What is Avocado?
Avocado is a bright green fruit with a large pit and dark leathery skin. They’re also known as alligator pears or butter fruit. It is one of my favorite fruits as I grew up with plenty in our own home.
My family eats avocado by making it into a shake, with milk, sugar, and ice. It’s like what you call now a smoothie. Sometimes we make it as ice candy by pouring it into a small plastic bag and freeze it or put it into an ice tray, and when it is frozen it is a delicious cold snack especially in the summer.
The term avocado refers to both the tree and the fruit. The fruit itself is technically a berry containing one large seed. But keep in mind that the scientific definition of a berry (a fruit derived from the ovary of a single flower) varies from common usage.
The popularity of avocado is down to its rich, creamy texture and mild flavor. They have a rich flavor from the high-fat content. The avocado, or Persea Americana, is a fruit that belongs to the family of Lauraceae …
21 Ways Avocados Can Support Your Health
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one serving (one-fifth of an avocado, approximately 40 grams) contains:
- 64 calories
- almost 6 grams of fat
- 3.4 grams of carbohydrate
- less than a gram of sugar
- almost 3 grams of fiber
Avocados are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Although most of the calories in an avocado come from fat, don’t shy away! Avocados are full of healthy, beneficial fats that help to keep you full and satiated. When you consume fat, your brain receives a signal to turn off your appetite. Eating fat slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, (If you would like to know more about carbohydrates, please click the link. Thank you so much), which helps to keep sugar levels in the blood stable.
Fat is essential for every single cell in the body. Eating healthy fats supports skin health, enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and may even help boost the immune system. (If you would like to know more about foods to boost your immune system, please click this link).
2. Avocados can help you better absorb antioxidants.
Some nutrients are fat-soluble. That means you should consume them with fats so your body can properly absorb them. A 2005 study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that eating carotenoids (antioxidants including lycopene and beta-carotene) with avocado or avocado oil increased their absorption.
3. Healthy for the heart
Avocados contain 25 milligrams per ounce of a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. Regular consumption of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols has been seen to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Avocados can reduce your risk of heart disease. A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating one avocado per day as part of a moderate‐fat, cholesterol‐lowering diet reduced LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol).
Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that are especially concentrated in the tissues in the eyes where they provide antioxidant protection to help minimize damage, including from ultraviolet light.
As the monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados also support the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, adding avocados to your diet may help to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Avocados can keep your eyes healthy as you age. The fruit is rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help protect and maintain healthy cells in your eyes. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Nutrients, avocado can help boost macular pigment with age.
Adequate intake of folate from food has shown promise in protecting against colon, stomach, pancreatic, and cervical cancers.
Although the mechanism behind this apparent reduction in risk is currently unknown, researchers believe that folate protects against undesirable mutations in DNA and RNA during cell division.
Avocados may even have a role to play in cancer treatment, with some research finding that phytochemicals extracted from avocado can selectively inhibit the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells and cause the death of cancer cells while encouraging the proliferation of immune system cells called lymphocytes.
These phytochemicals have also been shown to decrease chromosomal damage caused by cyclophosphamide, a chemotherapy drug.
Avocados may help prevent and treat cancer. A 2015 study published in Cancer Research found that avocatin B, a compound derived from avocado, can help kill leukemia cells. A 2015 research review published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that phytochemicals (plant compounds) in avocados make them potentially beneficial for preventing cancer.
6. Avocados may boost brain health and memory.
The fruit is rich in oleic acid (or OEA), an omega-9 fatty acid that’s linked to improved cognition. A 2009 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found that these types of acids can enhance memory.
Foods containing high levels of folate may help to decrease the risk of depression because folate helps to prevent the build-up of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain.
Eating monounsaturated fats has been shown to reduce depression. (And balancing fat intake may help control depression.) And the high amount of folate has been shown to help maintain your brain’s feel-good chemicals, dopamine, and serotonin.
8. Avocados can help prevent neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
A 2016 study published in Advances in Neurobiology found that the “diverse array of bioactive nutrients” present in avocados play a key role in the prevention and cure of these types of diseases.
