How Avocados Are Good For Your Health

Nutrient Content

Vitamins

Excellent Source of: 

  • Vitamin K – 39%
  • Folate – 30%
  • Vitamin C – 25%
  • Pantothenic Acid – 21%

Good Source of: 

  • Vitamin B6 – 19%
  • Vitamin E – 16%
  • Niacin – 13%
  • Riboflavin – 11%

Also a Source of:

  • Thiamin – 7%
  • Vitamin A – 4%

Minerals

Excellent Source of: 

  • Potassium – 21%

Good Source of: 

  • Copper – 14%
  • Magnesium – 11%
  • Manganese – 11%

Also a Source of:

  • Phosphorus – 8%
  • Zinc – 6%
  • Iron – 5%

Other

Excellent Source of: 

  • Fiber – 40%

Also a Source of:

  • Antioxidants – Beta Carotene, Flavonoids, Lycopene, Lutein, Zeaxanthin
  • Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs)
  • Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs)

*All nutritional data from (1)

How Avocados Prevent Chronic Disease

Avocados have a rich nutritional profile that contributes to a large number of disease preventive capabilities.

How Avocados May Help Prevent Alzheimer's and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

Avocado’s unique array of antioxidants is believed to have neuroprotective capabilities that may ward off neuronal degeneration, which can lead to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (2)

  • Vitamin E: Avocados are an excellent source of Vitamin E, which is a vital antioxidant shown to protect against Alzheimer’s when obtained through your diet. (3)
  • Lycopene: One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s is the deposition of amyloid-β plaques in our neurons that eventually cause cell death. (4) Lycopene, which is an antioxidant found in high quantities in avocados, can protect against plaques damage. (5)
  • Folate: Avocados are one of the best sources of folate. Low folate levels are associated with impaired cognitive function and dementias such as Alzheimer’s. (6)

How Avocados Prevent Cancer

Avocados provide a number of cancer-preventive substances when incorporated into your diet. They help to prevent oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.

  • Flavonoids and Glutathione: Avocados contain polyphenols like Glutathione and Flavonoids. These are potent phytochemicals whose properties can protect against certain cancers. (7) Specifically, glutathione is promising in the prevention of oral cancers. (8) When flavanoids are consumed, they can boost levels of glutathione in our cells. (9) Acquiring these substances through diet can help reduce cancer risk.
  • Inflammation: Chronic inflammation can lead to DNA damage, which is one of the leading causes of cancer in the cells. (10) Avocados have been studied and identified as a food source that can reduce inflammation at several sites in our body. (11) Still, further research needs to be conducted to confirm these initial findings.

How Avocados Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases

Avocados are an excellent resource for cardiovascular health due to their healthy oils, vitamins, and minerals, provided in each serving.

  • Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs): Fats are commonly misconceived as unhealthy, but many unsaturated fats serve an essential role in cardiovascular health and protection. Avocados are composed of around 71% of monounsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol and reduce risk of heart attack and stroke. (1213)
  • Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs): PUFAs help to lower triglyceride levels, slow buildup of plaque in your arteries, reduce the risk of developing heart arrhythmias, and modestly lower blood pressure. (14)
  • Magnesium and Potassium: Avocados are an excellent source of potassium (21%) and a good source of magnesium (11%). Proper intake of both helps to reduce blood pressure. (15)
  • Inflammation: Chronic inflammation is a hallmark of several chronic diseases. We discussed one method by which avocados combat inflammation, but another way is through their control of high blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause increased stress on the blood vessels, which in turn causes an inflammatory response. (16)

How Avocados Prevent Diabetes

Due to avocados composition being almost entirely healthy fats and fiber, they provide very few carbs and minimally contribute to blood sugar levels. This makes them a great resource for diabetes prevention. (17)

  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids- Omega 6s are one of the two commonly studied PUFAs for health benefits. Consumption of omega 6s reduce your risk of diabetes. (18) It is important to note that consumption of omega 6s should also be accompanied by omega 3s for optimal cardiovascular health.

Avocados Promote a Number of Health Benefits

How Avocados Promote Digestion

Avocados are an excellent source of fiber, which has been shown to aid in digestion by regulating bowel movements and promoting gut health.

  • Prebiotic: Avocados are an excellent source of soluble fiber. Half of a medium-size avocado can provide 2g of soluble fiber. (19) Soluble fibers, such as pectin, are an excellent prebiotic. Prebiotics serve as a food source for the good bacteria in our guts.  Maintaining a healthy microbiome is essential for digestive health and can help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. (20)

How Avocados Promote Immune Health

Several nutrients in avocados contribute to the health of your body’s immune system.

  • Glutathione: Glutathione, an antioxidant, protects immune cells from cellular damage and is necessary for the function of lymphocytes. (21)
  • Vitamin C: Sufficient Vitamin C is essential for the function of several cells in the immune system. (22)

Concerns With Avocados

  • Avocados are almost entirely composed of fat, and are therefore high in calories. Avoid overconsumption.
  • Less of a concern, but many excellent nutrients can be found in the seed of avocados, and should be looked into for enhanced health benefits.
  • The darker green layer, which is outside the flesh of the avocado and near the skin, is where a majority of the protein and other nutrients can be found.
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