All The Health Benefits of The Avocado Fruit

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Avocados are a rich source of key nutrients, including healthy fats and fiber. They also contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Nutritious, versatile, and delicious, avocados have become a kitchen staple in many homes worldwide.

Although some refer to avocados as fruits and others as vegetables, they are technically berries. They belong to the Lauraceae plant family, which also includes the cinnamon tree.

Originally from Mexico and Central America, avocados are now cultivated in many parts of the world, including Africa and North America.

Avocados play a significant role in traditional Mexican, Central American, and South American cuisines, featuring in dishes like guacamole, salads, and tacos.

Avocados are popular in the health and wellness community due to their high nutritional value and various health benefits.

This article outlines 7 benefits of eating avocados, covering nutrition, weight loss, and ways to enjoy them.

1. Excellent source of nutrients:

Avocados are high in important nutrients often lacking in modern diets.

Here is the nutritional breakdown for a 7-ounce (201-gram) avocado:

  • Calories: 322
  • Fat: 30 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbs: 17 grams
  • Fiber: 14 grams
  • Vitamin C: 22% of the daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin E: 28% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 35% of the DV
  • Riboflavin (B2): 20% of the DV
  • Niacin (B3): 22% of the DV
  • Pantothenic acid (B5): 56% of the DV
  • Pyridoxine (B6): 30% of the DV
  • Folate: 41% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 14% of the DV
  • Potassium: 21% of the DV
  • Copper: 42% of the DV
  • Manganese: 12% of the DV

Avocados are rich in nutrients often missing from many diets, such as magnesium, B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate. For example, half an avocado provides 10% of the DV for potassium, which is essential for blood pressure regulation and nervous system function.

2. Beneficial for gut health:

Avocados are high in fiber, with about 14 grams per avocado, nearly half the current DV. Fiber is essential for digestive health as it promotes the growth of healthy bacteria. A study with 163 overweight adults found that those who consumed avocado daily had lower fecal bile acid concentrations and increased bacterial diversity compared to a control group. These bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which protect against diseases like colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.

3. May help reduce heart disease risk factors:

Eating nutrient-dense foods like avocados can help protect against heart disease. The vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and fiber in avocados contribute to cardiovascular health. Studies suggest that an avocado-rich diet may improve heart disease risk factors, potentially preventing the onset of heart disease. Avocados may help increase heart-protective HDL cholesterol and decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol, associated with atherosclerosis. The high potassium and magnesium content in avocados also helps regulate blood pressure, which is crucial for heart disease prevention.

4. Rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds:

Avocados are packed with bioactive compounds like carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, and phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant, neuroprotective, and cardioprotective properties. Regular consumption of avocados may help increase the body’s antioxidant defenses, protecting against oxidative damage associated with chronic diseases.

5. May promote a healthy body weight:

Although avocados are high in calories, they are nutrient-dense and promote satiety due to their high fiber and healthy fat content. Research shows that a diet rich in fibrous foods, like fruits and vegetables, supports weight loss. Studies have associated avocado intake with decreased weight gain, improved satiety, and reduced abdominal fat.

6. A smart choice during pregnancy and breastfeeding:

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, nutrient demands increase. Avocados can help meet these increased needs for nutrients like folate, potassium, vitamin C, and B6. The high fiber content of avocados may also help prevent constipation, which is common during pregnancy.

7. Versatile and delicious ingredient:

Avocados can be used in various recipes, both sweet and savory, making them a smart ingredient to have on hand. Here are some ideas:

  • Use avocado instead of mayo in salads.
  • Make guacamole with avocados, onions, lime, and cilantro.
  • Top chicken with tomato and cubed avocado.
  • Add frozen avocado chunks to smoothies.
  • Top chilis and soups with sliced avocado.
  • Include avocado in salads and grain bowls.
  • Make a dairy-free avocado chocolate mousse.
  • Bake breaded avocados for a crispy treat.
  • Pair avocado with eggs and berries for breakfast.
  • Smash avocado on toast or roasted sweet potato.
  • Stuff avocados with chicken or bean salad.
  • Use avocados in tacos and burritos.
  • Blend avocado with olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings for dressing.
  • Top burgers with sliced avocado.
  • Enjoy an avocado half with salt and pepper right out of the rind.

To keep avocados fresh, refrigerate ripe avocados until ready to eat. Let unripe avocados ripen on the counter. Ripe avocados are slightly soft and deep green. Overripe avocados can still be used in baked goods and dressings unless they have a sour taste or smell, mold, or extreme discoloration.

Take Away

Avocados are highly nutritious, rich in fiber, B6, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, folate, and copper. Regular consumption may protect against heart disease, improve diet quality, increase satiety, and promote gut health. Plus, they are versatile and delicious.