We all want to look young and healthy forever. But that’s against nature, so we will age at some point. However, there are also several ways to delay ageing. That’s why we have several anti-ageing supplements on the market. And whatever, you use, the goal is the same; delaying ageing. One of the most underrated anti-ageing remedies is found on your plate. Food contains various compounds that ensure healthy ageing. That’s why you must eat foods like avocados for healthy ageing.
Many studies are proving that compounds in food can help you age well. However, ageing is not only about outer looks. The process is more than a few wrinkles on your skin. It is more than your looks, ageing starts from deep within. It starts in your young toddler body and grows with you. That’s why a healthy diet is important as you grow. Because it helps minimise the damage that occurs throughout your life.
Avocados are of importance to healthy ageing because they can help with:
- Weight loss plans
- Protection of DNA from damage
- Protective effects on osteoarthritis
- Anti-cancer properties
- Anti-apoptosis properties
- Prevention and alleviation of glaucoma
- Improve skin health
- Improving eye health
- Reducing risks of metabolic syndrome
- Reducing risks of cardiovascular diseases
- Improving your cognitive function
Also read: Avocado nutrition facts and health benefits
Eating avocados for healthy ageing: the benefits
1. Weight loss
As we age we may start gaining weight.This is because our metabolism slows down in old age. Our body composition also changes as we start losing muscle mass. At the same time, we also start gaining fat mass.
Eating avocados regularly may assist in weight loss. And yes, this statement opposes the general perception that eating fat-rich foods causes weight gain. The perception also says that eating a low-fat diet helps in weight loss and weight management.
Strong evidence suggests that a low energy density diet is good for weight loss and maintenance. Also, eating more fruits and vegetables lowers dietary energy density. This results in better weight management. You can also use a moderate-fat diet in your weight loss plan.
Avocados have medium energy density. Furthermore, they also have viscous water, dietary fibre and an oil matrix. These properties give the fruit a higher satiating power. Which means you can reduce hunger pangs and meal frequency. So, like other fruits, a moderate intake of avocados is good for weight loss.
Monounsaturated fatty acids foods offer protection from abdominal fat accumulation. They can also protect against diabetes-related complications. Since avocados are rich in these fatty acids, they can offer protective effects. Therefore an avocado rich diet may help improve weight management as you age.
2. Protects your tissues from DNA damage
Eating avocados can help protect you from DNA damage and associated risks. This is because avocados are rich in xanthophylls. Xanthophylls are the main carotenoids in avocados. And they also have a lot of health benefits.
Eating avocados regularly provides you with the xanthophylls; lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. These compounds have antioxidant effects. They also have DNA protective effects. And this gives avocados healthy ageing protective effects.
Several studies show that xanthophylls reduce oxidative DNA damage in our bodies. They protect DNA from both visible and ionising radiation. The radiation can cause fatal irreversible damage if left unchecked.
Other benefits of avocado xanthophylls in our bodies include:
- Protection of lipids from damage via peroxidation.
- Also, protect chromosomes from ionising radiation.
- Prevent DNA breaks and damage
Several, scholars have suggested that the intake of xanthophylls decrease with age. This means we will have less than we need in our bodies. As a result, their protective effects will also disappear. However, avocados are a rich source of these compounds. The more reason you should eat avocados for healthy ageing.
3. Protective effects on osteoarthritis
Eating avocados regularly may have protective effects on osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a common problem in the elderly. This disease is associated with the progressive deterioration of joint cartilage function. Sometimes, it results in the impairment of the joints. Osteoarthritis is triggered by oxidative and inflammatory stress in the elderly or obese.
Eating fruits and vegetables rich in lutein and zeaxanthin help in reducing the risks of cartilage defects. Avocadoes are rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. These compounds help in combating inflammatory and oxidative damage to the joints. Some of the compounds also have analgesic activities. Therefore, they may help in reducing arthritic pain.
Some compounds in avocados help in facilitating the repair of your cartilage. And also improve the health of the joint cartilage.
In other words, just make avocados parts of your regular diet. This may help you with your osteoarthritic condition. Or help in protecting you from developing this condition.
