There was a point in time when avocados were shunned. “But why?” you ask. Well, unlike most other fruits, which are loaded with carbohydrates, avocado is extremely high in fats, and the word “fat,” as we know, usually comes attached with heavy negative connotations.
Thankfully, numerous scientific studies have come to the rescue of this once misunderstood fruit, underscoring just how healthy avocados can be. Here are 10 different health benefits of including avocado in one’s diets, all supported by scientific research:
1. Avocados are extremely nutritious
Praised for its high nutrient value, avocado is surging in popularity amongst health-conscious consumers.
While there are several avocado types out there, ranging in size, color and even taste, the Haas avocado is by far the most popular. An avocado contains 20 different vitamins and minerals, with a single 3.5-ounce (100 gram) serving providing:
– Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
– Folate: 20% of the DV
– Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
– Potassium: 14% of the DV
– Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
– Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
– Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
Other amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).
Moreover, each portion contains 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. In terms of carbs, while a portion contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber, so there are only 2 “net” carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.
Topping it off, avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat.
2. Avocados contain more potassium than a banana!
We have all grown up thinking of banana as the solution for more potassium, but statistically an avocado serving packs 14% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), compared to 10% of a banana.
A number of studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
3. Avocado gives you plenty of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids
A total of 77% of the calories in an avocado are from fat, making this green-skinned fruit one of the fattiest plant foods out there.
But, it’s also important to note that the majority of this far is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that is thought to be the responsible cause of olive oil’s key healthy benefits.
Ever noticed avocado oil is now a thing? The reason for this is simple: the fats in avocado are also rather resistant to heat-induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe choice for cooking.
4. Need fiber? Eat an avocado!
If you need more fiber in your diet than turn to no other fruit than avocado, for it is rich in this indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikesand has strong links to lowered risk of disease.
In total, 7% of an avocado’s entire weight is fiber, directly contributing to improving your metabolic health!
5. Eating avocados can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Heart disease is known as the most common cause of death on our planet, with several blood markers linked to an increased risk. These include cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure and various others.
Eight controlled studies in people have investigated the effects of avocado on some of these risk factors, with the results showing that that avocados can:
– Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly.
– Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%.
– Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%.
– Increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by up to 11%.
6. Avocados dramatically increase the nutrient values of other plant foods.
On top of ensuring that what you eat is healthy, it also matters to pay attention to how you body absorbs these nutrients so that they can be used by your body effectively.
Some nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized. One particular study showed that adding avocado or avocado oil to either salad or salsa can increase antioxidant absorption 2.6- to 15-fold!
In conclusion, on top of being very nutritious, the avocado can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you are eating.
7. Avocados are loaded with antioxidants
Avocados are high in antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients are very important for eye health and lower your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
8. Avocados may help to prevent cancer
Specific test-tube studies have shown that nutrients in avocados may have benefits in preventing prostate cancer and lowering side effects of chemotherapy. While human-based research is lacking, this shows further promise as to the avocado’s health benefits.
9. Avocado consumption has been linked to weight loss
Are avocados a weight-loss food? Some studies seem to prove so. In one particular study people eating avocado with a meal felt 23% more satisfied and had a 28% lower desire to eat over the next 5 hours, compared to people who did not consume this fruit.
Do not forget what we covered earlier too: avocados are also high in fiber and very low in carbs, two attributes that should help promote weight loss as well, at least in the context of a healthy, real-food-based diet.
10. Avocados taste great and are easy to add to your diet!
Let’s forget health for a second. While we know that not everybody loves avocados, most fans of the fruit praise it for is delicious taste and versatility with a wide variety of different foods and cuisines.
You can add avocados to any of the Square Roots Kitchen salads, wraps or bowls, adding to an already superb and healthy flavor. They can be incorporated in Mexican and Asian dishes with ease, or added to sandwiches, burgers and toast for extra flavor. Or, you could keep it simple and scoop an avocado out with a spoon and add a touch of lemon, salt and pepper for a quick healthy and tasty snack. And, of course, avocado is the central ingredient of guacamole!
When it is all said and done, avocados are an excellent food, loaded with nutrients that can be found lacking in many modern diets. They’re weight loss friendly, heart healthy and, last but not least, taste incredible.
At Square Roots Kitchen every salad, wrap and bowl is fully customizable, but we love avocado and its health benefits so much that you will already find it as an ingredient in many of our base menu items, including the Cowboy Steak, Spring, Southwestern, Steak Cobb and Chicken Caesar recipes.