Having a daily diet that is rich in veggies and fruits is extremely important. Luckily, there are many options in the market nowadays. Avocado is one of those amazing things. It is widespread and very popular among people who practice a healthy lifestyle. Logically, a question appeared: are there any health benefits of avocado?
So, the star of today’s story is going to be this little green fella.
Is Avocado a fruit?
Avocado or Persea americana very likely originates from southcentral Mexico, and it is a fruit. It belongs to the flowering plant family Lauraceae. Practically, avocado is a large berry with one single seed.
Avocado nutrition facts
Avocado is a very nutritious fruit, it has a mild, bit nutty, somewhat buttery flavor and very rich texture. It is also the main guacamole ingredient. You can find it in various shapes and colors, from pear-shaped to round, and green to black shades.
A very popular variety is the Hass avocado. Some people call it alligator pear because of its shape and green, uneven skin like an alligator. You can eat avocado’s flesh, but remove the skin and seed.
So, as you might guess, avocados are really nutritious and have 20 various vitamins and minerals. Take a look at some of them.
100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving of avocado contains:
- Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
- Folate: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
- Potassium: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
- You can also find small amounts of manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and vitamins such as A, B1, B2, and B3.
- Calories: 160
- Protein: 2gr
- Healthy fats: 15gr
- Carbs: 9gr (7 of those are fiber) = 2 net carbs
Health benefits of avocado fruit
It’s great to know that this avocado comes with so many scientifically proven health benefits. So, in the following text check out some interesting info regarding avocado.
Rich in potassium
Potassium is very important, and many people don’t get enough of it. It maintains electrical gradients in the body’s cells. Avocados have pretty high potassium amounts. A 100-gram serving contains 14% of the recommended daily allowance.
Some studies show that high potassium intake can be linked to reduced blood pressure. And high blood pressure can cause heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. So avocados can help keep those levels lower. Therefore they may be good at preventing cardiovascular diseases.
Avocado is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids
When we talk about high-fat food, avocado may come first to mind. Because 77% of its calories come from fat. And that makes avocado one of the fattiest plants in the world. But, it’s important to say that they are not just any fats.
The fat in avocado is actually oleic acid, a monounsaturated acid that may have some good health benefits.
Rich in fiber
Avocado is moderately rich in fiber. Fiber presents an indigestible plant compound that can help in weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes, and can lower the risk of many diseases.
There is a distinction between soluble and insoluble fiber. For example, the soluble fibers are feeding the friendly gut bacteria in the intestines, and that is very important for overall health.
A 100-gram of avocado has 7 grams of fiber. That’s 27% of the RDA. About 25% of that fiber is soluble, while 75% is insoluble.
Avocados can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Unfortunately, heart diseases are the most common cause of death around the globe. Blood markers can indicate an increased risk for such health conditions.
Some of them are cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, and blood pressure. In eight controlled studies in people, avocado effects were examined regarding some of these risk factors.
The studies showed that avocado can:
- Lower total cholesterol significantly
- Reduce triglycerides by up to 20%
- Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%
- Increase levels of HDL (the good) cholesterol by up to 11%
Note: Even though these results sound impressive, it’s important to have in mind that all of the human studies were very small and didn’t last long. They included just 13-37 people, for a period of 1-4 weeks.
People who eat avocado seem to be healthier
There was an interesting study that analyzed the dietary habits of people who consume avocados. They examined data from 17,567 participants. People who ate avocado were found to be healthier than people who didn’t consume it.
The ones who consumed it had a much higher nutrient intake. And also were under much lower risk for heart disease and diabetes. People who ate avocados often had less weight, and lower BMI, significantly less belly fat, and higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
But, these results, though they sound great, are not a guarantee that avocados were the cause for better health in people. So, they should be taken with a grain of salt, as the study alone doesn’t have much weight.
Avocado’s fats may help increase absorption of nutrients from other plant foods
When consuming food, the intake is not the only important thing. Your body needs to absorb nutrients to transport them from the digestive tract to your body. Some nutrients need to be combined with fat so they can be fully used.
