Avocados are grown primarily in equatorial, tropical and subtropical areas. The most sought out variety of the avocado fruit is the creamy Hass Avocado.
Evidence dating back to 10,000 B.C. suggests that avocado trees were first seen in Puebla, Mexico. The first settlers to utilize this highly beneficial fruit were the civilizations of Ancient Central America and South America.
Avocados are harvested early and then allowed to gradually ripen. An indicator of ripe avocados is its skin; if it is soft and budges on pressing it gently, then the fruit has ripened completely.
The Basic Nutrition Facts of Avocado Fruit
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), these are the nutrition facts for about one-half, or 68 grams (g), of an avocado: (3)
- 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
12 Amazing Health Benefits of the Avocado Fruit
Many people think eating avocado is fattening due to its high-calorie content. However, avocado consists only of healthy fats. It offers an adequate amount of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) to the body.
It naturally contains nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. Adding avocado to fruits and vegetables can greatly benefit us. To better understand the value of this amazing fruit, let’s have a look at twelve incredible advantages of eating avocado regularly.
1. Eating Avocado Aids Weight Loss
Avocados are rich in fibre and low in carbs which is why they promote weight loss. A study suggests people who ate avocado after a meal felt 23% more satisfied.
They also had a 28% lower desire to eat for at least 5 hours, as opposed to those who did not eat the fruit. Hence, one naturally consumes fewer calories if avocados are included in their daily diet.
According to another study, an avocado a day could help redistribute belly fat, particularly in women. Avocados help in improving metabolism and the presence of antioxidants helps neutralise some free radicals.
2. Protection of One’s Eyesight
Avocados are rich in powerful antioxidants and even promote the absorption of antioxidants from other foods. Two antioxidants that are crucial for maintaining eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are present in avocados.
These two carotenoids prevent eye damage by filtering out harmful blue light and thus preserve healthy eye cells. This, in turn, reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration in adults.
3. Lowers Risk of Heart Diseases and Cholesterol
In today’s busy lifestyle, diseases associated with one’s heart have become increasingly common. High cholesterol, blood pressure, strokes, unregulated triglyceride levels, etc. cause plenty of untimely deaths.
Avocados are known to reduce the risk of heart diseases. They can significantly lessen total cholesterol, lower blood triglyceride by up to 20%, increase high-density lipoprotein by up to 11% and reduce HDL by up to 22%.
4. Avocados are High in Fibre
Fibre, an indigestible plant matter, contributes to improved digestion, reduces blood sugar spikes, and aids weight loss. Avocados are a rich source of fibre and contain 7 g of fibre per 100g. I
Avocados have both soluble (25%) and insoluble fibre (75%). The former attracts water and turns it into gel whereas the latter improves the movement of material during digestion. Those suffering from poor digestion or constipation can benefit from eating avocados.
5. Avocados Contain High Levels of Potassium
Avocados have very high levels of potassium. This helps to maintain electrical gradients in one’s body. Potassium eliminates excess levels of sodium in your body, which decreases blood pressure.
Studies like Harvard Health Publishing have pointed out that consuming this mineral decreases the blood pressure in your arteries, especially if you are suffering from hypertension.
A study by The New England Journal of Medicine found that potassium lowers the risk of suffering from kidney stones by 51% in men and 35% among women.
6. Impressive Nutritional Value
For health-conscious individuals, eating avocados has become incredibly popular. Referred to as a superfood, they comprise Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, Potassium, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, fat-soluble, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, zinc, manganese, and phosphorus.
They also have monounsaturated fats, 2 grams of protein, oleic acid and only 2 ‘net’ carbs. Additionally, there are no traces of sodium. All these nutrients are present in a single 100-gram serving of this nutritious fruit. Including it in your diet will help you avail all these nutrients at once!
7. Inhibits the Growth of Cancer
Avocados can potentially play a role in treating cancer. Researchers have found that the phytochemicals extracted from avocados can significantly restrain the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells.
They also aid in the proliferation of immune system cells known as lymphocytes. Eating avocados can even limit the chromosomal damage caused by the chemotherapy drug, cyclophosphamide.
