Last Updated December 20th, 2021
What is avocado?
Avocado is a pear-shaped fruit, scientifically names ‘Persea Americana’ and nicknamed alligator pear for its shape and texture. Experts suggest that avocado tree originated in southern Mexico, around 7000 years ago. Avocado is a single-seeded rich creamy fruit. The eatable part of avocado is the greenish-yellow flesh. The seed and skin are not edible, but several medicinal elements are extracted from the seed. The name avocado was originated from Aztec people and originally meant testicle, for its aphrodisiac capabilities.
Avocado is rightly called a ‘super-fruit’ as it is one of the healthiest and most nutritious fruits available today. The considerable health benefits of avocado include improving heart health, helping better digestion, averting cancer, boosting liver health, helping weight management etc. Avocado fruit contains several essential nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals. Avocado is an incredibly nutritious fruit. Adding avocado to your diet is beneficial for your heart, kidney, skin, liver, eyes etc.
Nutrients in avocado
Avocado is rich with nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Each 100gm serving of avocado flesh includes:
• Calories 114
• Dietary fiber 6 g
• Total sugar 0.2 g
• Potassium 345 milligrams (mg)
• Sodium 5.5 mg
• Magnesium 19.5 mg
• Vitamin A 43 micrograms (μg)
• Vitamin E 1.3 mg
• Vitamin K 14 μg
• Vitamin B-6 0.2 mg
• Monounsaturated fatty acids 6.7 g (3)
As per the studies of National health and nutrition examination survey one-half an avocado consists of dietary fiber (4.6 g), total sugar (0.2 g), potassium (345 mg), sodium (5.5 mg), magnesium (19.5 mg), vitamin A (5.0 μg RAE), vitamin C (6.0 mg), vitamin E (1.3 mg), vitamin K1 (14 μg), folate (60 mg), vitamin B-6 (0.2 mg), niacin (1.3 mg), pantothenic acid (1.0 mg), riboflavin (0.1 mg), choline (10 mg), lutein/zeaxanthin (185 μg), cryptoxanthin (18.5 μg), phytosterols (57 mg), and high-monounsaturated fatty acids (6.7 g) and 114 kcals or 1.7 kcal/g.
Avocado is potassium-rich fruit which contains more potassium than in a banana. It also helps to balance the potassium to sodium ratio which is essential for good health. Avocado is a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids.
How can avocado help you?
Improves your heart health
Avocado is potassium-rich. Potassium helps in lowering the blood pressure, thus and avocado diet helps with a healthy heart. Avocado contains monounsaturated fatty acids which help to reduce the cholesterol in the blood and reduces the risks of heart diseases. Avocado is a good source of dietary fiber, which is helpful in preventing heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and overweight. Avocados contain beta-sitosterol, a natural plant sterol which helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Eating avocado will improve overall cardiovascular health.
Fat is an essential nutrient for fertility. Avocado contains monounsaturated fatty acids which prevent Ovulatory Dysfunction. Researches show that people who take an avocado diet are 3.5 times higher likely to prevent infertility. The presence of folate, potassium, and vitamin A in avocado fruit helps with better reproductive health. Pregnant women must include avocado in their diet, as folate helps healthy fetal development.
Skin is subjected to ultraviolet exposure and more prone to oxidative and inflammatory damage. A clinical study found that the concentration of carotenoids in the skin is directly associated with vegetable and fruit consumption. Avocado includes highly bio-available lutein and zeaxanthin which are capable of protecting the skin from dangerous UV rays. Avocado diet helps you with glowing skin. Vitamin C in avocado will help to heal skin inflammation and bolster healthy complexion. Consuming avocado is good for soothing dry skin. Studies suggest that the avocado diet is helpful in collagen production which will reduce the signs of aging.
Improves eye health
Avocado improves your eyesight. Avocado contains nutrients such as beta-carotene, antioxidants, vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are selectively required for the functions of the macula of the eye. Lowered levels of lutein and zeaxanthin intake will result in eye dysfunctions. Vitamin A is essential in reducing macular degeneration which is associated with old age. Many antioxidants found in avocado have shown the capability to prevent cataracts and to protect from the decay of muscles and nerves.
Eating avocado is helpful in alleviating the intestine and helping with better digestion. Avocado fruits contain soluble and insoluble fibers which are essential for the bulking up of stool and assuring safe movement of food through the intestinal tract. An avocado fruit contains 12 – 14 grams of fiber. Avocado helps in reducing conditions like constipation and diarrhea.
Avocado is ‘Anti-Cancer’
Avocado includes anti-cancer properties like carotenoids, terpenoids, D-mannoheptulose, persenone A and B, phenols, and glutathione. Daily avocado intake will lower the risks of breast cancer and prostate cancer. The anti-cancer agents in avocado are carotenoids and monounsaturated fat. Glutathione, an antioxidant which can protect cells from cancer, is also found in avocado. Studies also have revealed that the organic compounds found in avocado are helpful in boosting the apoptosis of cancer cells. The rich fiber contained in avocado will reduce the risk of colon cancer. Phytochemicals extracted from avocado has shown the capability to constrain the growth of prostate cancer cells in the laboratory.
