We constantly consume avocado toasts and flaunt our trendy, avocado smoothies, but do we even know what an avocado really is? Is it a vegetable or a fruit? What are the Benefits of Avocado?
Well, Lovers of Avocado, we are here to answer your questions. Here in this article, we will discover the health benefits of Avocado. But before then let’s discuss a little about what avocado actually is.
What Are Avocados?
Avocados are evergreen tropical trees with pear-shaped, nutrient-rich fruits. The term avocado covers both the tree and the fruit.
They come in hundreds of different varieties. In addition, the tree is a member of Lauraceae, the family of flowering plants.
The fruit itself is a berry that contains a big seed. Although not sweet, avocados are satisfying and versatile foods with a creamy and buttery texture. In addition, they have a rich flavor and taste which they get from their high fat content.
You can click on this link to get more information about the Facts, nutritional content, and risks of avocado. Let’s focus on the Avocado benefits of this berry.
There are benefits one derives from consuming avocado. Below are some of these benefits.
1. Avocado Consumers Tend to be Healthier
A 2013 study published in Nutrition Journal examined the eating habits and health of avocado consumers.
They analyzed data from 17,567 participants in the NHANES survey in the United States.
The study shows that those who ate more avocados generally have more nutrients intake and have a lower rate of metabolic syndrome than those who consume fewer.
Furthermore, they have a lower weight, a low Body Mass Index (BMI), a low fat belly and higher levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein, which means “good” cholesterol).
2. They can Help Prevent and Treat Cancer.
An adequate intake of folic acid in the diet has shown promising results in the protection against cancer of the colon, stomach, pancreas, and cervix.
Although the mechanism behind this apparent risk reduction is still unknown, researchers believe that folic acid protects against unwanted mutations in DNA and RNA during cell division.
Firstly, some research has shown that phytochemicals extracted from avocados can selectively inhibit the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells and cause the death of cancer cells while promoting the proliferation of immune system cells called lymphocytes. Hence, avocados can play a role in cancer treatment.
Again, it has also been shown that these phytochemicals decrease the chromosomal damage caused by cyclophosphamide, a drug used in chemotherapy.
Similarly, a 2015 study published in Cancer Research showed that Avocatin B, a compound obtained from avocado, can help destroy leukemia cells.
Furthermore, another study published in 2015 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that the phytochemicals (plant compounds) present in avocados make them potentially important for cancer prevention.
3. They Can Help You Lose Weight.
There is some evidence to show that avocado helps in weight loss.
For instance, a 2013 study from the Nutrition Journal found that people who ate avocado with a meal felt 23% more satisfied.
In addition, the desire to eat for the next five hours is decreased by 28% compared to those who did not eat avocado.
Therefore, including avocados in your diet could help you naturally eat fewer calories. Hence, allowing you to easily maintain healthy eating habits.
Furthermore, avocados are also high in fiber and very low in carbohydrates. These two qualities help promote weight loss.
4. Avocados can Keep Your Eyes Healthy With Age.
Avocado is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that focus particularly on eye tissues. They provide antioxidant protection to help minimize damage, even from ultraviolet light. These can go a long way to protect and maintain healthy eye cells.
Furthermore, according to a study conducted in 2017, monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados also support the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta-carotene. Therefore, adding avocados to your diet can help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataract.
5. The Fat Content OF Avocados can Help You Absorb Nutrients from Plants.
When it comes to nutrients, their consumption is not the only thing that matters.
You should also be able to absorb these nutrients. That is, move them from your digestive tract to your body, where they can be used.
Some nutrients are fat soluble, which means they must be combined with fat for use.
Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble, as are antioxidants such as carotenoids.
A study showed that adding avocado or avocado oil to salad or sauce increases the absorption of antioxidants from 2.6 to 15 times.
Therefore, avocado is not only very nutritious but it can also significantly increase the nutritional value of other plant foods you consume.
