Avocados, in my opinion, are one of the healthiest foods known to man. Top five, no doubt. But, at least here in the United States, people seem to have little understanding about the avocado benefits of this lean, green, cancer killing machine.
For instance, avocado is not a vegetable; it is a fruit. Most Americans have no clue how to use an avocado to its fullest potential, so you typically see them adorning sandwiches and salads or mashed into a tasty dip.
While these are all fine uses, many cultures also incorporate the health benefits of avocado into desserts. Thanks to their mild flavor and creamy consistency, avocados make an excellent addition to chocolate mousse – one of my favorites – and other sweets.
What Makes Avocado a Superfood?
There is no doubt avocados are a Superfood. Just take a look at everything that is crammed into an avocado:
Beta-sitosterol, glutathione and other phytochemicals
Phytochemicals help fight diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Copper, iron and other minerals
Avocados are rich with minerals, including iron, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. In fact, you would have to eat two or three bananas to equal the potassium of just one avocado.
Avocados are loaded with fat-soluble vitamins A, E and K. Not only do our bodies need these essential vitamins to work correctly, the vitamins can work together with magnesium, zinc, and other essential minerals in such a unique way that it serves as a gentle reminder of God’s wisdom and power and why we should eat more nutrition-packed treats like avocados.
The health benefits of avocado helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, maintain weight control and enable proper bowel regularity thanks to their high level of fiber.
While folate is already known to decrease the risk of some birth defects, such as spinal bifida and neural tube defects, it has also been proven to prevent stroke.
Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats. In fact, they are one of the best sources in the world. Monounsaturated fats are said to reverse insulin resistance and regulate blood sugar, making them a great treat for diabetics.
Polyphenols and flavonoids are examples of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that reduce degenerative disorders affecting joints, connective tissues, internal organs and the skin.
Avocados have the highest levels of protein and the lowest amount of sugar of any fruit. This unique combination of the health benefits of avocado helps your body build lean muscle mass while destroying fat cells.
Water-soluble vitamins B and C
Since B-complex vitamins and vitamin C are not stored in the body, they need to be replaced daily. I am sure you’ve all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but that should really be changed to avocado.
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Avocado Benefits: Avocados Are Good For Your Skin
Do you want glowing, beautiful skin? Eat avocados. When eaten or applied topically, avocados are a wonderful natural moisturizer. Rich in fat-soluble vitamins and monounsaturated fats, avocado benefits make this fruit Mother Nature’s number one moisturizer.
Using avocado oil or rubbing the inside of an avocado peel on your skin will promote healthy, shining skin and fight acne. Add in a few therapeutic essential oils, such as peppermint, rosemary or lavender, and boom: you have an affordable, natural lotion that’s much more powerful than the chemical-filled potions you buy at the store.
Avocado Benefits: Cancer Killer
Do avocados have secret cancer-fighting powers? Some new research says, “yes!” In fact, the journal Nutrition and Cancer recently ran an article touting the phytochemicals in avocados as powerful tools against oral cancers. The report went as far as to say avocados could work as a replacement for chemotherapy for oral cancer patients.
Ohio State University scientists took the theory a step further and they're now trying to figure out exactly why avocados are so powerful. In an early report published in 2011, researchers suggested that the specific phytonutrient combination of avocados could be the key to the fruits cancer-killing abilities.
It is just another reason to follow God’s wisdom and eat more avocados!
Avocado Benefits: Hormone Balance
Avocados have a plethora of health benefits and have been found to help lower metabolic syndrome in adults. Avocados help with high blood pressure, hypertension, and weight loss, all of which are cluster conditions that are associated with heart disease, stroke and diabetes, and they also help to regulate hormones, which are key variables in these risk factors.
Intriguingly, no data relating to the effects of avocado on disease risk factors had been published until the Nutrition Journal reported about a 2001-2008 survey. Thanks to that report, we now have a ton of information to go by. Here are just a few interesting facts researchers discovered by monitoring the eating habits of 17,567 U.S. adults:
- Those who included avocado in their diets were more likely to eat a balanced diet than those who did not eat avocado.
- According to the study, “Avocado consumers had significantly higher intakes of vegetables; fruit, diet quality, total fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, dietary fiber, vitamins E, K, magnesium, and potassium; vitamin K, and lower intakes of added sugars.”
- Body weight, body mass and waist circumference were reduced and HDL levels were increased in participants who ate avocados regularly.
- People who ate avocados on a regular basis were 50 percent less likely to develop metabolic syndrome.
Avocado Benefits: Heart Health
Thanks to their fatty acid composition (71 percent monounsaturated fatty acids, 16 percent saturated fatty acids and 13 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids), avocados and avocado oil are especially efficient at promoting heart health.
Now, after decades of their health benefits being virtually forgotten, an emerging body of research and clinical studies are starting to explain the impact of avocado consumption on heart disease.
For instance, scientists from Mexico provided an avocado-heavy diet to healthy participants and participants with high cholesterol, and compared them to a group that did not eat avocados. Just one week into the study, it was revealed that the healthy people with normal lipid levels who ate avocados reduced their cholesterol level by 16 percent.
The results for the participants with high cholesterol were even more insightful. Not only did their total cholesterol drop 17 percent, so did their LDL (22%) and triglycerides (22%), and their HDL even rose 11 percent!
If you are still not sold on the importance of eating avocado daily as part of your natural health regimen, it’s time to wake up. Implementing avocado into your diet is actually easy. Here are a few useful tips.
- Avocado can be used as a butter/fat replacement in baking
- Diced avocado makes an excellent soup topper
- A food processor can whip avocado into desserts, such as puddings, mousses and more.
- Skip jarred baby food and mash avocado until it is smooth
Let us know your favorite ways to enjoy avocado benefits and share a recipe or two in the comments below.
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- Fulgoni VL, et al. Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008. Nutr J. 2013 Jan 2;12:1.
- López Ledesma R, et al. Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia. Arch Med Res. 1996 Winter;27(4):519-23.
- Ding H, et al. Selective induction of apoptosis of human oral cancer cell lines by avocado extracts via a ROS-mediated mechanism. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(3):348-56.
- D'Ambrosio SM, et al. Aliphatic acetogenin constituents of avocado fruits inhibit human oral cancer cell proliferation by targeting the EGFR/RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK1/2 pathway. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2011 Jun 10;409(3):465-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.05.027. Epub 2011 May 8.
- Dreher ML, et al. Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):738-50.