Helps in weight management
An avocado diet helps in weight management. It has been a commonly believed that rich fat diet can lead to weight gain and low-fat food reduces weight; however clinical trials found that moderate fat diet is more effective in weight management and also reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Avocado is a moderate fat fruit. A 50gm serving of avocado contains 80 calories. Another fact is that healthy metabolism is what helps in weight management. Avocado contains multiple nutrients which help with healthy metabolism. Avocado is a sugar-free fruit, also most of the fat in an avocado fruit is unsaturated fat. Avocado is high in fiber and low in carbs.
Avocado has proven abilities to prevent DNA damage. Changes or damage to DNA is the prime cause for the accelerated aging process. In clinical studies researchers found that intake of vitamin C, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, and lutein-zeaxanthin slows down the aging process. Avocado is rich with all these nutrients, minerals and vitamins; thus including avocado in your diet will help you with healthy aging.
Cleans your liver
Avocado is rich with glutathione which is helpful in cleansing the liver. The unsaponifiable in avocado is helpful in reducing diseases related to kidney or intestine. Avocados are useful in reducing the symptoms of fatty liver.
Avocado diet will reduce the risk of arthritis. Recent researches have found that Avocado and soy unsaponifiables (ASU) is helpful in treating the symptoms of osteoarthritis. ASU diet is useful in reducing inflammation; it limits the degeneration of cells and even could regenerate normal connective tissues. Avocado contains vitamin K, which improves born health by increasing calcium absorption and by reducing urinary defecation of calcium.
Avocado diet during pregnancy is suggested as it provides several vital nutrients to the mother and fetus. 130gms of avocado is capable of meeting 30% of the folate requirements of the fetus. Folate is inevitable for spine, skull and brain development. Avocado helps the fetus with the supply of phosphorus, calcium, iron and magnesium. Avocado oleic acid is good for pregnant women as it enriches breast milk. Avocado contains 10 essential amino acids which are required by the baby. There is also another opinion from the experts that the pregnant woman should avoid avocado consumption as avocado may reduce milk production and also will cause damage to the mammary gland.
Keeps chronic diseases away
Eating avocado is helpful in lowering the risk of multiple chronic diseases. Avocado is rich in fiber. High fiber consumption significantly reduces the risk of stroke, hypertension, coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity etc… Avocado diet also keeps the blood pressure in control and helps to manage weight. An avocado a day, thus keeps chronic diseases away.
Lowers the risk of depression
Avocado contains high level of folate. Daily intake of avocado can reduce the risk of depression as folate helps to prevent the development of homocystein, a substance that can weaken the nutrients-flow to the brain. Homocystein is also associated with the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine which are directly correlated with mood and emotions.
Avocado diet helps in effective diabetes management. Avocado is a sugar-free fruit. It also contains carbohydrates and good fat. In type 2 diabetes, people develop poor insulin sensitivity. Avocado diet will slow down the absorption to allow insulin enough time to process the carbohydrates.
Prevents bad breath
Avocado juice is good for preventing bad breath. The reason for bad breath is, often, the microbes in the stomach. Bad breath doesn’t originate in the mouth but from the stomach. Drinking avocado juice cleanses the intestine and gets rid of the microbes.
Side effects of too much avocado diet
Though avocado has been a wonder-working fruit, there are also certain side effects. Overconsumption of avocado affects the body adversely. The most important side effects of avocado intake are as following:
Nursing and pregnant mothers are advised to stay away from avocado diets as it is said that overconsumption of avocado may damage mammary glands which will affect the milk production.
- Not good for hypersensitive people. Avocado diet is never advised for people suffering from hypersensitivity. Avocado diet may cause skin reactions and vomit to hypersensitive people.
- Some people are allergic to avocados. There are several vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids and other nutrients contained in avocado. People who are allergic to any of these may turn allergic to avocado too. People who are allergic to avocados may react with vomiting, fever, gastrointestinal disorders etc.
- Certain types of avocado oils may cause liver damage. Though avocado oil is as beneficial as avocado fruit, few varieties of avocado oils contain estragole and anethole in them. These elements are tested for causing liver damage. Therefore, whenever you use avocado oil, make sure that estragole and anethole are not present in it.
- Avocado diet is not preferable for people with latex sensitivity. Avocado increases the level of serum IgE antibodies which may cause allergic reactions in the people with latex sensitivity.
- Avocado consumption may result in blood thinning. The presence of Vitamin K causes blood thinning. Too much avocado may give rise to bleeding and bruising.
The truth about avocado…
Avocado is a wonder-working fruit which is naturally rich with all the essential nutrients for the human body. It helps in preventing a good number of diseases and conditions. Avocado is a must-to-add in your diet. It is a safe food for the majority of people in the world except for those who are allergic to it. Avocado fruit is a nutrition powerhouse.
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