The Top 10 Health Benefits of Avocado
There are some amazing Avocado benefits for your health and appearance.
If you would like to lose weight, improve your skin and lower your risk of many life-threatening diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease, here’s why it’s well worth including more of this extremely healthy fruit in your diet.
1. Cardiovascular Health
Coronary heart disease is still the biggest killer in the USA and UK and it is essentially a disease of inflammation. Many experts now believe that high consumption of pro-inflammatory processed vegetable oils are a significant risk factor in cardiovascular disease. They advise lowering polyunsaturated fat intake and increasing the amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids in your diet.
Avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated oleic acid. Research has shown this beneficial form of fat reduces dangerous metabolic and dietary acids and reduces acid buffering LDL cholesterol in the blood at the same time as increasing the more beneficial HDL cholesterol.
Studies like this have found eating and/or drinking avocado can also decrease high blood triglyceride levels, another common predictor of cardiovascular problems.
The high levels of vitamin E in Avocado helps prevent cholesterol oxidation, while their potassium can regulate high blood pressure that may lead to both heart disease and kidney problems.
Avocados are also an excellent source of folate, known to reduce dangerous homocysteine levels in the blood, another predictor of cardiovascular disease. Folate is a nutrient many of us are low in and it is especially important for pregnant women.
2. Avocados for Blood Pressure
Many people don’t get enough of the mineral potassium in their diet. This deficiency can lead to high blood pressure, which is in turn a significant risk factor for heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.
Avocado is particularly rich in potassium, even higher than the often touted bananas, and a good food to eat for normal blood pressure and a lower risk of kidney failure and heart disease.
3. Cancer Prevention
Avocado is a good source of antioxidant carotenoids like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants protect your body’s cells against cancerous changes due to metabolic acid damage and are considered your front line of defense against numerous diseases. Alpha-carotene appears to be especially important for cancer prevention. This study found a significantly lower risk of death for cancer and heart disease for those with the highest levels of alpha-carotene in their blood over a 14 year period.
The monounsaturated fats in Avocado also help with carotenoid absorption and studies suggest it has a protective effect against breast cancer in particular.
Avocado also contain high levels of vitamin C and vitamin E, themselves potent anti-cancer antioxidants.
Vitamin C is considered protective against many non-hormonal cancers, like pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer and lung cancer. Importantly, it appears most effective when it comes from food rather than supplements.
Vitamin E deficiency has been linked to breast cancer and studies have found a dramatic reduction in breast cancer risk at higher intakes, especially for women with a family history of the disease.
4. Avocado Skin Benefits
The monounsaturated fats in avocado are also beneficial for improving your skin tone and appearance. They are vital for maintaining good moisture levels in the epidermal layer of your skin that make it look and feel soft and healthy.
5. Avocado for Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease reaching epidemic proportions and there are believed to be a significant number of undiagnosed sufferers. The most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes include a sudden and large increase in thirst and hunger and much more frequent urinating. A dry mouth, significant unexplained weight loss, vision problems and leg pain are also common symptoms.
Having more monounsaturated fats in a diabetic diet is also beneficial for reducing high triglyceride levels and may help improve insulin function and blood glucose levels.
Additionally, the vitamin E found in Avocado lowers cholesterol oxidation that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. It may also provide some protection from nerve damage in diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy.
The high levels of potassium in avocado is another important nutritional factor for diabetics due to the minerals role in maintaining a healthy heart and regulating blood sugar.
6. Arthritis Prevention
Osteoarthritis is a painful condition characterized by joint inflammation and soreness that affects millions of people in the USA and UK. Many common foods like wheat, corn, milk and sugar are known to worsen symptoms, but anti-inflammatory avocado is one of the few foods consistently reported to reduce arthritic pain.
Avocado contains high levels of monounsaturated fats, phytosterols and antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin C and a variety of carotenoids that can help reduce the inflammation that leads to arthritis.
7. Benefits of Avocado for Pregnant Women
Avocado is a particularly important food for women who are pregnant, and those trying to be, due to its high concentrations of folate (also known as folic acid). This B vitamin is needed to prevent birth defects like spina bifida and doctors advise women to get high amounts of folate both before and during pregnancy.
Vitamin K is another valuable nutrient found in high concentrations in avocados that benefit women during pregnancy and their future babies.
8. Avocado for Constipation
Despite their creamy texture, avocados are actually a high fiber food, with 8 grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber per cup of the fresh fruit. This fiber is beneficial for improving digestion, encouraging regular bowel movements and well known to help prevent constipation.
9. Avocado Benefits for Weight Loss
You may be surprised that a food high in fat and calories like avocado would be recommended for weight loss. However, research has shown that avocado’s monounsaturated fatty acids are much more likely to be used as slow burning energy than stored as body fat.
This steady energy and the feeling of satiety or satisfied fullness that you get from Avocado is one of the reasons they are so good at reducing hunger and appetite.
10. Better Overall Health
This interesting study, called ‘Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults’, found that avocado eaters had a higher intake of vitamins, like vitamin K and vitamin E, and minerals, such as potassium and magnesium.
This improved nutritional intake resulted in a significantly lower body weight, body mass index and waist circumference in those that injest avocados.