One-half of a raw avocado has 82 mcg of folate and it is known to reduce the risk of developing stomach, colon, pancreatic, and even cervical cancers. A 2013 study on avocados found that it also helps in preventing breast cancer.
8. Prevents Osteoporosis
An essential nutrient for good bone health is Vitamin K. A quarter of the daily requirement of this vitamin can be obtained from only half an avocado.
Eating a diet that’s rich in Vitamin D, calcium and Vitamin K can maintain healthy bones since the latter helps in calcium absorption as well as decreasing urinary excretion of calcium.
9. Leads to Antimicrobial Action
Certain microbial activities such as those caused by Escherichia coli are a major reason for food poisoning. Avocados contain substances that have an antimicrobial activity which can prevent infections and allergies.
10. Aids Smooth Pregnancies
Avocados have significant amounts of folate, an essential nutrient for a healthy pregnancy. Its adequate and prescribed intake can reduce risks associated with miscarriage and neural tube defects. Moreover, the presence of Vitamin B6 also helps overcome morning sickness, nausea, vomiting, and queasiness.
The fruit includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are beneficial for the growth of the fetus. It also has antioxidants that prevent cellular damage.
11. Avocado Maintain Healthy Skin
Avocados have carotenoids that reduce UV-induced inflammation of the skin. Avocado oil protects against skin damage.
The high level of beta-carotene in avocados safeguards the skin from various damaging effects of the sun. Research suggests that daily avocado consumption may lead to enhanced elasticity and firmness of the facial skin.
12. Avocado Improve Oral Health
Consumption of avocados prevents bad breath. Bad breath is generally caused due to bacteria build-up in the gut and stomach. Avocados can easily cure indigestion and help get rid of the bacteria. Also, the potassium content fights tooth decay and cavities and thus helps maintain oral health.
Popular Names of Avocado
There are several different names for the fruit across the world. In many parts of India, people know avocado as ‘butter fruit‘. In certain other parts of the world, the fruit is known in the local language by words that translate to the term ‘alligator pear’.
Avocado Healthy Recipes
Apart from offering you amazing health benefits, avocado is also one of the most versatile and delicious ingredients that you can add to a variety of dishes.
It is probably the only fruit that combines various textures like the creaminess of butter, vitamins and minerals from fruits, and the protein from meat in addition to a distinctly nutty flavour. Here are some exciting avocado recipes that you can use to add that extra zing to your meals:
1. Corn and Avocado Salad
It is probably the healthiest recipe involving Avocado, while also being the easiest to prepare.
Take a bowl and toss in some fresh corn kernels, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, and avocado. Add some lime juice and any dressing of your choice. Mix it thoroughly and enjoy the health benefits of this delicious salad.
Just scoop out the avocado from its shell and add a little lime and some parsley and mint. Mash the whole thing thoroughly to create a smooth paste. Add any seasoning to suit your palate and enjoy one of the creamiest yet healthiest dips you can get.
3. Coriander Avocado Dip
Just take some avocados, crushed garlic and pepper, chopped mint and parsley and mix with creamy yoghurt. Shake vigorously for a few seconds. Your Coriander Avocado Dip is ready for consumption.
4. Grilled Chicken Salad
Take generous amounts of avocado and mix it with juicy chicken pieces, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, pomegranate and some nuts. Add a little olive oil and lemon juice. Toss it a couple of times and have a healthy and filling snack.
5. Seared Tuna with Avocado and Spinach
Just keep it simple. Pan-sear the tuna and add some leaves of baby spinach and generous amounts of avocado. Your Seared Tuna with Avocado and Spinach is ready to be served.
6. Avocado Indian Salad
Go completely desi with this foreign ingredient. Take some chopped tomatoes, onion, cucumber, carrots and diced cottage cheese. Add a couple of green chilies, and squeeze in a fresh lemon with some chaat masala. Mix it thoroughly and enjoy a healthy Indian salad.