9. Improved digestion
Despite its creamy texture, an avocado is actually high in fiber with approximately 6-7 grams per half fruit. Eating foods with natural fiber can help prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract, and lower the risk of colon cancer.
10. Avocados can help prevent gum disease.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that key ingredients in avocados may enhance protective effects against periodontal disease.
11. Osteoporosis prevention
Half of an avocado provides approximately 25 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K. This nutrient is often overlooked but is essential for bone health.
Vitamin K is often overshadowed by calcium and vitamin D when thinking of nutrients important for maintaining healthy bones, however, eating a diet with adequate vitamin K can support bone health by increasing calcium absorption and reducing urinary excretion of calcium.
12. Osteoporosis treatment
Substances called saponins, found in avocados, soy, and some other plant foods, are associated with relief of symptoms
in knee osteoarthritis, with further research planned to determine the long-term effects of isolated extracts.
13. Avocados can help ease osteoarthritis.
A 2010 review published in the journal The Physician and Sportsmedicine found that key ingredients in avocados can help patients with arthritis of the hip or knee.
14. Avocados can combat metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is an assortment of linked issues including high blood sugar, high serum cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high body mass index, which lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
A 2017 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the “lipid‐lowering, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, anti‐obesity, antithrombotic, antiatherosclerotic, and cardioprotective effects of avocado” can help protect against this syndrome.
15. Antimicrobial action
A 2013 study published in the journal BioMed Research International found that the antibacterial activity of avocados can help protect against e. Coli a leading cause of food poisoning and other foodborne pathogens.
16. Avocados may aid in weight loss.
A 2013 study published in the Nutrition Journal found that people eating avocado with a meal felt 23% more satisfied. And they had a 28% lower desire to eat in the next five hours versus people who didn’t eat an avocado.
17. Protection from chronic disease
According to the Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Program of the University of Kentucky high fiber intakes are associated with significantly lower risks of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases.
Increased fiber intake has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance weight loss for obese individuals. (If you would like to know more about the weight loss program, please click this link. Thank you so much).
18. Natural detoxification
Adequate fiber promotes regular bowel movements, which are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins through the bile and stool.
Recent studies have shown that dietary fiber may also play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation.
19. Avocados can help reduce liver damage.
A 2000 study presented by the American Chemical Society found that avocados contain chemicals that can protect against liver toxins. And avocados may be able to lessen the liver damage caused by the hepatitis C virus.
20. Healthy babies –Avocados can be great for pregnant women.
A 2016 study published in the journal Nutrients concluded that avocados are high in folate and potassium (typically under-consumed in maternal diets) as well as fiber, monounsaturated fats, and lipid-soluble antioxidants — all of which are tied to improvements in maternal health, birth outcomes, and quality of breast milk.
Folate is extremely important for a healthy pregnancy. Adequate intake reduces the risk of miscarriage and neural tube defects.
Recent research from McGill University found a 30 percent higher incidence of a variety of birth defects in baby mice conceived using sperm from mice with a folate deficiency compared with mice conceived using sperm from mice with adequate folate levels.2 action
Whether you eat it or make it into a mask, avocado is great for your skin. Its antioxidants, like vitamin C, can help keep your skin looking youthful by smoothing it out.
Any Down Sides to Avocados?
Avocados are high in fat and calories. So if excess weight is a concern, you may want to create some limits on how many you eat. A small amount can go a long way.
And if you’re prone to migraines or are allergic to latex, avocados might not be the fruit for you.
For those who suffer from migraines, certain foods, circumstances, or environmental factors can trigger episodes.
Avocados sometimes appear on lists of such foods due to the high levels of tyramine (a substance formed when proteins break down) they contain when overripe.
In addition, avocado contains some of the same allergens found in latex. So if you have a latex allergy, you may want to watch out to see if avocados trigger any of the same symptoms.
Please let us know in the comments below:
- Are you an avocado lover? What avocado health benefits do you appreciate?
- What are your favorite ways to eat avocados?
- Have you ever tried avocado shake? If so, how did you like it?
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