4. Avocados for eye health
Avocados are rich in several carotenoids. And carotenoids are good for eye health.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the main carotenoids in avocados. These compounds are very important for your eye health. It is reported that the intake of the 2 compounds decreases as we age. The levels are lower in females than males.
A low dietary and plasma concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin is not good for your eyes. It is associated with age-related eyesight problems.
Avocados are also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids protect us from age-related eye dysfunction. This is because fatty foods improve our absorption of fat-soluble compounds like carotenoids. In addition, avocados are a good source of Vitamin A precursor carotenoids. And vitamin A is very important for healthy eyesight. So, eating avocados regularly may help improve your eyesight as you age.
5. Skin health
We all love healthy flawless skin. However, as we age the skin starts losing its lustre. It becomes old wrinkled and unattractive. UV radiation from the sun is the main culprit. The radiation damages the skin, especially facial skin. As a result, the skin looks old and wrinkled.
Topical application of avocado extracts is recommended for skin health. Carotenoids in avocados and other foods help in protecting and fighting this damage.
The amount of carotenoids on your skin directly relates to your fruit and vegetable intake. The higher the concentration of these carotenoids, the higher the protection.
Lutein and zeaxanthin protect the skin from both visible and UV radiation. Topically applying lutein or orally taking it, provides a photoprotection activity on your skin. Avocados are also rich in healthy fats. And a higher total fat intake improves your skin elasticity. Also, improving the intake of yellow/orange vegetables improves your carotenoid content. This helps in reducing skin wrinkles.
Also, eating avocados is associated with improved wound healing properties.
6. Avocados for healthy ageing: Beneficial cancer protection
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Even the technological advancement in modern medicine has failed to deal with this modern killer. Carotenoids, terpenoids, D mannoheptulose, persenones (A and B), phenols and glutathione are compounds found in avocados. And they are associated with anticancer activities.
Glutathione is a very powerful antioxidant. Our ability to synthesise glutathione decrease with age. Which leaves the diet as the main source of glutathione.
Avocados have a glutathione content several-fold higher than other fruits. And increasing your glutathione intake reduces associated cancer risks. This includes risks of getting pharyngeal and oral cancers.
Plasma lutein and total xanthophylls improve oxidative stress protection in cancer patients. Avocados are a rich source of these compounds which also have antiulcer activities. This helps in reducing the risks of getting gastric cancer.
Lutein is a powerful antioxidant that also plays a part in fighting oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a potential trigger for breast cancer. Also, avocado lipid extracts have antiproliferative and antitumor effects on prostate cancer.
So avocados can help you reduce cancer risks as you age.
7. Avocados reduce the risks of metabolic syndrome and improve diet quality.
Regularly eating avocados improves your diet quality and nutrient intake. Avocados are a healthy and excellent nutrient source. They are good sources of healthy fatty acids, dietary fibre and antioxidant vitamins. They are also rich in potassium and magnesium. Regular consumers have a higher intake of all these nutrients.
Also read: Avocados cause bloating: Why
One study also shows that regular avocado consumers have a low intake of added sugars. Their plasma HDL cholesterol is also higher. Which is good since HDL cholesterol is good for cardiovascular health. People who include avocados in their diet also have a lower metabolic syndrome risk.
Therefore, avocados can help you improve your diet as you age. They are also good if you want to improve your nutrient intake. This helps in reducing the risks of metabolic syndrome, heart diseases and inflammation! So, let’s eat avocados for healthy ageing!
8. Avocados for healthy ageing: Improving cognitive function
The avocado carotenoids; zeaxanthin and lutein are important for cognitive health. These compounds are important in improving cognitive function in the elderly. This is because they have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities.
Eating avocados regularly improves your body’s lutein status. This also improves your macular pigment density. A higher macular pigment density is associated with improved cognitive performance. Macular pigment is generated when lutein and zeaxanthin are accumulated in neural tissue.
Luein and Zeazanthin content
Eating avocados improves your lutein and HDL cholesterol content. But it also lowers your total triglyceride and LDL cholesterol content. This case results in the enrichment of lutein in HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol carries lutein and zeaxanthin through the blood-brain barrier.
