The Health Benefits of Avocados

The Health Benefits of AvocadosI love avocados. They are easily one of my very favorite foods. When I can find good ones, I consume them almost daily. I reach for avocados because they taste wonderful. Their rich buttery texture and distinctive taste pare wonderfully with an assortment of other foods.

In our family we consume them in a wide variety of ways. We eat avocados plain or with a sprinkle of salt. We make them into guacamole or chocolate pudding. We dice them and add them to salads, chili, eggs, and soups. They’re really a fantastic addition to so many different dishes.

Not only do avocados taste amazing, but here’s the wonderful bonus: they carry with them some fantastic health benefits. To start, avocados are full of monosaturated fatty acids (the same as is found in olives), and are especially high in oleic acid. If you leave them uncooked, avocados are a raw source of these fats, which the body may utilize differently than their cooked counterparts. Since so many of the fats we eat are cooked, this can be an additional benefit. Avocados are linked to reduced inflammation and may have positive benefits on certain forms of cancer (Gunnars, 2015; Mercola, 2013).

The fats present in avocados can also help your body to absorb the fat-soluble nutrients in the other foods that you pair them with. For example, the carotenoids in foods such as carrots and leafy greens are better absorbed when paired with a fatty food, such as avocados (GMF, 2015). Avocados are high in fiber, and as such can help reduce blood sugar spikes, improve digestion, contribute to maintaining a healthy weight, and lower the risk of many diseases (Gunnars, 2015). Avocados also support a healthy cardiovascular system and can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels (Ware, 2015).

Avocados contain 20 different vitamins and minerals, including more potassium than bananas, which supports healthy blood pressure levels (Gunnars, 2015). The antioxidant-rich avocado, which contains Lutein and Zeaxanthin – both linked to reduced incidence of cataracts and macular degeneration, can also help to protect your eyes (Ware, 2015).

If you’re not familiar with avocados, here are a few tips: you can tell if an avocado is ripe if it yields to gentle pressure on its skin; an avocado that feels completely hard is not yet ripe. If you buy unripe avocados and leave them sitting on your counter for a few days, they should ripen up nicely. Only after they are ripe should you store them in the refrigerator (this will help to keep them from getting overripe too quickly). When ready to eat, the fruit should not be mushy, and the skin should not be cracked or wrinkled. The peel and the seeds of avocados are not eaten, but the green fruit removed from the inside is heavenly. When you’re preparing to eat an avocado, you should note that the healthiest part of the avocado is the darker part of the fruit that is closest to the peel – so be careful not to leave it behind (GMF, 2015).

 

What are your favorite ways to eat avocados? I’d love to hear of some other ways to eat these delicious, healthy fruits.

 

Sources:

The George Mateljan Foundation (GMF) (2015). Avocados. The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Gunnars, Kris (2015). 12 Proven Benefits of Avocado (No. 5 is Very Impressive). Authority Nutrition: An Evidence Based Approach.

Mercola, J. (2013, January 17). The Many Health Benefits of Avocado. Mercola.com.

Ware, M. (2015, June 21). Avocados: Health Benefits, Health Risks. MedicalNewsToday.com.

2 thoughts on “The Health Benefits of Avocados

  1. Lesley

    Wow so much information about avocados I did not know. Great post. I just discovered a great use for over ripe ones that you can’t eat. Add some nutritional yeast, egg yolk and honey and you have the best mask. Super shiny and soft hair. Better than conditioner. All those vitamins and nutrients for your face. A free evening at the spa when the kids are asleep.

    • That sounds like a fantastic use for overripe avocados! I’ll keep that in mind if we end up with one that doesn’t get eaten.

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