18 Health Benefits of Avocado
Avocados originated from Mexico and are cultivated all over the world. The fruit itself also called an avocado, is technically a berry and has a single seed. The meat of the fruit has a smooth and creamy texture, and can be used in a variety of dishes and beverages, and can even be eaten on its own.
Mexico is responsible for over a third of avocado supplies in the entire world. Locations such as California and Peru are also known for their large avocado harvests and cultivation.
Avocados have been known to be a superfood due to the numerous health benefits that they provide. Here are some known facts about the positive effects of avocados on your health, as well as other information such as cold, hard, nutrition facts about avocados as well as some negative effects when eating this nutritious and delicious fruit.
Health Benefits of Avocados
It Helps You Prevent Cancer
One of the best benefits that you can get from eating avocados is that it can help certain types of cancer from occurring, such as those along the digestive tract as well as the cervix. A 2015 study showed that compounds found in the fruit help in killing cancer cells.
A different study also reported that the plant compounds in avocados, called phytochemicals, can prevent the development of cancer cells within the body as well as reduce the harmful effects of chemotherapy.
It Helps Reduce Heart Attack Risk
Eating avocados can promote good heart health. As the fats in avocados can help in lowering bad cholesterol, this can help in removing plaque from the heart which may cause heart disease.
This can also help in preventing strokes, obesity, and diabetes. You should just be sure not to eat too much as very high HDL, or good cholesterol has negative implications as well.
It Helps Improve Digestion
Avocados are very high in dietary fiber. This helps in controlling your blood sugar levels which in turn helps lower the risk of diabetes. In addition, fiber helps in cleaning to gut and prevents constipation.
Avocados have both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which are needed by the body and serve different purposes once consumed. In some cases, avocados have also been known to reduce the effects of food poisoning due to its anti-microbial properties.
It Helps You Sleep Better
Avocados contain compounds that help you fall asleep faster. It also helps in getting a better quality of sleep. If eaten a few hours before bedtime, avocados can help give you a healthy sleeping pattern. Sleep is a very important aspect of a healthy lifestyle as this is the time when your body naturally recovers.
Eat avocado on its own or along with healthy foods to take advantage of this fruit’s full effects.
It Helps Your Body Absorb More Nutrients
Nutrients from food will need to be absorbed by the body before they can be beneficial. Otherwise, they would only be excreted and would be of no use. The fats in avocados help the body absorb more nutrients in the digestive tract, so you can make the most out of the foods that you eat.
Nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K are better absorbed by the body when mixed in with fats, and avocados have plenty of that. This way, nutrients consumed will not go to waste.
It Helps Improve Eyesight
Antioxidants such as lutein and can be found in avocados. Lutein and other carotenoids help in the prevention of cataracts and other forms of macular degeneration. They also help in preventing damage against exposure to UV light. Eating avocados on a regular basis, thus, can help in promoting good eye health and maintaining good eyesight.
It Helps You Lose Weight
Eating avocados can make you feel fuller. This is because of its low glycemic index, which means that nutrients are more slowly absorbed by the body and will not spike blood sugar levels. This will help keep cravings at bay and it will also help prevent overeating.
It is also low in sugar, salts, and carbohydrates while high in fiber, making it good for those who are planning to lose and control their weight. However, a healthy diet along with regular exercise is still required to enjoy avocados’ full effects when it comes to weight loss.
It Helps Promote Good Mental Health
There have been studies that avocados can help improve your mental health. Studies made in 2016 have shown a decrease in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s when a diet of avocados is provided to subjects who are at high risk of the disease.
Avocados have also been known to help improve moods by regulating hormones in the brain. As such, avocados are known to be a feel-good fruit that can be eaten to help fight depression and other mental disorders.
It is Great for Pregnant Women
Avocados are a very rich source of folate, a nutrient that is very important when it comes to women. Along with potassium, the folate in avocados helps reduce the risk of miscarriage and promotes better development of the fetus.
Those who are also undergoing a controlled diet of avocados during pregnancy have also reported fewer incidences of birth defects as well as improved quality of breast milk.
It Helps Detoxify the Body
Not only do avocados help detoxify the body by helping us maintain a healthy gut, but the fruit has also been proven to protect the liver against damage. It can also help in preventing the onset of hepatitis C in some cases.
However, it is important to note that these benefits can only be enjoyed by those with healthy livers, while those suffering from liver disease should seek professional advice before eating avocados.
Risks and Side Effects of Avocados
Despite the obvious health benefits of avocados, it is important to note that there are some side effects of consuming this fruit as well. These negative effects, while minor, can easily be aggravated especially if you have pre-existing conditions that can further the damage done on your body.
One of the most common side effects of consuming avocados is allergies. Those with allergies to latex are advised against eating avocados as they may trigger allergic reactions such as itchy mouths or swollen tongues. Those who are taking anti-coagulation medicines should also avoid avocados as the Vitamin K found in the food may counteract against the medication.
While avocados can be used to help weight loss, eating too much can lead to the reverse. This is because the fruit is loaded with fat and is considered as a high-calorie food. Those with compromised livers and kidneys should also avoid avocados, although if these organs are fine, then you should be okay with eating a healthy amount of this fruit.
Other effects of eating too many avocados may include gastrointestinal irritation, minor skin problems, nausea, vomiting, flu, and drowsiness. As such, it is very important to not eat this fruit excessively so that you can enjoy them without compromising your short term and long term health.
