Why You Should Eat More Avocados: 10 Health Benefits

By Lisa Franchi on April 26, 2013

Many people think that avocado is not healthy because it’s fatty and it’s full of calories. Some also fear that regular consumption of avocado may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. Turns out, all these claims are not true. As a matter of fact, avocado is considered one of the healthiest fruits in the world. Although avocados are high in calories, these are nutrient-dense fruits. And yes, it’s fatty. But the fats present in it are monounsaturated fats and omega-3s which are all good for – guess what – your heart! Well, the role of avocado in improving your health does not just end here. This amazing fruit has a lot more to offer!

Major Benefits of Avocado

1.     It’s definitely good for your heart.

As mentioned, avocados have high levels of monounsaturated fats (which you can also get from olive oil and other fruits and vegetables). These fats are clinically proven to lower bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol. The fruit also contains vitamin B6 and natural folic acid which regulate the production of homocysteine. High levels of this protein are a threat to heart health. Avocado is also a natural source of vitamin E and master antioxidant glutathione that are all known as major heart boosters.

Here’s another benefit of eating avocado: it has 30 per cent more potassium than banana which plays a critical role in regulating your blood pressure.

2.     It makes you look and feel younger.

Avocados has considerable amount of glutathione – the master antioxidant which is responsible for regulating other antioxidants in the body. Glutathione eliminates toxins and free radicals that cause cell damage. As a result, you get fairer and glowing skin, fewer wrinkles, and a firmer body.

3.     It improves digestion.

Upset stomach? That’s another reason why you should include avocado in your diet. The fruit contains nutrients and enzymes that prevent inflammation in the gut, particularly in the mucus lining of the small intestine. Aside from promoting digestion, the anti-inflammatory properties of avocado also enhances the body’s ability to absorb carotenoids and other nutrients.

4.     It helps regulate your blood sugar levels.

Inconsistent blood sugar levels are a major predictor of diabetes. The monounsaturated fats in avocado have the ability to prevent and even reverse insulin resistance which marks the onset of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, avocados contain significant amount of soluble fibre which are clinically proven to thwart blood sugar spikes.

5.     It shields you from cancer.

This fruit also offers benefits to people suffering from cancer. A 2012 study conducted in Mexico suggests that avocado fats may serve as a weapon against chronic diseases, including cancer.

6.     It promotes healthy pregnancy.

Avocado is a rich source of folic acid – a nutrient that plays a crucial role in foetal development. Although folate can be taken in a drug form, health experts discourage using synthetically extracted folic acid because of its potential side effects. So if you’re pregnant and you’ve been advised to take folic acid, make sure you have plenty of avocados in your refrigerator.

7.     It scrapes off your fats.

Avocado contains a type of carbohydrate that has a substantial effect on weight loss – mannoheptulose. It is a natural form of sugar which has been found to lower insulin secretion. So how does this affect weight loss? Many people don’t know that insulin resistance is one of the prevailing causes of obesity. When the cells become resistant to insulin, the body has no other choice but to store it as fats. In the study by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, avocado eaters have about 7.4 pounds less weight and lower BMIs than non avocado eaters. Another substance, called oleic acid, has the ability to suppress appetite. Its fibre and protein contents also add to its weight loss effects.

8.     It makes your vision clearer.

You may have heard about the carotenoid leutein – an antioxidant that has beneficial effects to your eyes. Avocado can provide you a generous supply of lutein which protects your eyes from oxidative stress – a condition that usually leads to macular degeneration, cataract, and poor eyesight.

9.     It suppresses inflammation.

A growing body of research suggests that inflammation is a major factor in most kinds of chronic illnesses, from heart disease to diabetes, mental disorder and cancer. Apart from the anti-inflammatory effects of the monounsaturated fats, avocados also contain phytonutrients polyphenols and flavonoids that have the ability to suppress inflammation.

10.   It boosts brain health.

Avocado benefits your brain just as it benefits your body. According to Dr. Daniel G. Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, avocado is among the best foods for brain health, and has the ability to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The nutrient responsible for this benefit is folate, which helps prevent the formation of brain tangles that are considered a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.

Avocados may not be the answer to all your health needs but it definitely offers a gift of wellness. Aside from eating it raw, there are other ways to enjoy this super food. Make a guacamole or a refreshing avocado shake, add some in your salad or yoghurt, or make it a meat replacement for your sandwich. Yum!

 

Dear Readers,

What other health benefits of avocado can you add to this list?

Share your insights by posting a comment below.

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