Avocados can make an ingredient in almost any recipe. Ran out of margarine? Put avocado paste on the sandwich. Looking for a nutritious boost at the start of your day? Make an avocado smoothie. From avocado egg rolls to making avocado naans, we all have explored to use avocados in a hundred different ways. But that’s not only to the rich, creamy texture of avocados. A significant contributor to the wide popularity of avocados is their rich nutrition.
At by the way health, we have taken a deep dive in the pool of research studies related to avocados, and we bring you what we have found out as a result.
14 Research-Backed Benefits Of Avocados:
Native to Mexico, avocados belong to berries and contain a single seed. There are over 24 varieties of avocados, but more than 90 percent of consumed variety is Haas. Avocados are eaten raw, cooked with food, used as dips and bread spreads, and blended to make smoothies. In fact, recently, avocado oil is also getting popularity for its benefits.
Avocados have long been known for their health benefits. Some are true, and a few are exaggerated. Let’s see which benefits of avocadoes are backed by science.
1. Avocados Are Incredibly Nutritious
An average-sized avocado (68g) contains 114 calories, and 77 percent of these calories come from healthy fat. Nutrient composition of avocados is as follows:
- Dietary fiber – 4.6 g
- Potassium – 345 mg
- Sodium – 5.5 mg
- Magnesium – 19.5 mg
- Total sugar – 0.2 gram
- Vitamin A – 43 μg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.2 mg
- Niacin – 1.3 mg
- Vitamin C – 6 mg
- Pantothenic acid – 1.0 mg
- Vitamin E – 1.3 mg
- Vitamin K1 – 14 μg
- Riboflavin – 0.1 mg
- Folate – 60 mg
- High-monounsaturated fatty acids – 6.7 g
- Lutein/zeaxanthin – 185 μg
- Phytosterols – 57 mg
- Choline – 10 mg
- 2. Avocados are heart-friendly.
Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world. It’s known that several blood markers are linked to an increased risk. This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure, and various others.
Eight controlled studies in people have examined the effects of avocado on some of these risk factors. These studies showed that avocados can:
- Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly.
- Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%.
- Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%.
- Increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by up to 11%.
One of the studies found that including avocado in a low-fat, vegetarian diet significantly improved the cholesterol profile.
Though their results are impressive, it’s important to note that all of the human studies were small and short-term, including only 13–37 people with a duration of 1–4 weeks.
Avocado Is Loaded With Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids.
Avocado is a high-fat food. In fact, 77% of the calories in it are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence.
But they don’t just contain any fat. The majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid — a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component of olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its health benefits.
Oleic acid has been associated with reduced inflammation and shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
The fats in avocado are also rather resistant to heat-induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe choice for cooking.
3. Avocados Improve Blood Pressure Values:
Avocados are a rich source of potassium, which relaxes the walls of blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure (hypertension).
The monounsaturated fats in avocados can reduce blood pressure in the short and long-term.
The high fiber content of avocado may also contribute to the prevention of high blood pressure, especially in populations where fiber intake is below recommended levels.
4. Avocados Help You Manage Weight
There is some evidence that avocados are a weight loss friendly food.
In one study, people eating avocado with a meal felt 23% more satisfied and had a 28% lower desire to eat over the next 5 hours, compared to people who did not consume this fruit.
Should this hold true in the long term, then including avocados in your diet may help you naturally eat fewer calories and make it easier for you to stick to healthy eating habits.
Avocados are also high in fiber and very low in carbs, two attributes that should help promote weight loss as well, at least in the context of a healthy, real-food-based diet.
5. Avocados Prevent Or Delay Osteoarthritis
Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are many types of this condition, which are often chronic problems that people have for the rest of their lives.
Multiple studies suggest that avocado and soybean oil extracts — called avocado and soybean unsaponifiables — can reduce osteoarthritis.
Whether avocados themselves have this effect remains to be seen.
6. Avocados Are Good For Eye Health
Avocados Are Loaded With Powerful Antioxidants That Can Protect Your Eyes. Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, but they are also high in antioxidants themselves.
This includes the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health. Studies show that they’re linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in older adults. Therefore, eating avocados should benefit your eye health over the long term.
7. Avocado Help Prevent Cancer
There is limited evidence that avocado may be beneficial in cancer treatment and prevention.
Test-tube studies suggest that it may help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy in human lymphocytes.
The avocado extract has also been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells in a laboratory.
However, keep in mind that these studies were done in isolated cells and don’t necessarily prove what may happen inside people. Human-based research is unavailable.
8. Avocados Can Support Healthy Skin
The high-fat content and antioxidant properties of avocados can play an important role in maintaining healthy skin.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in human skin and are obtained from eating foods such as avocado. These antioxidants may help protect the skin from UV and visible radiation damage.
Clinical trials (1 DB-RCT of 40 healthy women and 1 DB-RCT of 30 dry-skinned elderly volunteers) indicated that both the topical and oral intake of lutein and zeaxanthin can improve skin elasticity, hydration, and wrinkles.
