Health Benefits of Avocado
Ah, the humble avocado…the Persea americana or the alligator pear, for years derided by the weight loss “gurus” of the 90’s and 00’s for containing fat.
How times have changed!
This fruit, although technically classified as a large, single seed berry (crazy world of botany for you), is a native member of central & south America. However it quite a valuable commodity and is subsequently grown in any location that has a similar tropical, Mediterranean climate.
Now why is this big berry so valuable?
The answer lies in not only its delicious, creamy taste; but also in its unique health properties that it possess.
These benefits range from lowering the risk of certain nasty diseases to actually being a type of fat that helps you to lose weight in a natural way, (i.e. by avoiding diet fads like the shock diet etc)…I know right, but scroll down to the weight loss section to find out more!
We have put together a list of what we believe to be some of the most significant advantages of the simple avocado.
Main Vitamins & Minerals Contained in Avocado
Too many benefits to include here, but centered around immunity and skin benefits.
Used to regulate metabolism and balance hormone distribution.
Powerful antioxidant that reduces cell destruction and slows down the cell aging process.
Essential for a whole range of bodily functions. Mainly used to regulate certain processes.
Needed for its blood clotting ability & helps to produce strong bones.
Absolutely vital fro DNA synthesis and cell repair.
NOTE: There are many, many more advantages to these different vitamins.
Before we go any further, it is worth noting some important drawbacks about this berry:
Some people can be allergic to avocados and so you should check with your doctor first before embarking on any kind of avocado binge.
There are 2 types of allergy related to avocados with differing degrees of severity:
Essentially those with this kind of allergy, will develop local symptoms in the mouth and throat shortly after eating it.
This usually dissipates after taking certain allergy medication, but can be an annoying thing to put up with, (I know all too well as I have pretty bad hay fever).
This is an odd one, because I have never associated avocados with being dangerous to animals.
However according to ASPCA, everything including the leaves & bark of the tree can be toxic to cats, dogs, cattle, goats, rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, birds, fish, and horses if consumed.
So if you have a valued member of your family in your vicinity; make sure to dispose of avocado waste properly and never, ever be tempted to feed some of it to your dog...no matter how pathetic they look!
High blood pressure specifically.
So how do avocados reduce blood pressure so effectively?
You can break it down that often touted mineral; Potassium (K).
Basically a lot of us just don’t get nearly enough Potassium in our diets and a deficiency in this mineral can result in high blood pressure. High blood pressure in turn can lead to a raft of other very serious illnesses, including but not limited to:
- Heart attack/ disease
- Kidney disease
Everyone already knows about the high Potassium content contained in bananas, but it’s actually the avocado that contains a much higher percentage making it an incredibly rich source of the mineral.
Avocados are particularly rich in potassium, even higher than the often touted bananas, and a good food to eat for normal blood pressure and a lower risk of kidney failure and heart disease.
How Does Potassium Reduce Blood Pressure?
So your kidneys are your main filtering device in your body that helps to increase or reduce the amount of fluid inside your body.
It is a high amount of fluid that is the main culprit behind high blood pressure.
When we consume salt, it increases the amount of sodium inside our blood and an increase in sodium play havoc with our fluid level. Too much sodium stops the kidneys from effectively removing excess water (as urine), which therefore raises the blood pressure.
What Potassium does, is to balance out the levels of sodium in the blood, thereby making it easier for your kidneys to do their job efficiently.
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Aside from maintaining a healthy blood pressure, avocados can also help to reduce some of the symptoms of diabetes.
NOTE: Avocados are NOT a cure for diabetes and eating them will NOT stop you from having this disease. However when used as part of a healthy diet, avocados can help diabetics to maintain their symptoms and reduce rapid fluctuations.
Diabetes is on the rise in many developed countries around the world, due in part, to unhealthy lifestyles and diets.
However bad it may seem to sufferers, sometimes a simple change in diet is all that is needed to really reduce the issues related to diabetes and even to live a repetitively normal lifestyle free from worrying about spikes etc.
In fact, the American Diabetes Association actually recommends adding good fat, including that of avocados, into your diet if you already suffer from it.
