The avocado is a rather unique fruit.
While most fruit consists primarily of carbohydrates, avocados are high in healthy fats. And numerous studies show that they have powerful health benefits. Plus, there are so many ways to use this versatile fruit – grab a spoon and eat it right out of the skin with a little sea salt, slice it and put it on toast, in your smoothie, guacamole or a salsa and so much more!
There are many types of avocado that vary in shape and color — from pear-shaped to round and green to black. They can also weigh anywhere from 8 ounces to 3 pounds. The most popular variety is the Hass avocado.
The yellow-green flesh inside the fruit is eaten, but the skin and seed are discarded.
Here are the top 5 health benefits of avocados that are supported by scientific research:
1. Avocados are Incredibly Nutritious
This fruit is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to various dishes due to its good flavor and rich texture. These days, the avocado has become an incredibly popular food among health-conscious individuals. It’s often referred to as a superfood, which is not surprising given its health properties.
Avocados include over 20 different vitamins and minerals. Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5-ounce serving:
- Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
- Folate: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
- Potassium: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
It also contains small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).
This comes 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 don’t get enough of. It’s the third most abundant mineral in the body. It helps the body regulate fluid, send nerve signals and regulate muscle contractions. And several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
3. Avocados are Loaded With Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
Avocado is a high-fat food (but the good kind…) 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 — a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component of olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its health benefits. Oleic acid has been associated with reduced inflammation – oh yeah!
4. Avocados Are Loaded With Fiber
Fiber is another nutrient that avocados are relatively rich in. It’s indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many diseases. Avocados contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fibers are known for feeding the friendly gut bacteria in your intestine, which are very important for optimal body function and good gut health.
5. Eating Avocados Can Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world. It’s known that several blood markers are linked to an increased risk. This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure and various others. Eight controlled studies in people have examined the effects of avocado on some of these risk factors.
These studies showed that avocados can:
- Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly
- Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%
- Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%
- Increase HDL (the good) cholesterol by up to 11%
6. Avocados Are Loaded With Powerful Antioxidants That Can Protect Your Eyes
Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves. This includes the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health. If you spend a lot of time in front of your computer like I do, these two carotenoids are for you! And studies show that they’re linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in older adults.
7. Avocados Are Delicious and Easy to Incorporate in Your Diet
Avocados are not only healthy, they’re also incredibly delicious and go with many types of food. You can add them to salads and various recipes or simply scoop them out with a spoon and eat them plain. They have a creamy, rich, fatty texture and blend well with other ingredients. An avocado often takes some time to ripen and should feel slightly soft when ripe. The nutrients in avocado can oxidize and turn brown soon after fleshing it, but adding lemon or lime juice should slow down this process or simply putting the seed back in the bowl will slow down the oxidation time.
The Bottom Line
Avocados are an excellent food, loaded with nutrients, many of which are lacking in the modern diet. They’re weight loss friendly, heart healthy and, last but not least, taste incredible!
I’d love to hear how you incorporate avocados into your diet.