Avocados are one of nature’s best sources of healthy fats. They are full of monounsaturated fatty acids, which are essential for overall healing throughout the body. (1) They are rich in many other vital nutrients that humans need to not only stay well but thrive. Avocados are also a great addition to many meals, from a tasty snack on toast to a creamy meal addition or swap, there is no limit to their versatility. They are even popular among many desserts to add nutrition and extra natural cream, instead of butter.
This versatile fruit is among the most popular sources of healthy fats in the wellness community. Although, according to the USDA, avocados are classified as a vegetable. However, they are technically considered to be fruit. That is because they share similar botany to the berry with their fleshy pulp and big seed. It originated from southcentral Mexico, where they tend to grow best in warmer climates. (2)
The original name for avocado is Persea Americana, which refers to the plant name. (3) Many people refer to avocados as a “superfood,” because of their nutritional and antioxidant properties. Although, it is important to understand that everyone is different in what foods allow them to thrive. Eating more fruits and vegetables is beneficial to maintain overall health.
Table of Contents
- Health Benefits of Avocados
- Health Risks of Avocados?
Health Benefits of Avocados
They are famous for many health benefits, from promoting better digestion to brain health, and much more. Check out how eating more avocados can help you improve your overall health and wellbeing below.
1) They May Help You Lose Weight
Everybody is different, but one reason people love avocados, beyond their creamy texture, is because they can assist in your weight loss goals. That is because healthy fats may promote higher metabolism and hormone regulation in the body, to name a few. Avocados contain naturally occurring food hormones, which may have a positive effect on human hormone levels, especially when it comes to phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are crucial when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight over time (4), (5).
One study shows that eating avocados regularly helps to keep weight down and for longer over time (6). It may even help to prevent obesity later on in life as well. Furthermore, those who ate avocados regularly had lower BMIs than those who didn’t (7).
Although avocados may assist with weight loss, it is important to monitor the amount that works for you. Even though avocado is a healthy fat, they are high in calories, so they can still put on weight when eaten in excess (8). Always test out what works best for your body.
Summary:Avocados are high in phytoestrogens, which are a type of hormone that helps with maintaining body weight. Studies have shown that eating avocados regularly (but not in excess) may help lower BMI and prevent obesity later in life.
2) They May Improve Heart Health
Because avocados are full of healthy fats and packed with tons of nutrients, they may even be a powerful heart-healthy fruit. They also contain a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol, which could be essential to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels (9).
Did you know one avocado has three times the amount of potassium as one banana? (10) Avocados are not only full of potassium, they also have plenty of folate, other essential B vitamins, magnesium, and much more. (11) All of these are vital to maintaining a healthy heart as well.
One study shows that adding just one avocado a day could increase levels of HDL cholesterol, also known as the “good” cholesterol (12). This is another crucial piece of maintaining a strong heart.
Summary:Avocados contain beta-sitosterol, which may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. One study has shown that adding avocado to the diet may help increase HDL levels, known as the “good cholesterol”, making it beneficial for heart health.
3) They May Be Great for Vision
On top of all the benefits already discussed, avocados are also high in nutrients that promote eye health. These include beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. All of these nutrients are essential to maintain good vision and eye health.
In fact, avocados contain 185 mcg of lutein/zeaxanthin per one-half fruit. That is presumed to be more highly bioavailable than most other fruit and vegetable sources. Also, the Mexican population has the highest levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. That population also consumes the highest amount of this wondrous fruit (13).
Avocados are also high in essential B vitamins, which are necessary for eye health and nerve functioning. Folate, niacin, and more are all important for good eye health, and they are all in avocados as well. If you are feeling some eye strain, or if you have a family history of macular degeneration, it may be time for you to think about adding some more avocado to your diet.
Summary:Avocados are high in beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which are nutrients that help to maintain good vision and eye health. Adding avocado to your diet may help to improve eye health and prevent macular degeneration in the future.
4) They May Improve Joint Function and Manage Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis, affecting millions of people every year. This disease directly targets the joints and cartilage, and it is a progressive disease. It can damage any joint in the body, but the most common ones are in the spine, hips, hands, and knees.
It turns out, certain fruits and vegetables high in lutein and zeaxanthin like avocado may come in handy for joint function. Eating more avocado may help to protect joints and even manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis (14).
Osteoarthritis is an extremely painful joint disease that affects millions in their physical limitations. Diet may be a powerful source of pain management when it comes to joint disorders like osteoarthritis. Although this disorder is not curable, pain management may be possible, especially to help with stiffness and immobility.
Summary:Due to the high amount of lutein and zeaxanthin in avocados, it may help with joint health and improve symptoms of joint diseases like osteoarthritis.
