The avocado is a rather unique type of fruit. Most fruit consists primarily of carbohydrate, while avocado is high in healthy fats. Numerous studies show that it has powerful beneficial effects on health. Here are 6 health benefits of avocado, that are supported by scientific research.
1. Avocado is Incredibly Nutritious
What we refer to as “avocado” is the fruit of the avocado tree, called Persea Americana This fruit is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to all sorts of dishes due to its good flavor and rich texture. It is the main ingredient in guacamole.
These days, the avocado has become an incredibly popular food among health-conscious individuals. It is often referred to as a superfood… which is not surprising given its health properties
There are many kinds of avocados, and the shape (from pear-shaped to round) and color (from green to black) can vary between them. They can also weigh anywhere from 8 ounces (220 grams) to 3 pounds (1.4 kg).
The most popular type is called Hass avocado.
It is often called the “alligator pear,” which is very descriptive because it tends to be shaped like a pear and has green, bumpy skin… Like an alligator.
Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.
Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving
- Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.
- Folate: 20% of the RDA.
- Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 14% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.
- Then it contains small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).
This is coming with 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber so there are only 2 “net” carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.
2. They Contain More Potassium Than Bananas
Potassium is a nutrient that most people aren’t getting enough of
This nutrient helps maintain electrical gradients in the body’s cells and serves various important functions.
Avocados are actually very high in potassium… with a 100 gram (3.5 ounces) serving containing 14% of the RDA, compared to 10% in bananas, which are a typical high potassium food
Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure
3. Avocado is Loaded With Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
Again, avocado is a high-fat food.
In fact, 77% of the calories in it are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence.
But they don’t just contain any fat… the majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid.
This is a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component in olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its beneficial effects.
Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer
4. Avocados Are Loaded With Fiber
Fiber is another nutrient found in relatively large amounts in avocado.
Fiber is indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many diseases
A distinction is often made between soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is known to be able to feed the friendly gut bacteria in the intestine, which are very important for the optimal function of our bodies
A 100 gram (3.5 ounces) serving of avocado contains 7 grams of fiber, which is 27% of the recommended daily amount.
About 25% of the fiber in avocado is soluble, while 75% is insoluble.
5. The Fat in Them Can Help You Absorb Nutrients From Plant Foods
When it comes to nutrients, the total amount of them is not the only thing that matters.
We also need to be able to absorb them… move them from the digestive tract and into the body, where they can be used.
Some nutrients are “fat soluble,” meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized.
This includes vitamins A, D, E, and K; along with antioxidants like carotenoids.
One study showed that adding avocado or avocado oil to either salad or salsa can increase antioxidant absorption by 2.6 to 15-fold
So… not only is avocado highly nutritious, it can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you are eating.
This is an excellent reason to always include a healthy fat source when you eat veggies. Without it, a lot of the beneficial plant nutrients will go to waste.
6. Avocados Are Loaded With Powerful Antioxidants That Can Protect The Eyes
Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves.
This includes nutrients called Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health
Studies show that these nutrients are linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in the elderly
Therefore, eating avocados should have benefits for eye health over the long term.