This is a great reason to always include a source of healthy fat when eating vegetables. Without this, many beneficial nutrients for plants will be wasted.
6. They can Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
A 2015 study in the American Heart Association’s Journal showed that consuming an avocado a day as part of a moderate‐fat, cholesterol‐lowering diet reduces low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol.
Again, avocados contain 25 milligrams per ounce of a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. It has been shown that regular consumption of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
7. They can Help Prevent Food Poisoning.
A 2013 study published in BioMed Research International found that the antibacterial activity of avocados can help protect against Escherichia coli (E. Coli) and other foodborne pathogens.
8. They can Help Reduce Liver Damage
A 2000 study presented by the American Chemical Society showed that avocados contain chemicals that can protect against liver toxins.
In addition, avocados can reduce liver damage caused by the hepatitis C virus.
9. Avocados Can Tackle Metabolic Syndrome.
For starters, the metabolic syndrome is a mixture of related problems that include hyperglycemia, hypercholesterolemia, high blood pressure, and high body mass index. These can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Again, a study published in 2017 in the journal Phytotherapy Research revealed that “lipid‐lowering, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, anti‐obesity, antithrombotic, antiatherosclerotic, and cardioprotective effects of avocado” can help guard against this syndrome.
10. They can be Great for Pregnant Women.
A study published in 2016 in the journal Nutrients found that avocados are rich in folate and potassium (usually in low consumption in maternal diets), as well as in fiber, monounsaturated fatty acids, and fat-soluble antioxidants.
Furthermore, all these factors are related to the improvement of maternal health, birth results and the quality of breast milk.
11. Osteoporosis Prevention
Half of an avocado provides approximately 25% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K.
This nutrient is often overlooked, but it is essential for bone health.
Vitamin K is often overshadowed by calcium and vitamin D when you think of nutrients that are essential for maintaining healthy bones. However, a diet that contains enough vitamin K can improve bone health by increasing calcium absorption and reducing urinary calcium excretion.
Furthermore, substances called saponins, present in avocados, soy, and other plant foods, are associated with the relief of knee osteoarthritis symptoms. However, more research is planned to determine the long-term effects of isolated extracts.
Therefore one of the many avocado benefits is that it supplies the much-needed vitamin K in the body.
12. Natural Detoxification
Proper fiber promotes regular bowel movements, essential for the daily excretion of toxins through bile and feces.
Additionally, recent studies have shown that dietary fiber can also play a role in the regulation of the immune system and inflammation.
13. Eating Avocados Can Reduce Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels
It is popularly known that heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world.
This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure, and others.
Eight controlled studies in humans examined the avocado effects on some of these risk factors.
These studies have shown that avocados can:
- Dramatically reduces total cholesterol levels.
- Reduces blood triglycerides by up to 20%.
- Reduce your LDL cholesterol level by up to 22%.
- Increases HDL cholesterol by up to 11% (the “good”).
One study showed that including avocado in a low-fat vegetarian diet significantly improved the cholesterol profile.
Although its results are impressive, it is important to keep in mind that all human studies have been small and short-term, including only 13 to 37 people lasting 1 to 4 weeks.
14. Rich in Fiber
Despite its creamy texture, avocado is rich in fiber with approximately 6-7 grams per half fruit.
Eating foods that contain natural fibers can help prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
According to the Department of Internal Medicine and Nutrition Sciences at the University of Kentucky, high fiber intake is associated with much lower risks of developing coronary artery disease, strokes, hypertension, obesity diabetes, and some gastrointestinal diseases. It has also been shown that increased fiber intake reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improves insulin sensitivity and increases weight loss in obese people.
Summary And Conclusion
Avocado can be used in several ways, like avocado oil. Avocado oil can be used for cooking or to moisturize skin or hair.
In addition to incorporating avocado into the diet, the use of avocado-based products on the skin is an option. Avocado is a popular ingredient in moisturizing products, such as facial masks.
So go ahead and include avocado in your meals and also make use of its products and enjoy the many benefits of avocado.
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