Avocado has been maligned as a vital dietary fruit in the past because of its high fat content. Recently, however, studies have begun to prove that avocado’s healthy fats are actually essential in promoting overall health and wellness as well as being beneficial in the treatment of several critical health conditions. In this article we’re going to look at 10 long-term avocado benefits for everyone, especially those susceptible to particular diseases.
What Is the Avocado?
Avocados are a fruit originating from Mexico, Central, and South America. Called aguacate by Spanish speaking people, their Nahuatl native name of āhuacatl was mispronounced by Europeans to create the name which they are known by today.
They are a pear-shaped fruit, which, depending upon the variety, range in size from an extra large egg to that of a grape fruit. Avocados have a thick, green or black outer shell or peel and contain a large pit in the center. When ripe, the greenish-yellow flesh of the avocado is similar in consistency to a papaya.
How Are Avocados Prepared?
Avocados are often cut in half or in quarters to remove the pit. You can also either remove the peel or scoop out the pulp with a teaspoon or spoon. They’re served in any number of ways in salads, on sandwiches or as a side dish. Their most common use in the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico is to make a sauce known as guacamole.
Nutritional Content of Avocados
In spite of their high fat, carbohydrate and calorie content, avocados are full of plenty beneficial nutrients. They are especially famous for their fiber content. Some studies also show that the fat content in avocados is a combination of healthy monounsaturated fats that are extremely essential to maintaining optimal health.
Besides their fat and fiber content, avocado benefits include antioxidant phytochemicals such as beta-sitosterol, glutathione and lutein. They also include phytonutrients, polyphenols and flavonoids, which are treasured for tissue and cellular regeneration. In short, these fruits pack a powerful punch, below are 10 long-term benefits to show you what they do.
10 Long-term Avocado Benefits for Everyone: Healthy Fats All the Way
Helps Absorb Nutrients
Firstly, one of the greatest avocado benefits comes from the fats contained in it. Studies show those fats helpful with the absorption of several essential nutrients (according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition).
The polyphenols and flavonoids present in avocados have a significant impact on conditions coming from inflammation. An Italian study reveals that avocado benefits those suffering from inflammatory conditions.
Improves Heart Health
The monounsaturated fats, potassium, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients found in this powerful fruit add to the list of avocado benefits by lowering blood pressure. According to a study conducted in Mexico, this also improves cholesterol and triglycerides levels.
A Loma Linda University study adds contributing to weight loss as another among the many proven avocado benefits. This is mainly due to the fiber content in it. This marks its ability to regulate insulin resistance. Furthermore, avocado reduces cravings due to nutritional deficiencies.
Better Eye Health
Better eye health is another item on the list of avocado benefits that are extremely important. An Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science article details a connection to the compounds lutein and zeaxanthin. Their findings show they are essential in preventing macular degeneration and cataracts. Avocados contain both these compounds.
There are numerous studies which show that consuming avocado benefits those who are susceptible to prostate, oral, and/or breast cancer. In fact, one study from Ohio State University claims that the
phytochemicals in avocados are so powerful that they could prevent the use of chemotherapy in people with oral cancer.
Improved Digestive Health
A Cleveland Clinic study reported in Livestrong adds better digestive health the long list of avocado benefits. Among the nutrients they list in the study are fiber, vitamins, minerals, and the monounsaturated fats. These are responsible for promoting better metabolizing of foods.
Mood and Cognitive Function Improvement
According to studies in Spain, higher fat diets can lead to a reduction in depression and an increase in cognitive function, adding just one more item to the list of avocado benefits to take into consideration.
The healing of wounds and rapid recovery from injuries is just one more of the numerous avocado benefits. Consumption of avocados had a significant impact on improved wound healing according to a study conducted at the University of the West Indies.
Lowers Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
A Nutrition Impact study says that:
…eating avocados helps regulate hormones associated with risk factors for diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases, including insulin, triglycerides and cholesterol.
A Note of Caution
Like with all foods, some people are allergic or have allergic reactions to avocados. Two forms of reactions to avocados are typical: development of local symptoms in the mouth and throat after eating avocado from a tree-pollen allergy or latex-fruit syndrome, which can be life-threatening.
You need to be careful with avocados around your pets. Make certain that you properly dispose of leaves, bark, skin, and pits if you have cats, dogs, cattle, goats, rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, birds, fish, and horses. Definitely do not feed any part of the fruit to livestock, especially horses, as a toxic fatty acid derivative known as persin can cause colic in horses and sever gastric issues in other livestock and pets.
Some dog and cat food manufacturers include oils and meal made from meat of the Guatemalan variety of avocados. Those ingredients in their pet foods are considered safe, but it is best to err on the side of caution concerning raw avocados in your home.
A Final Thought
Don’t allow the fat hype that once maligned avocados turn you away from one of nature’s most powerful super foods. With avocados included in your diet, you’ll reap numerous health benefits, prevent some critical illnesses and you might even cure some that you already have. There are many more avocado benefits that we haven’t put here. Please feel free to share them or comment in the section below on the ones that we have!