This list is a very basic list of symptoms involved with diabetes and you should always make sure to visit your doctor to get a thorough check up before self diagnosing, (or internet diagnosing…).
However in order to give you a quick idea, some of the symptoms involve:
- Sudden increase in feeling thirsty all the time
- Increase in hunger
- Dry mouth
- Rapid weight loss
- Problems with your vision
- Painful leg/s
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, immediately visit your doctor
Diabetes Risk Reduction
Avocados not only go someway in alleviating symptoms, but have also been shown to help to significantly reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
It does this by containing what is known as oleic acid and dietary fiber, both of which help normalize then stabilize blood sugar levels. It is this reduction in blood sugar spikes that helps to soften out some symptoms.
Cancer Prevention (Mild)
We were really racking our conscience about whether or not to include this in the list because so many other health magazines out there that extol kind of nonsense information about cancer.
We are not in the business of raising up peoples hopes only to knock them down again with technicalities…i.e. we want to try and stay away from click bait type headlines when serious issues are involved.
However there has been some serious research over the course of 14 years, that has been involved with the fats contained in avocados (not specifically this fruit, but the fats that are a part of it).
According to the conclusion of the research (emphasis ours):
Serum α-carotene concentrations were inversely associated with risk of death from all causes, CVD, cancer, and all other causes. These findings support increasing fruit and vegetable consumption as a means of preventing premature death.
That’s pretty cool 🙂
So Where Do Avocados Come In?
It’s all about what they contain…
They are an extremely rich source of antioxidants and as you might already be aware; oxidation of the cells can cause all kinds of nasty things to happen.
Some of the antioxidants of avocados include:
- Carotenoids such as alpha-carotene (as in the study above)
All of theses different antioxidants play a part in protecting you against damaged cells and potential cancerous growths.
As a result of containing monounsaturated fats, avocados might also help with carotenoid absorption which is esspecially beneficial in breast cancer prevention.
Antioxidant protection goes further than the most commonly known benefits such as keeping your bodily system in good working order…it can actually help to stave of some more serious issues like cancer.
In the case of avocados, the main components are vitamin C & E.
This is usually touted as a wonder vitamin as a result of its many benefits. We wouldn’t go so far as to say that because it can get somewhat overrated and it dissolves quickly in fluid.
However it is considered in the medical world as a vitamin that is part of the fight against certain cancers that are not a result of hormone activity.
As it is with many things health related; it is better coming from real food rather than in supplement form. This is because our bodies are better able to absorb the vitamin into our blood stream from food, (millions of years of evolution is responsible for that!).
Long been understood as one of the important vitamin letters; vitamin E really has some interesting properties…including significant reductions in breast cancer when taken in high levels.
Research from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine has shown that:
…severely deficient women suffer far higher rates of breast cancer
It actually goes deeper and shows that different types of women including histories and genetics, will find vitamin E more or less useful depending on their situations.
Breast cancer incidence based on comparing the highest to lowest levels of vitamin E intake
Premenopausal women with family history of breast cancer
90% risk reduction
Premenopausal women without family history of breast cancer
50% risk reduction
Postmenopausal women with a family history of breast cancer
30% risk reduction
Postmenopausal women without a family history of breast cancer
50% risk reduction
Benefits of Avocado Skin
Yes, that’s correct. Even the skin of is useful…but how?
It all boils down, again, to the monounsaturated fats that it contains and how this can keep your skin looking young & healthy.
The main component behind how this works, is the omega-9 fatty acid that avocado skin contains. The mechanism behind how omega fats work is too complicated to explain in this list (if you want to read more you can visit here), however it basically works by helping to repair skin cells damaged from the sun and pollution.
The skin also can also produce moderate amounts of sebum which helps control acne, blackheads and excessively oily skin.
Antioxidant & Skin firming Vitamins
As you have already read, avocado health benefits extend to repairing damaged skin. However the positive effects of the berry skin go even further by protecting your skin from the onset of wrinkles as well as other signs of aging with antioxidant such as:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
These vitamins help to protect skin destruction from high sun exposure.