Avocado Nutrition Facts
An avocado, on average, contains 240 calories and is the only fruit to have a healthy dose of monounsaturated fats. Around 75 percent of the fat found in avocados contain either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.
Traces of sodium, carbs, and sugar, on the other hand, are little to none, making this a very healthy fruit. A third of your dietary fiber requirements are also met if one whole avocado is consumed.
In addition, Avocados contain a healthy dose of vitamins, including Vitamins A, C, E, and K. For B Vitamins, B-6, B-12, riboflavin, niacin, and folate, among others, can be found. You may also get minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, and manganese from this fruit. All of these vitamins and minerals have positive effects on the body.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it OK to eat an avocado a day?
While some say that eating one avocado a day has provided with some great health benefits, too much of a good thing may be too much for some. As one cup of avocado contains 240 calories, portioning may be a good idea especially if you are trying to lose weight.
240 calories are already equal to at least a tenth of your daily caloric needs. Also, while avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats which help in lowering bad cholesterol, people with certain conditions may be required to have lower fat intake.
As such, some medical experts do advise eating just half a cup of avocados a day, although you can enjoy the entire fruit from time to time. It all depends on your weight goals as well as how your body reacts to the quantity of the fruit that you eat.
Do avocados make you gain weight?
When consumed along with a healthy diet, avocados can be a very helpful weight-loss tool. Avocados are high in fiber which aid in digestion. They are also very filling and can help in suppressing appetite, causing you to eat less food as well as less frequently.
The monounsaturated fats in avocados have also been shown to help increase metabolism, which allows you to burn fats faster.
However, avocados are very rich in fat, as well. About a third of the calories from the fruit comes from fat, and each serving of avocado is equal to 240 calories. Compared to other fruits, this calorie count is very high. This means that eating avocados alone may cause some form of weight gain.
However, with proper diet and exercise, the fruit can definitely help in controlling weight by keeping you full and burning calories faster.
How many avocados should you eat a day?
As mentioned, despite the health benefits of avocados, eating too much may cause some problems, especially when it comes to your weight. Experts agree that eating half an avocado can already provide you with all of the positive benefits that the fruit can provide, while others will allow you to eat an entire fruit a day.
Of course, not all avocados are sized equally. If you want to be really specific about it, half an avocado is the recommended sweet spot that you can enjoy on a daily basis.
Is Avocado Good for your skin?
Avocados are rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants which are known to help fight aging. Eating avocados regularly have been known to help in protecting the skin against UV damage, as well as producing more supple skin.
However, avocados are not only beneficial to the skin when eaten. Many agree that applying avocados directly onto the skin will help it in numerous ways as well. Avocados can be applied to the face and body, and the natural oils will be absorbed by the skin.
This will help you avoid having rough and dry skin, as well as wrinkles or crow’s feet around the eyes. It can also be an effective first aid treatment against sunburns. Skin experts recommend leaving avocados in the skin for ten to fifteen minutes and then rinsing with lukewarm water for full beneficial effects.
Are Avocados good at night?
Avocados contain both magnesium and tryptophan, the latter of which is the reason why feel sleepy after eating that Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Tryptophan helps release both serotonin and melatonin, two hormones that help in promoting sleep. On the other hand, magnesium is an element that has been proven to help improve sleep quality.
Of course, one should not overdo it when eating avocados so as to not put too much a strain on the digestive system as you sleep. What you eat along with the avocados, such as chips or even a soda, can negate the positive effects that avocados can provide in relation to good quality of sleep.
Why is avocado bad for blood type O?
Some people believe that your blood type has a direct effect on what types of food are good or bad for you. While research is still inconclusive as of this moment, many try to adhere to the recommended diet based on blood type and have reported positive effects.
For those with the O blood type, avocados should be avoided. As Type O humans are advised to have a high protein diet, avocados are not recommended due to their high-fat content. It is said that this may cause digestive problems, especially when avocados and other restricted foods are introduced into the body on a regular basis.
Of course, you should take the blood type diet with a grain of salt as its effectiveness in helping you lose weight and prevent diseases that have not been proven scientifically yet. It is still best to seek the advice of a nutritionist to know if eating avocados will do you harm.
Is Avocado an anti-inflammatory?
Inflammation can be caused by different conditions and foods. Avocados can help counteract these effects due to their high monounsaturated fat content. Avocados also contain antioxidants that have been proven to help reduce inflammation. These antioxidants include vitamins A, B, C, and E. These fruits are also low in sodium, which causes water retention and actually promotes swelling.
As such, the addition of avocados into your diet is recommended is for those who want to reduce chronic inflammation that can cause diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and others further down the line. It can help reduce the symptoms caused by these conditions.
Does avocado cause kidney stones?
Some experts agree that avocados do more harm than good when it comes to kidney stones. This is due to their high potassium content, which should be properly regulated if you have some sort of kidney disease.
However, for those with relatively healthy kidneys, eating avocados does not yield any negative effects. In fact, avocados are considered as low oxalate foods and are low in salt.
These types of food help in preventing kidney stones as oxalates and salt are the two main culprits in the formation of stones in the kidneys. Of course, staying within the recommended servings as well as eating a healthy diet are still advised for good kidney health.