From the early days of health gurus, the avocado has been seen as a bit of a miracle fruit.
But unlike many fruits out there, the avocado has much lower levels of carbohydrates while still being high in healthy fats.
It’s because of this composition that the health benefits of the avocado are actually all part of their selling power!
Here are 10 health benefits of the avocado that are both supported by scientific research, and prove that avocados are a good source of nutrition.
Avocados are a good source of nutrition
Whether you’re chowing down on a bowl of guacamole, or eating that ubiquitous millennial favorite (avocado on toast), you may well already know how delicious this little fruit is.
Actually there are many different kinds of avocado – from pear-shaped to round, and from small to very heavy. In day to day life, you’ve probably come into contact with the HAss avocado, which is also known as the alligator pear.
But when we say that avocados are a good source of nutrition, what do we mean?
One 3.5 ounce serving of avocado can give you:
- 26% Vitamin K RDA
- 20% Folate
- 17% Vitamin C RDA
- 14% Potassium RDA
- 14% Vitamin B5 RDA
- 13% Vitamin B6 RDA
- 10% Vitamin E RDA
Alongside these vitamins, you’ll also find vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin), manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc.
All of this is packaged within 160 calories that also provide you with 2 grams of protein and a whopping 15 grams of healthy fats.
Although the avocado has 9 grams of carbs, 7 of these are fiber so that means that this fruit is officially a low-carb favorite.
Finally, as they don’t have any cholesterol or sodium, and because they’re low in saturated fat, the avocado really is a superfood.
Avocados are Full of Good Fat
To say that avocados is a high-fat food is a little understated. Around 77% of the calories in an avocado come from fat, which makes it one of the fattiest plants that we know of.
But the majority of the fat in avocados is oleic acid. This monounsaturated fatty acid has been shown to reduce inflammation, as well as having positive effects on genes that are linked to cancer.
Avocados Contain Vast Amounts of Potassium
One of the biggest selling points of the humble banana is that it’s a great way for you to boost your potassium levels. Potassium works by maintaining the electrical gradients in your cells.
High potassium intake can help to reduce your blood pressure, which is crucial for avoiding heart attacks. A 3.5-ounce serving of avocados gives you a huge 14% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of potassium.
Eating Avocados Can Lower Your Levels
We know that heart disease has become one of the most prominent causes of death in the world, and there are several blood markers that are linked to an increased risk.
Some of these markers are cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, and blood pressure.
Eight controlled studies in people have examined the effects of avocado on some of these risk factors.
Some studies have shown that, as part of a balanced diet, avocados can:
● Help reduce total cholesterol levels
● Reduce blood triglycerides
● Lower LDL cholesterol
● Increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind)
Avocados Also Provide Fiber
In case you weren’t already won over by all the goodness in an avocado, let’s not forget that they’re also rich in fiber.
Soluble fiber works with the friendly bacteria that live in your intestine – and are essential for healthy living.
So a 3.5-ounce serving of avocado provides you with around 27% of your RDA of fiber – which is around 7 grams.
Avocados Help You Absorb Vitamins
Not only is the avocado a great source of nutrients, it also has a positive impact on our ability to absorb all nutrients.
Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, along with antioxidants like carotenoids – this means that they need to be combined with fat in order to move from your digestive tract to your body.
Research has shown that by adding avocado (or avocado oil) to salad or salsa can double your ability to absorb antioxidants. In some cases, it can increase your ability by 15x.
So not only is the avocado a great source of nutrients in itself, it also allows you to get more out of all your food.
Avocados for Eye Health
When it comes to healthy eyes, the nutrients you want to look out for are the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein, which have been proven to be particularly effective for good eye health.
Studies have shown that increasing your intake of these nutrients can dramatically reduce the risks of cataracts, as well as macular degeneration.
While these are typically linked with age, eating avocados is a great way to set yourself up for future good eye health.
Avocados Make You Healthier?
While we don’t want to argue that correlation equals causation, it’s interesting to note that in a study of the dietary habits and health of people who eat avocados, avocado eaters tended to be healthier.
Typically they had a higher intake of daily nutrients, and were less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome. They also enjoyed higher levels of HDL cholesterol.
Avocado Extract Can Ease Arthritis
Multiple studies have demonstrated that avocado extract can help to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.
Avocado extract has also proven significant in reducing the symptoms entirely, although further research is needed to decide whether or not this is true for simple avocado.
Avocado Could Help Reduce Cancer
While there isn’t a huge amount of evidence that avocados can prevent cancer, there is some limited research that suggests it’s useful both for cancer treatment and also prevention.
Test tube studies have shown that the avocado could help to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, while avocado extract has also been shown to limit the growth of prostate cancer.
It’s important to note that none of this research has taken place with humans or outside of a laboratory, but they are the first steps to showing how avocado may help the treatment of cancer.
So when it comes to asking if avocados are a good source of nutrition, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Not only are they healthy, but avocados work well across a wide range of foods and cooking styles.
If you’re not a huge fan of eating avocados, then you might want to consider using avocado oil to cook with as a way of increasing your exposure to the potential health benefits of this little fruit.