Avocados are one of the healthiest whole foods. Even though some may corrupt the wholeness of avocados by adding sugar or salt (a practice I despise by the way), avocados can be useful in boosting your diet quality. The many nutrients in avocados give it a higher nutritional value than many foods. And being a phytochemical-rich fruit makes it a health-boosting fruit. When you add avocados to your diet, you generally improve your diet quality. And also your nutrient intake as well as your intake of healthful phytochemicals. Your diet just becomes healthier. Here are some avocado health benefits for you.
Also read: Avocado leaves: Medicinal and health benefits
Avocado health benefits: Why you need avocados in your diet
Avocados are a heart-healthy fruit
One of the most common avocado health benefits is its effects on your heart. In simple terms, avocados love your heart. Avocados have heart-healthy properties.
A healthy diet with high quantities of fruits and vegetables such as avocados reduces your risk of getting heart disease. This is because fruits and vegetables, including avocados, contain antioxidant compounds and vitamins. And these can help you keep your heart healthier.
Also, avocados contain low sodium content. A high intake of sodium is associated with high blood pressure and other heart-related problems. So, it is essential to eat more foods with low sodium content. This can help you reduce your sodium intake. This is because many people already eat too much sodium in their meals. We have all gotten used to using salt in every meal. And sometimes we unnecessarily use salt, which is not healthy. For example, I have seen people adding salt to avocados a perfect whole food.
Avocados contain healthful phytochemicals that protect your heart
Avocados also contain flavonoids, flavonols, polyphenols and healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. These compounds help in reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress and inflammation play an important part in the development of heart diseases.
Heart healthy fats are good for your heart. Eating avocados regularly is associated with reduced blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. It also reduces the total triglyceride (fats) levels in your body. And eating avocados is also associated with reduced blood levels of oxidative LDL cholesterol. This is a damaging compound that affects the health of your blood vessels.
Eating avocados in a healthy diet also improves your diet quality. This is because adding avocados to your diet improves your nutrient and healthy fats intake. This can help you protect your heart and blood vessels from damage.
Avocado health benefits in terms of the heart come from its healthy fatty acid and phytonutrient profile. Avocados are a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, especially oleic acids. And these fatty acids have heart protective or loving effects.
Avocados help you in managing high blood pressure
Eating avocados as part of a healthy diet can help protect you from hypertension. Additionally, avocados can also help you to manage your blood pressure. A healthy diet low in sodium or salt, containing a variety of foods such as avocados reduces your high blood pressure. A quarter (one serving) of an avocado (50 g) has naturally low in sodium. It only has 2mg of sodium but 255 mg of potassium. And this sodium to potassium ratio is favourable and good for your blood pressure.
So, one of the avocado health benefits is to help you keep a healthy blood pressure.
Eating avocados can help reduce the risks of various cancers
Did you know that cancer causes more deaths in a year than HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and diabetes combined? People are therefore always trying to find better ways to combat cancer. Dietary methods of preventing and arresting cancer development are becoming more popular by the day.
There is a limited number of studies on the benefits of avocados in cancer prevention and management. However, there are a few studies and preclinical trials supporting the cancer-fighting properties of avocados.
Eating avocados can help reduce cancer risks
An important avocado health benefit comes from its potential ability to reduce cancer risks. Avocados contain several bioactive phytonutrients. Many of these phytonutrients such as glutathione, phenols, carotenoids, lignans, neo lignans and terpenoids have anticarcinogenic properties. Carcinogens are cancer-causing compounds.
The phytochemicals in fruits like avocados help fight cancer-causing effects of carcinogens. Phytonutrients in avocados can help in arresting the development of cancers. They do this by neutralising the damage caused by carcinogens on your body tissues. One compound found in avocados is scopoletin. This compound can reduce the toxicity of carcinogens on body cells.
Traditionally leaf decoctions of avocados are used to treat cancer in Nigeria. And avocados are also useful to people on chemotherapy. This is because they help reduce the damaging effects and toxicity of chemotherapy.
In addition, avocados have a glutathione content several times higher than other foods. And intake of good sources of glutathione is linked to a reduced risk of oral and pharyngeal cancers.
Dietary carotenoids like those found in avocados have also been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer.
So, like other healthy fruits and vegetables, one avocado health benefit is its ability to boost your cancer-fighting processes.
Protecting your skin with avocados
Another avocado health benefit is its ability to help you maintain healthy skin. Your skin shows the first visible indications of ageing.
And a regular consumption or topical application of some fruits such as avocados or their extracts improves your skin health.
Avocados are also a good source of carotenoids. Carotenoids can help your body combat oxidative and inflammatory damage on your face. This damage usually happens due to exposure to UV radiation from the sun.
Avocado is also a healthy source of high bioavailable carotenoids which are lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids can help protect you from UV and visible radiation damage. So, one of the most important avocado health benefits is the ability to keep your skin younger looking.
