(WellnessNova.com) - The avocado is a fruit native to South Central Mexico. They’re commercially valued and cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world.
Most people are well aware that avocados are one of nature’s healthiest foods, which is why they’ve gone from being known as the main ingredient in guacamole to a sensational superfood to put in and on just about everything.
Although they have a high fat content, they’re nutrient all-stars, with a great source of potassium, omega-3 fatty acids and lutein. They also contain a good amount of soluble and insoluble fiber.
A rather unique type of fruit, numerous studies have shown the powerful health benefits they (and their oil) have. Here are 10 to take note of:
1. They’re Incredibly Nutritious
- Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.
- Folate: 20% of the RDA.
- Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 14% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.
Small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin) are also present. Furthermore, this is coming with 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Of the 9 grams of carbs it contains, 7 of them are fiber, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.
Not only are avocados low in saturated fat, but they don’t contain any cholesterol or sodium.
2. They Have More Potassium Than Bananas
Potassium helps maintain electrical gradients in the body’s cells and serves a variety of important functions. While bananas are often touted as being the go-to fruit for getting a healthy dose of this nutrient, avocados are actually higher in potassium, with a 100 gram serving containing 14 percent of the RDA, whereas bananas contain 10 percent of the RDA.
Studies show that having a high potassium intake leads to reduced blood pressure, which is a serious risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
3. They’re Chock-Full Of Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
There used to be a common assumption that all fat is bad, and makes you overweight and unhealthy, so with the knowledge that avocados are a high fat food, they were once not so popular in health circles. But we’ve now come to understand that not all fat is created equal. So while 77 percent of the calories in avocados are from fat, making them one of the fattiest plant foods in existence, the majority of that fat is oleic acid. This is a monounsaturated fatty acid linked to reduced inflammation, and has been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer ( 8, 9, 10).
4. They Absorb Other Nutrients
Another benefit of avocados’ high fat content is that they can easily absorb fat solubles like vitamins A, K, D, and E. This means that adding the fruit to any vegetable-dense meal will help you to get all of the vitamins of your food. One study even discovered that adding avocado or avocado oil to either a salad or salsa can boost antioxidant absorption.
5. They’re Loaded With Fiber
You may often see products marketed as having high fiber content, and with good reason. The indigestible plant matter contributes to weight loss, reduces blood sugar spikes, and is strongly linked to a lowered risk of various diseases (11, 12, 13).
About 25 percent of the fiber in avocado is soluble, which is the kind that is able to feed the friendly gut bacteria in the intestine—necessary for optimal function of our bodies. The other 75 percent of the fiber in avocados is insoluble.
6. They Promote Heart Health
With heart disease being the most common cause of death in the world, it’s incredibly important to know what contributes to poor and positive heart health. Cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood pressure are among some of the blood markers linked to an increased risk of the potentially fatal disease.
Various studies have shown the effects of avocado on some of these risk factors, with one group being instructed to eat avocados, while the other was not. The researchers of these studies discovered how blood markers were affected over time, finding that avocados can (17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23):
- Significantly lower total cholesterol levels.
- Lower blood triglycerides by up to 20 percent.
- Reduce LDL cholesterol levels by up to 22 percent.
- Increase HDL (also known as “the good” cholesterol) levels by up to 11 percent.
7. They Promote Weight Loss
As mentioned previously, avocados are rich in fiber, which works to help you feel full faster and longer.
“Additionally, 75 percent of the fat in an avocado is unsaturated, which makes it a great substitute for foods high in saturated fat plus the oleic acid, one of the unsaturated fatty acids, may help to activate the satiety center in your brain that makes you feel full,” explained Marci Clow, an MS, RDN at Rainbow Light.
Some studies seem to agree. In one, people were split into two groups, with one being instructed to eat a meal that contained avocado, and the other a similar meal without avocado. When asked a series of questions related to hunger and satiety, the people eating the avocado claimed to feel 23 percent more satisfied, and had a 28 percent lower desire to eat over the next five hours.
8. People Who Eat Them Are Typically Healthier
In a day and age where so many things seem to be working against our health, it’s nice to know when something is actually helping us, especially when that thing happens to be a delectably rich, creamy and smooth food. Research has found just how beneficial consuming avocados is for your health, with one study looking at the dietary habits and health of people who ate them regularly, finding they were much healthier than those who didn’t eat the fruit. Avocado consumers had a much higher nutrient intake and were half as likely to have metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes.
Linking this back to the weight loss advantage, people who ate avocados in this particular study weighed less, had a lower BMI and significantly less belly fat than those who didn’t eat them.
9. They Detoxify The Body
The oil from avocado is rich in chlorophyll, which is a natural source of extremely healthy magnesium—one of the best-known natural substances for removing heavy metals from vital organs like the liver, kidneys and brain. Every molecule of chlorophyll contains a magnesium ion that’s released when it comes into contact with an acidic environment like the inside of the human body. Without the magnesium, the incomplete chlorophyll molecule attracts other metal ions in order to fill the space, and when it comes into contact with one, chlorophyll binds the metal ion to itself. This makes the previously toxic element harmless—eventually passing out of the body through the bowels.
10. Avocado Oil Accelerates Wound Healing
The oil from avocados is known to help the body grow healthier and stronger skin, but not many people know it can also speed up the healing process of wounds as well. Whether it be a cut, scrape, burn, raw skin from blisters or rashes, sunburn, bug bites and stings, or other wounds, putting a drop or two of avocado oil on the cleansed area will promote the wound to knit up faster and with less chance of scarring.