10 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado

Organic Food
8.01.2020

Avocado is a tropical fruit (Persea Americana) native to Mexico and Central America. According to FAO figures Mexico produces 25 % of world avocado (1). The production of avocados has been increasing because of its health claims that are gaining popularity.

Because of the different constituents of avocado, the fruit exhibits certain health promoting properties and hence can be called a functional food.

 

10 health benefits of avocado

1.Nutrient dense

Avocado is one of those rare fruits that supplies all the three macronutrients. It has about 2 % protein, 14 % fat and 8 % carbohydrate. It also provides about 163 kcals, but the major constituent is water which is 73 %.

It is a good source of dietary fiber, about 6 %. It is also a good source of several micronutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, niacin and folate.

Avocado can be considered a nutrient dense fruit that provides reasonable amount of energy too.

  1. Boosts immunity

Avocado fruit contains bioactive compounds such as phytosterols, the main component being β-sitosterol present in the lipid fraction of avocado. The β-sitosterol in avocados has a positive effect on immune system by strengthening it (1).

  1. 3. Cholesterol lowering effect

Avocado has cholesterol lowering effect because of the monounsaturated fatty acid content and the phytosterols present in it. High serum cholesterol levels are a risk factor for heart problems.

Avocados can be part of a balanced diet because they have lipid lowering effect (2).

  1. Antioxidant activity

Antioxidants present in food prevent the harmful damage caused by free radicals and they also repair the damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants can enhance the immune function and reduce the risk of cancer and other degenerative diseases (3).

Avocado is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and it also provides some amount of copper and iron. All these micronutrients exhibit antioxidant activities (4).

  1. Good source of dietary fiber

A moderate avocado intake can help an individual to meet the adequate intake of dietary fiber which is 14 grams per 1000 kcal. About one-third of this fiber requirement can be met by consuming half an avocado.

Dietary fiber helps in regulating blood glucose and lipid levels, improves gut health and also increases the satiety level of a meal.

  1. Helps regulating blood pressure levels

Avocado is a good source of potassium and is low in sodium content. Avocado provides about 345 mg of potassium with one-half of the fruit and about 5.5 mg of sodium. This makes avocado a fruit which may contribute to controlling blood pressure (5).

  1. Contributes to weight management

Avocados because of the dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acid contribute towards weight management.

The dietary fiber and lipid content in avocados also increase the satiety value when added to the diet. That feeling of fullness lasts for a longer time and you do not feel the urge to eat for some time.

  1. 8. Good for diabetics

Diabetic people are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Because of the antioxidants present in avocado and the lipid lowering property of avocados the risk of heart diseases decreases which is beneficial to diabetics (6).

Avocados are also a good source of dietary fiber which is beneficial to diabetics as it helps in regulating blood glucose levels.

  1. 9. Contributes to healthy aging

Because of the antioxidants present in avocado it contributes towards healthy aging. Compounds such as xanthophylls, carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin may prevent osteoarthritis, protect DNA from damage and contribute positively towards skin and eye health (5).

  1. Anticarcinogenic

Bioactive phytochemicals such as carotenoids, terpenoids, D-mannoheptulose, persenone A and B, phenols, and glutathione are found in avocados which have been known to have anticarcinogenic effects (5).

Though there is no research evidence on humans available as yet, it is still a food loaded with nutrients and constituents which may help in preventing cancer. Consumption of avocados regularly may have a protective effect against cancer.

 

Final word 

Avocados are fruits that are nutrient dense and also contain several health promoting constituents which have antioxidant value. Avocados can be included as part of your balanced diet to avail all the nutrients and health benefits they provide.

 

References

  1. Duarte, P.F., Chaves, M.A., Borges, C.D. and Mendonç, C.R.B. (2016) Avocado: characteristics, health benefits and uses, Ciência Rural, Santa Maria. Vol. 46 (4).

http://www.scielo.br/pdf/cr/v46n4/1678-4596-cr-46-04-00747.pdf

  1. Zelda, P., Jerling, J. and Oosthuizen,W. (2003) Avocados (monounsaturated fatty acids), weight loss and serum lipids, South African Avocado Growers’ Association Yearbook. Vol. 3 (4).

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9867/a96d6f88795c1621131a8640b78515b71468.pdf

  1. Pham-Huy, L. A., He, H. and Pham-Huy, C. (2008) Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health, International journal of biomedical science: IJBS. Vol. 4(2).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/

  1. Gupta, S. K., Singhal, P., Singh, A., Chauhan, R. and Kumar, B. (2018) Nutritional and Pharmaceutical Benefits of Avocado Plant, Journal of Advanced Research. Vol. 9. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329388661_NUTRITIONAL_AND_PHARMCEUTICAL_BENIFITS_OF_AVOCADO_PLANT
  1. Dreher, M. L. and Davenport, A. J. (2013) Hass avocado composition and potential health effects, Critical reviews in food science and nutrition. Vol. 53(7).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/

  1. Fulgoni, V. L., 3rd, Dreher, M. and Davenport, A. J. (2013) Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008, Nutrition journal. Vol. 12 (1).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3545982/

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