Did you know that avocados are considered a “super food” because they are an excellent source of energy and contain a number of essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, B6, B-12, A, D, K, E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and zinc—whew! Talk about health benefits of avocados.
Somewhat surprisingly, avocados are also a great source of dietary fiber. Just half of one avocado can provide more than 40% of one’s daily requirement for fiber. They’re also a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids (good fats), and have a low sugar content, despite technically being a fruit.
I never really paid much attention to the health benefits of avocados until about two years ago when I moved to South Florida. It was then that I realized these ugly little wrinkled pear-looking things were the epitome of complete, healthy deliciousness!
So now that we know how much I totally dig a good, perfectly-ripened Hass variety, let’s look at some of the health benefits of avocados:
Avocados Lower Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
According to the results of a study conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), avocado consumption can help lower one’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a disease that’s characterized by the presence of at least 3 key symptoms—high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels (specifically high triglycerides and high “bad” cholesterol with low levels of “good” cholesterol) and fasting blood sugar levels that are high enough to be in the pre-diabetic range.
If left unchecked, metabolic syndrome can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, pancreatitis, and even death. Avocados can help lower one’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome because their unique antioxidant properties work to reduce inflammation and support a healthy cardiovascular system. The health benefits of avocados also include a high concentration of good fats and very low cholesterol, both of which are helpful for lowering triglyceride levels and elevating “good” cholesterol.
Avocados Have Anti-Aging Properties
Avocados naturally contain plant-based antioxidant compounds like xanthophyll, which scientific studies suggest may reduce the signs of aging on various parts of your body, such as your face, neck, and upper chest. Many of the vitamins and minerals found in avocados are associated with reducing UV-induced inflammation of the skin, and the high levels of beta-carotene in avocados can help protect skin from sun damage, air pollutants, and other enemies of healthy skin.
Additionally, avocados enhance the anti-aging effects of other fruits and vegetables by promoting better absorption of their key antioxidant molecules, like carotenoid. In fact, the absorption of beneficial antioxidants from other vegetables increases three to five times when they’re eaten with avocados! The health benefits of avocados include better absorption which leads to better defense against free radicals that can damage your cells and cause pre-mature aging. So the next time you have a salad, try adding some sliced avocado. You can enjoy a delicious, super-filling salad and help refresh your skin in the process.
Avocados Can Protect Your Liver
After years of research, Japanese scientists discovered that avocados contain potent chemicals that may reduce damage to the liver. Specifically, avocados showed signs of being a lucrative treatment for viral hepatitis—so much so that avocados may be used in the manufacturing of new drugs to Hepatitis.
While the health benefits of avocados were most successful at diminishing liver damage caused by viruses like Hepatitis C, extract from the fruit was found to assist reparative properties in healthy livers, as well.
So there you have it; three great health benefits of avocados and three great reasons to eat an avocado today.