Avocados for better eyesight in avocado health benefits
One of the super avocado health benefits is the ability to help you see better. Avocados as a part of a healthy diet can help you improve
your eyesight! How?
In the eye, there are 2 compounds, lutein and zeaxanthin, that are selectively taken into the macula of the eye. The macula of the eye helps you in focusing light into the lens.
Levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in your eyes can decrease with age. So, eating avocados regularly can be a good way to replenish these compounds in your eyes. This is a good way to reduce the risks of age-related eye disorders and dysfunction as you age. Research also shows that fatty foods like avocados help in the transportation of these critical carotenoids in your body.
Eating avocados regularly improves your diet quality
Eating avocados improves your diet quality. You need to note that avocados are a nutrient-rich food. And if you add them to your regular diet, you also add these nutrients. This also means that your diet becomes healthier.
Avocados may also assist you with nutrients that are usually lacking in most diets. These include some minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients and healthy fats.
By adding avocados to your healthy diet, you improve your intake of several nutrients. These include:
- Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated healthy fatty acids.
- Dietary fibre
- Several vitamins and minerals
- And also healthful phytochemicals like carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin, polyphenols, tannins and phenolic acids.
All these nutrients can help improve your health if eaten regularly. Sometimes your body works well with higher quantities of certain phytochemicals.
And to sum it up, data from NHANES surveys in the United States show that those who eat avocados regularly have higher intakes of certain nutrients. These include dietary fibre, vitamins and healthy fatty acids.
In addition, you need to know that avocados are rich in healthful fats. And the availability of these healthy fats in your diet helps your body absorb fat-soluble components from the whole meal. Research shows that when you eat healthy fatty foods like avocados, your absorption of carotenoids improves.
In other words, avocados can help you improve your nutrient intake. Not only because they are rich in nutrients, but because they make it easier for you to absorb fat-soluble nutrients. So, this is not a lowly avocado health benefit.
Fighting damaging inflammation in avocado health benefits
Inflammation is a normal process in the body. I have seen many people highlight inflammation as some evil process spelling doom for humanity. Our body uses inflammatory responses as part of the healing processes. And I like to think that where there is inflammation, there is an underlying cause. Therefore, that is what we need to deal with.
It is also important to note that chronic inflammation is behind the progression of several chronic diseases. For example, inflammation plays an important part in the development of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers and organ damage.
Chronic inflammation in the joints of older adults causes damage to the joint cartilage. This occurs due to degenerative changes in the joints. And if this happens you may lose the functions and stability of your joints. This leads to the initiation of osteoarthritis and related conditions.
Fruits like avocados contain a lot of healthful phytochemicals. Some of these phytochemicals can help your body fight damaging inflammatory processes. Therefore you can be protected from chronic inflammation.
Avocados can help you regulate blood sugar and prevent diabetes
Avocados are one of the fruits with very low sugar content. And most of the carbohydrates in avocados are indigestible. This means when you eat them, they have a low glycemic load. As a result, there is a very small effect on your blood sugar and insulin levels after eating avocados. So, how does that help my blood sugar or diabetes?
Post meal blood glucose and insulin spikes are not healthy. These spikes usually occur when you eat a diet rich in sugars. And also diets rich in processed and easily digestible carbohydrates as well as sugar-sweetened beverages. And they usually lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. So, whole healthful foods like avocados can help you control your blood sugar levels.
They can also help you control your post-meal blood sugar spikes and levels. Since you don’t have to worry about blood sugar spikes when eating low sugar foods like avocados.
Additionally, avocado seeds and leaves are utilised as herbal medicine to reduce blood sugar levels.
Manage your weight by eating avocados
Research shows that people who eat avocados moderately in a healthy diet are less likely to be obese or overweight. This should be surprising since we all know that avocados are rich in fats. And this makes avocado a high-calorie food which should make people fat. So, why should avocados help in managing weight?
In my research, I discovered that when you eat avocados they increase your feeling of satiety. Think about it, would you eat the same slices of bread if you were to use avocados or margarine as a spread. If you use avocados as a spread you would eat less bread. This is because you get full quicker. And the feeling of being full last long. As a result, you feel hungry less frequently after meals.
In other words, including avocados in your meal may help you manage hunger. And also to reduce your desire to eat. This reduces the overall size of your meals and your meal frequency. Therefore, avocados may help you to eat less. Which is good for weight management. So, weight management is an avocado health benefit.
Conclusion on the avocado health benefits
I love avocados as a healthy food. Avocado health benefits are not exaggerated. Think about it, this is a whole food rich in nutrients and many healthy phytochemicals. This makes avocados a healthy food that offers both nutrients and nutraceuticals. Nutraceuticals are compounds in food with health benefits for your body. However, such compounds may not have a nutritional value. Research has shown that including avocados in your diet improves your diet quality. As a result, your nutrient and nutraceutical intake also improves. And this makes your regular diet containing avocados healthier.