High lutein content in neural tissues improves visual function and health. It improves our ability to filter blue light in the macular region. And this helps protect the eye from the associated damage. Higher lutein content also improves cognitive test scores in the elderly.
Boosting your lutein intake also improves the progression of age-related macular degeneration. These problems usually result in blindness. It also reduces the risks of age-related cognitive decline. Adequate lutein helps in boosting memory retention, movement, brain response time and brainpower in the elderly. It also improves their verbal fluency.
Yes, lutein is awesome! But there is one single problem! Lutein intakes are lower in the elderly owing mostly to poor nutrition. However, avocados are a good source of highly bioavailable lutein. So, this is another reason to eat avocados for healthy ageing.
9. Avocados for healthy ageing in glaucoma
Including avocados in your regular diet plan may help protect you from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a multifactorial neurodegenerative disease. It is mainly caused by the impaired functioning of mitochondria. Treatment of such diseases is very difficult. However, diets containing coenzyme Q help in improving the condition. This is because they can boost cellular energy production and regulation.
Avocado is a good source of the nutraceutical coenzyme Q. So, if you eat enough avocados regularly, you will have adequate coenzyme Q. Adequate cellular coenzyme Q improves resistance to oxidative stress. It also improves protection from oxidative damage. Coenzyme Q preserves mitochondria and reduces apoptosis of nerve cells. Which is what we need in glaucoma treatment.
Adequate coenzyme Q may limit the occurrence and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. And avocados contain highly absorbable coenzyme Q.
So, in brief, oxidative stress damages mitochondria. And this results in a lack of energy in neural/ nervous tissues. The cells in these tissues are then tagged for apoptosis (programmed cell death). This then leads to the destruction of nerve cells and glaucoma. And coenzyme Q helps prevent this. So, avocados can be your regular source of coenzyme Q.
10. Reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. These are healthy fats that are good for heart health. Monounsaturated fatty acids help lower LDL cholesterol and total triglyceride in plasma. These compounds play a critical part in the development of cardiovascular diseases.
Avocados are also rich sources of anthocyanins. Foods rich in anthocyanins provide a simple effective way to control cardiovascular problems. These problems include:
- Cardiovascular risks
- Cardiovascular ageing
Anthocyanins exert favourable effects on several components of heart health. These include:
- Endothelial function
- Oxidative stress
- Arteriole stiffness
Avocados are one of the good sources of anthocyanins. However, the richest sources are red, purple, blue and black coloured fruits and vegetables. That’s one more reason for eating avocados for healthy ageing. A healthy heart is paramount to healthy ageing.
11. Protection from apoptosis; avocados for healthy ageing
Apoptosis is the process by which cells in your body undergo programmed cell death. This usually occurs to damaged/compromised cells tagged for destruction. Now, this is a very helpful process in the body. It helps the body deal with damaged, infected, compromised and older cells. However, the problem starts when it occurs in nerve cells. It’s a problem because nerve cells cannot divide anymore. This means if you lose even one neurone, there is no replacement. So maintaining a healthy viable neurone population in the brain is very important.
Apoptosis plays a part in the initiation, propagation and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. It also plays a part in the development of cardiovascular diseases. If apoptosis occurs on brain neurones, the brain’s function and structure deteriorate. This results in most of the neurodegenerative diseases we know.
Carotenoids help in the alleviation of apoptosis risks as we age. These compounds as antioxidants that block the process that triggers apoptosis. They neutralise the damaging oxidative processes that trigger apoptosis.
In short, unhealthy diets, radiation and other harmful processes damage mitochondria. This leads to impaired energy production in the cell. As a result, the cell is tagged for apoptosis.
However, adequate dietary carotenoids help reduce these damaging processes. Avocados can help boost dietary carotenoid intake in the elderly. And therefore they can help prevent apoptosis. As apoptosis triggers different neurodegenerative diseases.
Avocados are rich in fat content. Overeating them will make you gain weight without a doubt. However, I always say, “never eat too much of any food”. This is because too much of any food is harmful. If avocados are eaten correctly, they can be healthy food. In that case, eating avocados for healthy ageing becomes rewarding. However, let’s also understand that a balanced diet is a key to reaching any nutritional goal.