is produced from avocado flesh or pulp. It can be used for both cooking as a healthy ingredient and in cosmetics for its moisturizing properties. Avocado oil consists of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. But, avocado oil is quite expensive.
How Can I Tell if Avocado Has Gone Bad?
Check the outside skin of the fruit, and if there are cracks or dark spots, then it is not good. Smell the fruit; if it is unpleasant, then it’s off. Also, if the flesh is brown, then it is not good to eat. While buying avocado, check behind the stem, if it has turned brown, then it is not good.
The Final Note
Avocado is an excellent fruit loaded with nutrients. Due to such amazing health benefits, many countries are cultivating avocados. Its thick skin protects it from damage by pesticide, making it one of the safest fruits to consume.
Add this weight loss friendly and heart-healthy fruit to your diet; you can eat it raw or use it as a dressing. You can even use avocado oil for cooking or baking to reduce the production of fatty acids in your body.
Avocados help your body better absorb fat-soluble nutrients. When you eat foods high in these nutrients, adding a little avocado can help your body reap all the benefits.
Whether sliced on toast, mashed up as a dip, avocado is a versatile, healthy fruit that fits well with your diet needs. Eat this fitness-friendly fruit to maintain your weight and overall wellness.