7. Chicken and Avocado Sandwich
Take avocado paste and spread it nicely on the bread. Now add pan-seared chicken breast and some pickled onions to the bread. Finish it with a leaf of iceberg lettuce and dig into this lip-smacking sandwich.
With so many health benefits, it is only natural that avocados are now produced in many countries. Its thick skin also protects it from damage by pesticide, making it one of the safest crops to purchase.
One can eat it raw or make a dressing. You can even use avocado oil in place of butter while baking to reduce the production of fatty acids in your body.
Avocado – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What is avocado fruit called in India?
A. The Indian name for Avocado is Makhanfal. It was first introduced in the 20th century when it was shipped from Sri Lanka.
Q. What is the benefit of avocado?
A. It is a powerhouse of several vitamins and nutrients that render it beneficial for treating many health issues like heart conditions, diabetes, blood pressure etc. It also aids in weight loss and promotes eye, oral, skin and bone health. It facilitates smoother pregnancies as well. Avocado is also known for its anti-microbial and anticancer properties.
Q. How do you eat avocado fruit?
A. Avocado is a versatile fruit that can be added raw in salads and dips or made into a puree and spread on toast.
Q. What is the best time to eat avocado?
A. A ripe Avocado can be consumed any time of the day, as a tasty addition to any meal.
Q. Does avocado make you gain weight?
A. No, on the contrary, avocados are rich in fibre and low in carbs and thus promote weight loss. They also work as an anti-suppressant. Avocados help in improving metabolism and the presence of antioxidants helps neutralise some free radicals
Q. What is avocado fruit good for?
A. Avocado contains tons of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that help in weight loss, and improve heart health, eyesight and bone density. It has cancer-fighting properties and its antimicrobial properties help fight bacteria such as that in the stomach, gut and mouth. It also helps regulate blood pressure and cholesterol and potassium levels.
Q. Is it OK to eat avocado every day?
A. Yes, having one avocado a day has many health benefits. Being rich in various nutrients and antioxidants, avocado is great for heart, eye, digestive and oral health. It also boosts antimicrobial actions and inhibits the growth of cancer.
Q. What does avocado do to a woman’s body?
A. Avocados are linked to the redistribution of visceral fats among women. They are also known to facilitate smoother pregnancies. Its moderate intake can reduce risks associated with miscarriage as well as neural tube defects. Moreover, the presence of Vitamin B6 also helps overcome morning sickness, nausea or vomiting, and queasiness. The fruit includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are beneficial for the growth of the foetus. It also has antioxidants that prevent cellular damage.
Q. Do avocados burn belly fat?
A. Yes, avocados are rich in fibre and low in carbs and thus promote weight loss. It leads to a feeling of fullness for a long period thus resulting in lesser calorie consumption. Avocados help in improving metabolism and the presence of antioxidants helps neutralise some free radicals.
Q. How many avocados should I eat a week?
A. The daily consumption of avocado should not be more than one. Hence, 2 per week which means half an avocado per day is acceptable.
Q. Can I eat avocado at night?
A. Yes, eating avocados at night can help you get better quality sleep as they are rich in potassium which increases sleep efficiency and improves sleep patterns.
Q. When should I eat avocado morning or night?
A. Avocado can be consumed any time of the day, as a tasty addition to any meal. Having it during the day has its own set of benefits like improved blood flow and lower blood sugar along with lower calorie consumption while eating it at night may help you sleep better.
Q. Who should avoid eating avocado?
A. People with liver conditions should avoid having avocado. Breastfeeding mothers should also keep control over their avocado consumption as it may reduce milk production or damage the mammary gland. People suffering from hypersensitivity should also avoid avocado as it may cause skin reactions or vomiting.
Q. Does avocado affect your period?
A. Yes, avocados are great for periods. They not only ease menstrual cramps but the high fibre, vitamins and essential minerals like magnesium and potassium balance the hormones in the body and help fight the uneasiness.
Q. Is too much avocado harmful?
A. Yes, eating too many avocados can cause bloating, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. It can also cause mouth itchiness and swelling of the tongue if consumed in large amounts.