Avocados are considered one of the world’s best foods.
They contain more than 25 essential nutrients, such as vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, as well as copper, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, fiber, protein, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids), folate and several other beneficial elements.
The avocado, also called the alligator pear, has a long list of potential health benefits. When consumed on a regular basis, avocados can protect you from various diseases and keep your body and mind healthy for years to come.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of avocados.
1. Nourishes the Skin
Avocados can improve your skin tone as the essential monounsaturated fats in the fruit help the epidermal layer of your skin retain moisture.
Avocado oil works great as a natural skin moisturizer. It also can help treat several skin conditions including dry skin, psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, wounds, age spots, scars and sun damage.
Also, the omega fats present in avocados help reduce skin redness and irritation and promote the body’s natural process of repairing damaged cells.
Regular use of avocado also will reduce signs of aging and improve the production of collagen, which maintains your skin’s elasticity and firmness.
2. Promotes Brain Health
Health experts consider avocados one of the top brain-healthy foods due to its high content of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
Omega-3 fatty acids keep your brain healthy by improving the blood supply to the pre-frontal cortex, the front part of the brain responsible for critical thinking, behavior, decision making, and planning.
The vitamin E has been clinically proven to prevent Alzheimer’s from progressing and even reversing symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s would benefit from eating an avocado daily.
3. Boosts Heart Health
Studies show that people who eat avocados, which are rich in nutrients that boost heart health, have a much lower incidence of heart disease than those who don’t.
Avocados contain vitamin E that prevents cholesterol oxidization, folate that helps reduce dangerous homocysteine levels in the blood, potassium that helps regulate blood pressure, and phytosterols that reduce cholesterol absorption. The monounsaturated fat content also reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and improves overall blood lipid levels.
4. Backents Birth Defects
The high folate or folic acid content in avocados can protect your unborn baby. Just one cup of avocado provides almost one-third of the recommended dose of folic acid for pregnant women.
Folic acid, a B vitamin, is a key prenatal nutrient that helps the brain and other vital organs develop in the fetus. It is also essential in preventing birth defects, such as neural tube defect and spina bifida.
5. Backents Arthritis
Avocados have an abundance of anti-inflammatory agents that help prevent or reduce inflammation that leads to arthritis. These include high levels of phytosterols and a variety of carotenoids.
The phytosterols are in the fat content. The highest content of the carotenoids is in the darker part of the fruit that sits closest to the skin, so be sure to eat that part too.
In a more concentrated form, avocado oil is said to be particularly good as an arthritis treatment when consumed regularly. You can substitute avocado oil for olive oil in many recipes including pesto and vinaigrettes, or use it to dip bread in.
6. Protects Against Cancer
Avocados can help prevent the occurrence of cancers in the mouth, skin, and prostate gland. The anti-cancer properties in avocados are related to its unusual mix of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients.
In healthy cells, these properties improve inflammatory and oxidative stress levels. But in cancer cells, they increase oxidative stress and shift the cancer cells into a programmed cell death cycle (apoptosis) to reduce the number of cancer cells. Also, the oleic acid in avocado is effective in preventing breast cancer.
7. Regulates Blood Sugar
The monounsaturated fats in avocados can improve your cholesterol profile and prevent or reverse insulin resistance, which is a major contributing factor in type 2 diabetes.
The high amount of soluble fiber in avocados also helps improve blood glucose control. Avocados also contain oleic acid that has a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity. Plus, avocado is a low glycemic index food. Do not eat this fruit in excess, though. Also, do not eat overripe avocados.
8. Helps with Digestion
Avocados have vitamin B-complex that helps release digestive enzymes used in the digestive process. Also, avocado improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients which is an essential function of the digestion process.
As avocados are considered an alkaline food, it balances the pH levels of the body and helps with conditions such as acid reflux and ulcers.
9. Helps with Weight Loss
Although avocados are high in fat and calories, they are still considered good for weight loss. The monounsaturated fat in avocados is one of the ‘good’ fats that will help satisfy your hunger and make you feel full so you eat less overall. Many other types of fat are bad for your health and can take longer to burn off.
Avocados are also high in L-carnitine, an amino acid used in metabolizing fat. They also have good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which your body needs to keep its digestive system running smoothly. Eating foods rich in fiber is also effective for weight loss.
10. Promotes Eye Health
Avocados also help in maintaining healthy eyesight. Avocados are rich with carotenoid lutein, an antioxidant that protects the eyes from oxidative stress damage leading to cataracts and macular degeneration, which are usually age-related.
Also, the vitamin E in avocados helps protect the eyes against retinopathy, a condition caused by damage to the retina.
Now that you know the health benefits of avocados, it is time to start thinking of including them in your diet. You can add them to salads, sandwiches and dips or eat them plain.