5) They May Provide Protection Against DNA Damage
Avocados are also high in powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants like xanthophylls help to protect the body against free radicals. Plus, they may even be able to reverse and protect against DNA damage, especially done to the skin. That group of antioxidants, called xanthophylls, proves to be powerful at promoting healthy skin aging and aging in general (15). All antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in the body, helping to improve overall skin health.
They may even have some protective effects when it comes to harmful UV rays. Introducing avocados may even help to reduce the damage already done to the skin by UV rays (16). Avocados may also be so potent at reducing DNA damage to the skin because they are extremely high in vitamin C. Just one cup of avocado contain 14.6 mg of vitamin C.
Adding in this fruit provides a large amount of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, which is 65-90 mg. Vitamin C is also essential for keeping your immune system function high to prevent common colds and illnesses.
Summary:Avocados are high in antioxidants including vitamin C and xanthophylls, which may help protect the body against free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
6) They May Help Prevent Some Cancers
The reason avocados may be a powerful food against cancer is because they contain many important nutrients and carotenoids. These include, but are not limited to glutathione, terpenoids, D-mannoheptulose, and more. These bioactive phytochemicals all prove to be anti-carcinogenic. Although claims like this are preliminary, some studies show there is some great promise in cancer prevention, especially for oral, prostate, and breast cancer (17).
According to researchers at Ohio State University, nutrients taken from avocados were able to prevent oral cancer cells, preventing and even killing others. They discovered how certain extracts from Hass avocados may not only prevent oral cancer but can potentially kill cancer cells as well (18).
Fruits and vegetables high in carotenoids, like avocado, also may be beneficial at preventing breast cancer. That is because of their ability to reduce oxidative stress, which is a potential trigger for breast cancer. Avocados also contain a healthy dose of monounsaturated fats, which may also play a role in breast and prostate cancer prevention (19).
Summary:Due to the high amount of nutrients and amount of carotenoids in avocados, they may play a role in preventing cancers such as oral, prostate, and breast cancer. Monounsaturated fats, which avocados are high in, may also play a role in breast and prostate cancer prevention.
7) They May Promote Healthier Digestion
Healthy digestion is essential for many functions throughout the body. Without a healthy digestive tract, the body cannot operate at its highest capacity. Thankfully, there are lots of fruits and vegetables that can make proper digestion easy. One of them is the famous avocado. Avocados are super high in fiber, which is necessary to promote good digestion.
With just one avocado, you get almost 10 grams of fiber (20). The recommended daily intake of fiber for women is at least 21 grams and for men, at least 30 grams. Adding even just a slice of avocado to one fiber-rich meal can make getting to your fiber goal extremely easy.
A diet that provides plenty of versatility is important as well. Another reason avocados are great for digestion is because they are high in B vitamins, vitamin K, and much more. The body requires a balance of many nutrients to digest food well for the long term.
Summary:One cup of avocado contains around 10 grams of fiber, b vitamins, and vitamin K, all of which help to support a healthy digestive system.
Health Risks of Avocados?
Avocados are overall and typically a healthy addition to most diets. Although, there are some potential risks to keep in mind before changing up your diet. Although avocados are not considered to be a super common allergen, it is possible among some people. If you experience any of these symptoms, you may have an allergy to avocados. If after eating avocado, you experience coughing, sneezing, wheezing, or a stuffy nose, you may be allergic. This type of allergy is also common in association with latex.
Another important risk to keep in mind is that avocados can lead to weight gain, especially when eaten in excess. Even though avocados are full of unsaturated fat, they are still a type of fat. So, many can benefit from even just a slice of avocado, as opposed to a half or whole a day. It’s also important to keep in mind that avocados digest slower than most other foods because of their fat content. That’s why it can be helpful to have a small serving to make sure you are reaching your nutrition requirements for the day.
If you do not experience any of these potential health risks, it is likely that avocados are ok to add to your diet.
Summary:Some people may experience allergies to avocados, so it is important to be aware if you are experiencing any allergy-like symptoms. Since avocados are a type of healthy fat, they still contain a large number of calories which can cause weight gain when eaten in excess.
Are you ready to start adding some avocados to your diet? Always be sure to talk to your doctor or dietician if you are actively taking medication that may interfere with this fruit. Avocados, for the most part, are a healthy addition to most diets. They may help to manage excess weight or keep it off, boost your immunity, increase your nutrition requirements, and more.
See if adding more avocado to your diet can help you with one of the above health boosts. If you are unsure how to start incorporating avocado into your routine, try to simply add it to your toast in the morning instead of butter for an easy start.
Remember that everyone has specific requirements when it comes to their diet and health, so be sure to consult with a trusted healthcare provider if you are unsure where to begin.