A pilot study suggested that both the topical use and dietary intake of avocado may enhance wound healing in rats.
9. Avocados Support a Healthy Pregnancy and Early Child Life
Avocados are high in fiber, monounsaturated fats, and antioxidants (lutein). These nutrients are linked to improvements in fertility, maternal health, birth outcomes, and breast milk production in premenopausal women.
The lutein content in breast milk rises with maternal diet. This antioxidant supports proper eye and neural development in infants.
Monounsaturated fats are necessary for brain development in the first year of life.
Nutrients such as folate are essential for fetal health to prevent neural and heart defects. One half an avocado contains 60 μg folate, providing 10% of the recommended daily intake for pregnant women.
Avocados may help expectant mothers overcome nausea due to their high B6 vitamin content, a known therapeutic approach to minimize morning sickness.
10. Avocados Aid In Digestion
Avocados are soothing for the intestine and aid in digestion. They contain soluble and insoluble fibers that help to keep the digestive system running smoothly. These types of fiber are very important for digestion because they bulk up stools and help ensure the smooth passage of food through the intestinal tract.
Furthermore, they stimulate gastric and digestive juices so nutrients are absorbed in the most efficient and rapid way. Finally, they reduce the symptoms from conditions like constipation and diarrhea.
All in all, the huge amount of fiber found in avocados (40% of daily requirement per serving) makes this a very important food for optimizing your digestive health.
11. Avocados Are Good For Kidney Health
Diet plays a very important role in maintaining the balance of minerals and fluids in those who suffer from chronic kidney disorders. Potassium is one of the minerals that help in maintaining a normal heart rate.
Avocados are a good source of potassium and their inclusion in your diet may provide other benefits as well. It is important to make sure that potassium levels are not too high as that can also be dangerous for the heart.
Potassium is a key aspect of maintaining fluid balance through chemical channels for cells and organs. This balance of fluid is also vital for the functioning of the kidney, which handles the movement of fluid and toxins through the body.
12. Avocados Help In Nutrient Absorption
Avocados are best eaten along with other fruits and vegetables. According to a research study by Ohio State University, the fat in avocado helps the body absorb carotenoids such as beta-carotene and converts them to vitamin A.
Lead researcher Dr. Rachel Kopec, in the study, found that the absorption of carotenoid antioxidant molecules, which helps protect the body against free radical damage, increases three to five times when a salad is eaten along with avocado.
Therefore, adding sliced avocado to a mixed salad is a good way to make a healthy meal even better. This makes avocado a great element as an appetizer since it prepares the digestive tract to function at its highest level during the meal to come!
13. Avocados Improve Blood Glucose Levels
Apart from the fruit, the leaf extracts of avocados also provide health benefits. A study conducted on non-diabetic and diabetic rats suggest that the leaf extracts may help in lowering blood glucose levels. For diabetic patients, the metabolism of starch-based foods into simple sugars like glucose can cause the spikes and plunges that are dangerous for diabetics.
Fiber helps to slow the breakdown of food into usable sugars, so it is absorbed by the body in a more balanced way. Furthermore, the majority of carbohydrates in avocados are made up of 7-carbon sugars, a relatively rare form of sugar that actually inhibit the enzyme, hexokinase. This helps avocados control the way that glucose is metabolized by the body, thereby protecting the overall health of diabetic patients.
7 Ways To Eat Avocados:
Want to add avocados to your diet but not sure how to? Try a variety of ways. Here are some ideas:
- Spread avocado on toast in the morning instead of butter.
- Use avocado instead of mayonnaise in chicken or egg salad, or as a spread on a sandwich.
- The soft, creamy texture of avocado and its mild taste make it a perfect first food for babies.
- Slice the avocado in half and remove the pit. Crack an egg, place it in the avocado half, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 425°F. Top with diced tomatoes, salsa, peppers, or other vegetables.
- Pair them with fish tacos, enchiladas, or other Mexican dishes.
- Use them as a topping on chili in place of sour cream.
- Sprinkle diced avocado on a whole-grain pizza and cut back on the cheese.
Some More Avocado Ideas:
- Avocados are widely used in sushi as well. They have a great creamy feel in the mouth and can be used to fill or top sushi rolls.
- Avocados are grilled. They make a great side dish, especially for barbecued meats. Simply cut an avocado in half and remove the seed. Drizzle the halves with lemon juice and brush them with olive oil. Place the cut side down on the grill and cook for 2–3 minutes. Finally, season it with salt and pepper or any other seasoning of your choice.
- Make avocado pickles. They are delicious and can be used in any dish in which you’d typically use avocados, such as salads and sandwiches.
- Avocado fries are a great side dish, appetizer or substitute for regular potato fries. They can be either deep fried or, to skip the frying oil and make a healthier version, you can also bake them. You can enjoy your avocado fries with different dipping sauces, such as ketchup, mustard, aioli or ranch.
- Avocados are used to make incredible cocktails like margaritas, daiquiris or martinis. Even though they’re all made differently, they have a similar creamy consistency. Non-alcoholic versions of these drinks can be made by simply omitting the alcohol from the recipes.