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Avocado Health Benefits
As published by Medical News Today
- Rich in nutrients
Avocados are a source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids. Avocados contain high levels of healthy, beneficial fats, which can help a person feel fullerTrusted Source between meals. Eating fat slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable.
Roughly half an avocado, or 100 grams (g) contains:
- Healthy for the heart
In every 100 g of avocado there are 76 milligramsTrusted Source of a natural plant sterol called beta sitosterol. Regularly consuming beta sitosterol and other plant sterols may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, which are important for heart health.
- Great for vision
Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthinTrusted Source, two phytochemicals present in eye tissue. They provide antioxidant protection to help minimize damage, including from UV light. The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados also support the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta carotene. As a result, adding avocados to the diet may help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
- May help prevent osteoporosis
Half an avocado provides approximately 18%Trusted Source of the daily value of vitamin K. This nutrient is often overlooked but is essential for bone health. Taking in enough vitamin K can support bone health by increasing calcium absorption and reducing the urinary excretion of calcium.
- Supporting fetal health
Folate is important for a healthy pregnancy. Adequate intake reduces the risk of miscarriage and neural tube abnormalities. Consume at least 600 micrograms (mcg)Trusted Source of folate per day when pregnant. One avocado may contain as much as 160 mcgTrusted Source. Avocados also contain fatty acids that are integralTrusted Source to a healthy diet and fetal development.
- Reducing depression risk
Avocados are a good source of folateTrusted Source, which plays an important role in overall dietary health. Studies have also found links between low folate levels and depression. Folate helps prevent the buildup of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. Reviews of past researchTrusted Source have linked excess homocysteine with cognitive dysfunction, depression, and the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.
- Improving digestion
Avocados are high in fiber, containing approximately 6–7 gTrusted Source per half fruit. Eating foods with natural fiber can help prevent constipation, maintain digestive tract health, and lower the risk of colon cancer.
- Natural detoxification
Adequate fiber promotes regular bowel movements, which are crucial for the excretion of toxins through the bile and stool. StudiesTrusted Source have shown that dietary fiber also promotes good gut health and microbial diversity. This helps the body maintain a healthy bacterial balance. This can reduce inflammation and aggravation of the digestive tract.
- Osteoarthritis relief
Avocados, soy, and some other plant foods contain saponins. These substances may have a positive effect on knee and hip osteoarthritis symptoms. However, researchers have not yet confirmed the long-term effects of saponins in people with osteoarthritis.
- Antimicrobial action
Avocados and avocado oil contain substances that have antimicrobial properties. Research shows that avocado seed extracts can help defend the body against both Streptococcus agalactiae and Staphylococcus aureus infections, for example.
- Protection from chronic disease
The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados may be beneficial in preventing chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Meanwhile, researchTrusted Source suggests that an optimal intake of fiber may reduce the risk of stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases, and avocados are rich in fiber. The right fiber intake can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance weight loss for people with obesity.