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Avocados, known to the science community as Persea Americana and colloquially as an alligator pear, have many potential health benefits. From being cloaked in the superfood moniker to an unparalleled nutrient density and staving off illness to enhancing beauty products, avocados do it all. Better yet, avocados are incredibly versatile and tasty and can easily be consumed during any meal or snack time. Take a look at a few of the top reasons avocados are so beneficial to one’s health.
Important Note: All the findings presented herein are representative of the most current research on the health benefits associated with avocados as of the date of this publication.
Rife With Nutrients
Avocados are undeniably packed with beneficial nutrients. Packed with more than 20 vitamins as well as minerals, fiber, potassium, folate, and other nutrients, avocados are a superfood worth squeezing into your diet. Of note, avocados are considered a superfood because of their many nutrients and characteristics. Although avocados contain about 30 grams of fat per serving, a high-fat content for a fruit, it’s mostly unsaturated fat which is considered healthy fat.
Avocados are so versatile that they’re actually really easy to incorporate at any meal time: breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even snacks. Popular with eggs and on toast at breakfast, on sandwiches and in salads at lunchtime, and with fish dishes and tacos at dinner, avocados go with anything. Best of all, eating avocados is connected to a healthier diet quality and vitamin intake because of its rich nutrient density.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. One of the healthiest fruits you can eat, the avocado is dubbed a superfood for a reason. Adding avocado to your diet is highly recommended as a source of so many beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Significantly, avocados contain lutein which is a carotenoid associated with eye health. Particularly, lutein reduces eye inflammation, fends off free radicals, lowers oxidative stress, and improves acuity of sight. Incredibly, avocados contain a whopping 80 micrograms of lutein per serving; lutein supplements are usually taken in 10 microgram doses. Therefore, eating a single serving of avocado provides you with much more lutein than is needed per day. The result is that avocados are supremely beneficial to maintaining and improving vision. Studies show that the correlation between daily avocado consumption and improved vision is conclusive.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. There’s no denying that avocados are beneficial to eye health. Avocados contain 10 times the amount of the daily recommended lutein intake per serving and the benefits of lutein to eye health are well known.
May Prevent and Treat Cancer
Some research has shown an interesting connection between the phytochemicals in avocados possessing the ability to inhibit both cancer and pre-cancer cell growth. Furthermore, those same chemicals may be able to reduce the size of cancerous tumors. While many studies show that the phytochemicals extracted from avocados reduce tumors and prevent cancer cell growth, others indicate that the same extractions can be successfully used in alleviating some of the prolific symptoms of chemotherapies. While many of the studies touting the benefits of avocados to cancer inhibition, prevention, and treatment make their claims based on experiments evaluated in petri dishes, there are none that have demonstrated conclusive results based on biological experimentations. While there’s surely a hopeful outlook for applying avocado extractions to cancer in humans, science just hasn’t made that leap yet.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. The outlook for this health benefit associated with avocados is promising, there’s still more research to be done, namely applying the hypothesis to human subjects.
Supports Fetal Health
Avocados are fraught with many of the necessary nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy. Unless advised otherwise by your doctor, avocados are completely safe to consume during pregnancy. For starters, avocados are packed with folate, a nutrient integral to fetal health; in fact, folate prevents birth defects. Folate also supports the growth and development of fetal organs. Incredibly, avocados contain approximately 19 micrograms of folate per serving; although pregnant women require much more than this per day, avocados are one of a bevy of sources of this nutrient. Other significant nutrients to consume during pregnancy include potassium, fiber, monounsaturated fats, and antioxidants all of which can be copiously found in the composition of whole avocados.
General Consensus: 4.5/5 and here is why. While avocados can’t singularly contribute all of the necessary nutrients to a pregnant woman’s diet, they do cover a lot of ground.
Some studies suggest a link between the tryptophan in avocados and antidepressant benefits. Essentially, tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that modulates one’s mood. If you or someone you know is experiencing low moods, irritability, difficulty sleeping, or other depressive symptoms, there’s a hearty list of science-based foods that can help to increase the serotonin that you’re likely lacking. Serotonin is responsible for improving mood, regulating sleep, and beyond. Avocados, one of the many science-based foods that enhance serotonin, can help to both prevent and regulate the symptoms of depression.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. More than 300 scientific articles are published weighing in on the health benefits of avocados in the treatment and prevention of depression; most come to the same conclusion that the serotonin triggers in avocados can remediate depressive symptoms.
One of the major nutrients present in avocados is fiber. A fiber-rich diet is essential to optimal digestion. What’s more, a single avocado contains about 14 grams of fiber which represents approximately half of the daily required value in one’s diet. Moreover, avocados are low in sugar and packed with potassium, another factor beneficial to digestion. The absence of sugar in avocados is integral in preventing uncomfortable gas. Other nutrients found in avocados that promote digestion include vitamins C and the complex B vitamins. An interesting study on gut health takes the benefits of avocados one step further asserting that the superfood can improve overall gut health in addition to aiding in digestion.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. It’s easy to connect the fiber, potassium, and vitamin content of avocados to improved digestion. Each of the noted nutrients associated with improved digestion is supported by decades’ worth of research.
Protects Against Chronic Illness
Though research about the daily intake of avocados and lowered risk of chronic illness are both new and few, the existing evidence is hopeful. One of the more recent studies draws a link between eating avocados and a lowered risk for cardiovascular disease as well as coronary heart disease. Avocados are a great staple food in the treatment of diabetes; as a low-carbohydrate, high-fiber fruit, avocados can easily fit into any diabetic diet. Furthemore, although avocados are high in fat, they are heart-healthy fats that will help you to maintain low cholesterol. Finally, avocados are rife with vitamin E which is known to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is connected with triggering diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s Disease. The school of thought is that by reducing inflammation through regular intake of vitamin E which is found in avocados, you might reduce your risk of being diagnosed with the aforementioned illnesses.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. Although some studies have shown a connection between eating avocados and reduced risk of illness, there just aren’t enough; more research is warranted.
Great For Skincare and Hair
Avocados are a popular ingredient in beauty products, specifically skincare and hair products. Avocados are packed with biotin which is one of the B vitamins. Biotin is especially well-known for improving hair health, shine, volume, and scalp health. For the skin, biotin is moisturizing and hydrating and can improve the skin’s texture. Moreover, avocados are rife with vitamin E which is greatly beneficial to your skin. The vitamin E from avocado oil in skincare products acts as an antioxidant, locks moisture in, and protects skin cells from damage. Common skincare products containing avocado oil and extracts include face masks, eye treatments, body butters, moisturizers, lip treatments, and beyond. Common hair products that feature avocado oil or extracts include curl hydrators, hair masks, and conditioners to name a few.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Literal thousands of studies tout the benefits of avocado oil and extracts in skin and hair care products.
Unlikely Benefits: Further Research Needed
May Prevent Osteoporosis
General Consensus: 4/5 and here is why. Even though avocados contain a hearty amount of vitamin K, the vitamin responsible for supporting bone health, there are too few studies connecting avocados to the prevention of osteoporosis.