For example, vitamins such as A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble. Antioxidants like carotenoids also need fat. One study revealed that adding avocado or its oil to some salad or salsa can increase antioxidant intake.
Therefore, avocado is not only healthy but also helps your body to absorb more nutrients from other plant foods you eat. So, always bear in mind to add some healthy fat source when eating veggies. Don’t let those amazing nutrients get lost.
Avocado may protect eyes
Avocados can increase antioxidant absorption from other foods. But, it’s also high in antioxidants itself. It contains lutein and zeaxanthin.
Some studies show a link between eating avocado and reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration in older adults.
So, try adding an avocado to your meal, your eyes will be very happy.
Avocado may help in cancer prevention
There is some limited evidence regarding avocado’s positive effects on cancer treatment and prevention. Some test-tube studies suggest it might help reduce side-effects of chemotherapy in human lymphocytes.
In the laboratory, avocado shows it can inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells. It’s important to have in mind that these studies tested isolated cells. So there is no proof of what may happen inside a human’s body.
So, more human-based research is needed.
Avocado extract may help with arthritis
In many Western countries, arthritis is an everyday problem. Many people struggle with lifelong chronic difficulties. But, there are multiple studies that suggest that avocado and soybean oil extracts can reduce osteoarthritis.
Do avocados alone have the same effects? Well, that needs more research.
Eating avocado may reduce body weight
Some data suggest that avocados may help in weight loss. One study says that people who ate avocado with a meal felt 23% more full and had a 28% lower need to eat again the next 5 hours.
Having this in mind and including avocados in your daily diet, you may eat fewer calories. Therefore it may be easier to lose some weight.
Avocados are high in fiber but low in carbs, so those two things combined may provide weight loss as well.
Side effects of eating too much avocado
Although avocado is healthy, eating too much of it can cause some side effects. Check out some of them, and be sure to take avocado in moderation.
Avocados have a lot of nutrients and healthy fats, but that still doesn’t mean you can overeat them. So, like with any other food, eating too much avocado can lead to weight gain. It doesn’t matter that these fats are considered “good”, you can still gain a few pounds.
You might miss out on other food nutrients
Eating too many avocados may satiate you too much, so you don’t feel hungry enough to eat other food. Due to its high fat and fiber compounds, people often feel full for a long period. Especially if they eat too much of it.
Uncomfortable gastrointestinal effect
You don’t need to be allergic to avocados to have an adverse reaction. Avocados contain carbohydrates called polyols. They can cause a laxative-like effect when consumed in high amounts.
If you have avocado intolerance, or you’re sensitive to these natural sugars, you may end up with some bloating, gas, or upset stomach up to 48 hours after consuming it.
Too much fiber
Avocado can provide you with about half of the daily recommended intake of fiber. That means if you eat too much of it, you may feel bloating, abdominal pain, and constipation. Especially if your body is not used to a high fiber diet.
Too much fiber can be very problematic for people with irritable bowel syndrome or some other gastrointestinal condition.
The majority of fats in avocados are monounsaturated. But, this fruit contains about 3.2 grams of saturated fat per 1-cup.
So, about 15% of avocado’s fat is saturated. And this is important to mention because consuming too much saturated fat can boost the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol.
Some dietitians recommend 1/3 to 1/2 an avocado daily. That way you leave a place for fats from other foods, such as nuts, fatty fish, and olive oil.
To sum it up
As you had a chance to see, avocado is really a healthy fruit, very nutritious, plus it tastes so good.
The best thing is that you can incorporate avocado very easily into your daily meals. It goes well with salads, sandwiches, and famous quesadillas.
So, now you have a new fruit option to try out in your kitchen experiments.
Note: Despite that avocado is considered healthy, you shouldn’t overeat it. If you have any health conditions be sure to consult your doctor. Any food can cause side effects. Depending on the overall health of a person.
All health content on foodscene.net is for general information only, and you should not take it as medical advice. If you have any concerns about your health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.