In fact, vitamin C is actually involved in the creation of elastin and collagen which both help to keep your skin firm and tight.
Wellness Benefits of Avocado Pits/ Seeds
DO NOT THROW AWAY THE PIT!
Seriously, you will be amazed at what it actually contains.
For example, the seed of this fruit contains around 70% of its total amino acids count. These acids can be utilized to improve various health & beauty things in your body.
However be warned; consuming too much of the seed can be counter productive and actually cause constipation due to the high amount of tannin.
- High antioxidant level
- Boosts the immune system and can improve your bodies aility to fight off microbes, fungus, and parasites
- Contins a lot of soluable fiber to help reglate your body’s functions
- It is a natural astringant
- Potential aphrodisiac properties 😉
- Great for boosing energy levels
- Muscle and joint pain soother
- Wonderful for the skin
- Could help to regulate thyroid disorders due to its high vitamin and mineral content
- Could be a great, natural way to reduce the symptoms of asthma
Avocado Oil Benefits for Health
Unless you have your own press in which to create your own olive or avocado oil, (who does), then you will probably need to invest in some professionally pressed avocado oil…and an investment it will indeed be.
You see, the oil of this fruit is quite amazing for the following reasons:
High Lutein Levels
What the heck is Lutein, you may be asking right now?
Well it is what is known as a carotenoid which is another antioxidant...but this time one that is good for your eyes.
Consuming enough of it may actually help to reduce the risks of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Improved Nutrient Absorption
What's the use of eating all this healthy food if your body is only going to get rid of most of it as waste?
Eating the oil of avocados is a great way to improve your body's ability to absorb more of the good things which will in turn have a knock on effect for the rest of your health.
The process involves the fat, which helps your body to process and use antioxidants more efficiently.
Reduce the Risk of Gum Disease
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is nasty business and can cause all sorts of horrible and painful issues like bleeding gums and bad breath at best, and the entire destruction of the gums and bone at worse.
Because gum disease is predominantly an inflammatory problem, the oil helps to block a specific protein called IL1B - which is thought to be the min culprit.
Moisturizes Your Hair
Whilst you can make your own hair products from this oil, it is advised to purchase a specific oil hair care serum to get the fullest benefits from it.
So why is it great for your hair?
All of the different nutrients it contains, ensures that your scalp has the essential nourishment to repair and rejuvenate itself.
Can Avocados Treat Osteoarthritis?
Eh, what…have we completely gone mad! Avocados can’t treat arthritis, can they?
Well as with all the other things on this list, they can’t cure or stop it completely but avocados certainly do go a long way in reducing some of the symptoms.
The high amount of monounsaturated fat, i.e. good fat, that avocados contain, coupled with the potent antioxidants; makes it possible for avocados to successfully reduce selling and inflammation.
What is Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a very common, chronic and an extremely painful painful degenerative joint disease that effects millions of people around the world.
Whilst it can strike people of all ages, it is most common in older people and mainly affects those over the age of 65. There are several factors that could mean that you are more or less likely to get it, including:
- Limited range of motion or stiffness that goes away after movement
- Clicking or cracking sound when a joint bends
- Mild swelling around a joint
- Pain that is worse after activity or toward the end of the day
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, immediately visit your doctor
Whilst food is not directly involved with the onset of arthritis, it plays a huge factor in making the symptoms better or
Heavily processed or starchy foods are known to make it worse, but the anti-inflammatory effects of avocado has been known anecdotally to reduce swelling and pain for sufferers.
Benefits of Avocado for and Pregnant Women
This quite an interesting entry to the list and not something that one might associate with the fruit!
However avocado is a food that should be eaten by pregnant woman as part of a healthy diet, not just for the health of the unborn child but also for the well being of the mother.
You see, the high levels of folate help to reduce any possible spinal or brain defects, (non hereditary).
As a result of the amount of folate it has inside, it makes a great addition for expecting mothers. What’s more, coupled with its other healthy properties, avocado can seriously ease a pregnant woman’s discomfort from its laxative effects to its anti inflammatory ones.
Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB)
The high dosage of vitamin K is great for making sure that newborns are not deficient in the womb. A deficiency of vitamin K can be a serious issue and in some cases, leads to vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB). This is a potentially life threatening illness where babies are unable to stop bleeding because a lack of this vitamin means their bodies cannot clot the blood.
How Important is Vitamin K?
Mainly found in dark, green, leafy vegetables; vitamin K is often overlooked as a vitamin. However it is important to make sure that we can heal after we cut ourselves.
The advantages of vitamin K also stretch to keeping our bones strong and healthy, as well as staving off osteoporosis.
It is effective for a number of reasons such as:
- Preventing bleeding problems in newborns with low levels of vitamin K (hemorrhagic disease)
- Treating and preventing bleeding problems in people with low levels of the blood clotting protein prothrombin
- An inherited bleeding disorder called vitamin K-dependent clotting factors deficiency (VKCFD)
- Reversing the effects of too much warfarin used to prevent blood clotting
Avocados for Constipation
Constipation is horrible. It’s treated as a kind of dirty and taboo thing that we all suffer from now and then, but we need to take a much healthier view of it, and who knows…we may actually live longer!
The main reason that we become constipated is from a lack of fiber in our dietary intake. However avocados has an abundance of the stuff…10.5 grams per cup of it.
Fiber improves digestion and softens up the stool which results in easier bowel movements. In fact, avocados have actually been used as a mild laxative in order to encourage waste elimination.
In fact, just eating 1 avocado per day will provide you with nearly 30% of your RDA of fiber.
Now, you should make sure that you vary your diet and only eating 3 avocados per day will provide you with almost your entire RDA of fiber, but this is not a great idea because you might over load on the other nutrients that the fruit provides.
Simple Avacado Smoothie Recipe
1 juice a day should help to keep your pipes clean!
We love smoothies here at Health Form. You can see our 7 best fat busting smoothies here.
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 2 kiwi peeled
- 1/8 cup lime juice plus 1 tablespoon
- 1/8 cup – 1/4 cup Almond milk
- Honey to taste
- 2-3 ice cubes
- Place liquid in the blender first, then add your fruit and ice.
- Cover and start on low sped, increasing to high speed.
- Blend until creamy and smooth.
This recipe is courtesy of justshortofcrazy.com.
Benefits of Eating Avocado for Weight Loss
But…avocados are high in fat and packed full of calories???
Yep I know that it sounds counter productive to eat something that on paper at least, contains all the things you have been told to stay well away from.
Now, do you remember the introduction to this post?
Essentially the advice we all received about losing weight comes from the nighties and early noughties when diets like the Atkins, were considered to be the superstar diet of the dieting world. How far we’ve now come…
So basically, there are quite a few reasons why a fatty, calorie dense food like avocados can be beneficial to weight loss, one of which being the type of fat.
Avocados contain monounsaturated fats which have been shown to keep you feeling fuller for longer due to its slow release of energy. The other fantastic thing about this particular type of fatty acid, is that it can actually help to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in your body
How Does Fat Help Me Lose Weight?
One reason is that as a result of feeling fuller, you will be less inclined to snack throughout the day. The main snaking “danger zone” times for many working people, is usually between breakfast and lunch, so by reducing the urge to eat all manner of unhealthy foods rich in trans and saturated fats, you will not only not put on extra weight but also feel healthier.
It is actually refined carbohydrates that results in the majority of weight gain rather than fat…however fat seems to get a bad rap because it stays inside your body for longer than other food groups and so tends to be considered the bad one.
Low Fat Options
This is something that really grinds our gears about the food industry.
They always put forth advertising that shows their products are low in fat and therefore better for you. However this is mainly baloney as these so called low fat options, usually contain an abundance of sugar which is basically…a refined carb aka; the bad kind of carbs!
Wow, I bet you never realized just how amazing the health benefits of avocado actually are, (or even that there is anyone actually capable of writing over 3,500 words about avocados!).
I hope that this post has given you a renewed sense of what is possible with something seemingly so simple.
This is only 1 fruit/ berry of many and if you start to eat is a healthy manner by mixing up all of the various different options; you will soon find your health improving by the day 🙂