Avocados have grown in popularity these past few years, but why? They are known as a superfood, and with the many health benefits it is easy to see why, but how much do you know about this creamy superfood?
In this article, I will describe my top 9 benefits of this fruit and why you need it in your diet.
The avocado is an evergreen, tropical tree with green, pear-shaped fruit originating from Mexico that is packed with nutrients. The term avocado refers to both the tree and the fruit.
This colorful fruit that was once considered a delicacy is now readily available and is a common addition to menus, from breakfasts to desserts all across the world.
Hundreds of different varieties of avocados exist, varying widely in both size and color. Some are green, others are black, and they range from as small as only a few ounces to as large as five pounds. The thing that remains consistent is its proven health benefits.
While they aren’t sweet, avocados are a very satisfying and versatile food with a creamy, buttery texture. They also have a rich flavor from the high-fat content.
Most fruits consist of carbohydrates. But avocado is very different. It is fully loaded with healthy fats along with fiber, potassium, and vitamins B6 and C, which is why it has been the subject of various studies. They are also rich in folate which can help with depression1.
Nutrient values found in a single serving of avocado, which is approx one half or (68 g)2
- fiber (4.6 g)
- total sugar (0.2 g)
- potassium (345 mg)
- sodium (5.5 mg)
- magnesium (19.5 mg)
- vitamin C (6.0 mg)
- vitamin E (1.3 mg)
- vitamin K1(14 μg)
- folate (60 mg),
- vitamin B-6 (0.2 mg)
Here are some reasons why you should add this superfood to the menu today:
1. Avocados Are Incredibly Nutritious
Avocado is packed with nutrient value and is usually added to many dishes because of its rich texture and addicting flavor.
Nowadays, avocado has become a prevalent food among athletes and other health-conscious individuals. It is commonly classified as a superfood due to its health properties.
Related: Dietary Fats - How Certain Fats Affect Your Heart
There are three main types of avocado and they vary in color and shape. Some are pear-shaped or round while others are green or black.
The most popular type is the Hass avocado. Commonly referred to as “alligator pear”, it has a green and bumpy skin that can, of course, be compared to the skin of an alligator.
Avocado is very delicious and contains a variety of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. These can include vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B5, vitamin E, potassium and vitamin B6. It also consists of small amounts of manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and phosphorus.
What many people love about the fruit is that it does not contain any sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat. It’s no wonder why athletes and other health-conscious professionals out there have favored avocado.
2. Avocados May Boost Brain Health and Memory
This fruit is rich in oleic acid, which is an omega-9 fatty acid that is found in nature and in most of our cells. It is needed for our bodies to help with fighting pathogens, transporting minerals and responding to our hormones3.
It also helps boost the health of our hearts and brains. Research has shown that these types of acids can help to enhance our memories4.
3. Loaded With More Potassium Than Bananas
Potassium is a nutrient that serves many essential functions and maintains electrical gradients in the body’s cells.
It is high in potassium and for every 100 grams of serving has 14% of the recommended allowance. Bananas, on the other hand, only has 10%.
Studies also show that enough potassium intake has been associated with reduced blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure to name a few.
4. High in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
Avocado is high in “good” fat, and when eaten in moderation can help lower bad cholesterol. It is loaded with a monounsaturated fatty acid that serves as the primary component in olive oil. This makes it a good choice for an athlete searching for a high-fat food as part of a balanced diet.
Approximately, every piece of avocado consists of 77% calories that come from fat. This makes it one of the fattiest plant foods around the world.
When performing strenuous activities such as bodybuilding, your muscles are prone to stress-related fatigue. The oleic acid in avocado can help reduce inflammation and ease the pain.
5. Avocados Have Fewer Pesticides
Grown fruits and vegetables commonly have pesticide residues — even after you wash and peel them.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Avocados contain fewer pesticides and are the number one of what is known as the “clean 15” (the list of foods that are less likely to contain pesticide residue). This is partly due to their thick peel5.
So if you can’t afford organically grown avocados, you can choose conventionally grown varieties without any major exposure.
6. Great Source of Fiber
Avocado is relatively rich with fiber. And for aspiring athletes, fiber contributes to weight loss, minimizes blood sugar spikes, and lowers the risk of many diseases.
Slow metabolism is a big problem for most health-conscious individuals. Fiber can play a significant role and avocado is a good option.
7. Can Lower Cholesterol Levels
Studies indicate that regular avocado consumption as part of a healthy diet can help to lower cholesterol levels reducing LDL cholesterol and boosting HDL cholesterol.
Essentially, helping to reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular diseasesa such as stroke or a heart attack.
8. Helps Shed a Pound or Two
Avocado is fat-loss friendly fruit. Research shows that people who eat this superfood have a lower desire to eat within 5 hours than other individuals who do not consume the fruit.
So, incorporating avocado into your meal allows you to eat fewer calories. It also enables you to stick to a balanced eating habit.
Related: 5 Simple Steps for Easier and Sustainable Fat Loss
Rich in fiber, avocado is also low in carbs. Both components promote weight loss. Whether you want to shed a pound or gain lean muscle mass, this fruit has got your back.
Don’t be afraid to experiment when adding it to your menu. With a bit of creativity and imagination, you can cook something delicious to please even the pickiest taste buds.
9. Improves Vision
Avocados can also help to keep your eyes healthy. They contain carotenoids, which are fat-soluble pigments, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies have shown that these are linked to a drastically reduced risk of conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration and eye diseases related to age, which are common in older adults6. These conditions are often caused by free radicals that can accumulate in the tissues of the eyes7.
The antioxidant activity of these special carotenoids in avocados neutralize the effects of these dangerous free radicals.
I have included avocado as part of my diet for the past couple of years, and with the endless possibilities of recipes, you never get bored with it. There are literally thousands of ways to enjoy this fruit and have it as part of your diet, from avocado on toast, in salads and even in chocolate brownies/pudding. Yes, you read that right!! The list is endless. So be adventurous and add it to your diet today.
Allergic to Latex?
If you are allergy to Latex, please consult your doctor before adding avocado to your diet.
People with a serious latex allergy may also experience the same symptoms after eating avocado.
- Folate, B12, and life course of depressive illness
- Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects
- Oleic Acid Supplemental Information Page
- Fat-induced satiety factor oleoylethanolamide enhances memory consolidation
- EWG's 2019 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
- Plasma lutein and zeaxanthin and other carotenoids as modifiable risk factors for age-related maculopathy and cataract: the POLA Study.
- Free radicals, antioxidants and eye diseases: evidence from epidemiological studies on cataract and age-related macular degeneration.