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.
Also ahead is how avocado helps high blood pressure and constipation, why it’s beneficial as a arthritis treatment, important for pregnant women and has even been shown in studies to help you live a longer and healthier life.
Here’s a list of the top 10 benefits of eating avocados and just why they are considered so good for you.
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 LDL cholesterol in the blood at the same time as increasing the more beneficial HDL cholesterol.
As well as lowering LDL cholesterol, studies like this have found eating avocado can also decrease high blood triglyceride levels, another common predictor of cardiovascular problems.
That eating a high fat food like avocado can actually lower the amount of fat in your blood clearly shows that all fats are not equal. It’s important to get enough of the right ones if you value your health and, as you’ll see ahead, doing so can have many benefits for losing weight, improving your skin and much more.
If you’d like to increase your intake of monounsaturated fats, while reducing polyunsaturates, then replace damaging vegetable oils with a good cold-pressed avocado oil like this. UK readers can also find the fair trade and organic avocado oil I use here.
Avocado oil is an excellent cooking oil, much healthier than polyunsaturated vegetable oil and even better than olive oil, particularly for high-temperature frying.
Aside from their beneficial monounsaturated fats, avocados also contain a rich variety of other heart-healthy nutrients.
The high levels of vitamin E in avocado help 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.
This wonder fruit even contains phytosterols for reducing cholesterol absorption, as well as significant amounts of dietary fiber. The fiber content of avocados moderates blood sugar levels, guards against both cardiovascular problems and diabetes, and helps prevent constipation.
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.
Avocados are 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.
Aside from healthy blood pressure, the oleic acid and dietary fiber in avocados help normalize blood sugar levels, providing further benefits for heart health and lowering the risk of diabetes.
3. Cancer Prevention
Avocados are 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 free radical 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.
Avocados 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.
Once again, the natural tocopherol and tocotrienol form of vitamin E found in avocados is much healthier than the isolated alpha-tocopherol found in multivitamins.
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.
These omega-9 fats are known to assist in reducing skin redness and irritation and are involved in repairing damaged skin cells. A good dietary intake of monounsaturated fat can moderate sebum production as well, which helps control acne, blackheads and excessively oily skin.
Avocado benefits also include protecting your skin from wrinkles and other visible signs of aging with its antioxidant carotenoids; vitamin E which helps guard against photo-aging from sun exposure; and vitamin C which is involved in the creation of elastin and collagen for maintaining your skin’s elasticity and firmness.
There’s much more detail on just how good avocado is for your skin here and why it’s such a beneficial food to eat for a healthy appearance.
5. Avocado for Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease reaching epidemic proportions and there are believed to be a significant number of undiagnosed sufferers. If the rate of new cases continues it will put a huge strain on the medical system and our ability to treat people with the disease.
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.
If you’re experiencing any of these issues regularly then please see your doctor for a simple diabetes test.
For those already living with diabetes, the oleic acid in avocado is especially recommended for its ability to lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol while raising the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Keeping cholesterol levels in check is vital for diabetics as they have a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
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.
Other health benefits of avocado that can help with diabetes include its vitamin C for strengthening blood vessels and capillaries and improving immune function.
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 avocados are another important nutritional factor for diabetics due to the minerals role in maintaining a healthy heart and regulating blood sugar.
All in all, avocados are a very healthy food for those living with diabetes and for people wishing to lower their risk of developing the disease.
Even if you don’t suffer from it, it’s well worth reading this page on the 5 Most Important Natural Health Tips for Diabetics to avoid becoming one of the more than 50 million people in America with pre-diabetes.
6. Arthritis Treatment
Osteoarthritis is a painful condition characterised 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.
Avocados contain 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.
Pineapple, with it’s anti-inflammatory bromelain and rich antioxidant content, is another exceptional food for arthritis sufferers and many notice a reduction in arthritic pain when they eat it regularly.
7. Benefits of Avocado for and 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.
Avocados contain around 45 mcg of folate per half a cup, which is more than any other fruit, making them a great food source for moms to be.
Vitamin K is another valuable nutrient found in high concentrations in avocados that benefit women during pregnancy and their future babies.
Vitamin K deficiency-related bleeding, or VKDB, is a condition where newborn babies cannot stop bleeding as their blood doesn’t contain enough vitamin K. Getting more high vitamin K foods in your diet during pregnancy can help pass more of it onto your unborn child.
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. In fact, avocados are often recommended as a mild laxative for people having trouble going to the toilet.
If you’ve been having problems with elimination, whether constipation or diarrhea, then getting more fiber-rich foods like avocados can definitely help keep you regular.
The fiber in avocados isn’t just good for constipation either, it also helps lower your risk of colon cancer and can even assist in losing weight by making you feel more full and wanting to eat less.
9. Avocado Benefits for Weight Loss
Many people would 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 eating an avocado is one of the reasons they are so good at reducing hunger and appetite.
It’s also why including more foods in your diet that are high in healthy fats and less with processed carbohydrates makes such a big difference when you want to lose weight.
This may go against old nutritional advice but look where that has gotten us. People eat low-fat versions of just about everything these days, yet we are more overweight than at any time in history.
Counting calories, limiting fat intake and starving yourself has failed most people and will continue to do so. Only by eating more fat burning foods and generally going against the majority of what we’ve been taught about dieting is there a real chance at significant weight loss.
The great part about eating like this is you don’t have to go hungry to lose weight. It’s not about eating less food but rather eating the right kind of meals that tell your body to burn fat rather than store it.
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. Plus they also had a more dietary fiber and healthy fats with a lower overall intake of sugar.
This improved nutritional intake resulted in a significantly lower body weight, body mass index and waist circumference in those that ate avocados. Good to know for those interested in using avocados to lose weight.
There was also a 50% lower ratio of metabolic disease, a strong precursor to diabetes and heart disease, in the group that enjoyed avocados regularly.
The researchers concluded that: “Avocado consumption is associated with improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.” That’s a science backed recommendation to eat avocados more often for a slimmer waistline, a lower risk of metabolic disease and better overall health.