Now, who doesn’t love avocados? Americans certainly do, on toast specifically. Putting the great taste aside, research has shown the immense nutritional power of the fruit.
Whether you are pregnant or acne-prone or diabetic, nearly everyone can find some benefit from eating avocados. Here are six positive health effects you should know about.
1. They promote healthy weight loss
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are the healthy kind. “Including healthy fats in our meals during our day is important in order to keep us full and satisfied after meals, since fats take longer to digest than carbohydrates or proteins,” said Lori Zanini, a dietitian based in California.
According to a study published in 2013, eating avocado in moderation was associated with lower body weight, BMI, and waist circumference. Experts recommend a small serving size, around 1/3 of a medium avocado.
2. They help rejuvenate the skin
Avocados are rich in antioxidants such as carotenoids, vitamin E and vitamin C, all of which can contribute to healthier skin. However, it is not necessary that you eat them to reap the benefits.
“Avocados are more effective when applied directly to your skin,” suggested Jessica Wu, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist. “That’s because they contain fatty acids that help replenish the skin’s natural protective barrier.”
3. They can improve brain health
“A review of their nutritional profile reads straight from the winning playbook for optimal brain health,” said nutrition expert Ann Kulze, particularly noting nutrients like folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and copper.
The fruit also keeps brain cells healthy and supports the connecting nerves. One study from 2017 linked avocado consumption to better memory and problem-solving skills among older adults.
4. They may reduce heart disease risk
According to Penny M. Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition at Penn State University, including avocados in a moderate-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet may increase heart health benefits.
In her study, participants saw their LDL cholesterol levels decrease, a factor which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. “We need to focus on getting people to eat a healthy diet that includes avocados and other food sources of better fats,” added Kris-Etherton.
5. They help control blood sugar levels
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommended eating avocados as they contain less than one gram of sugar per one ounce serving.
The presence of monounsaturated fats can also improve digestion and prevent the spiking of blood sugar levels. One study published in 2007 noted that these healthy fats may help control blood sugar and insulin levels.
6. They are beneficial for pregnant women
“Avocados are a unique nutrient-rich plant-based food that contain many of the critical nutrients for fetal and infant health and development,” stated a 2016 review. Given that the fruit is a good source of folate, consuming them during pregnancy can potentially reduce the risk of birth defects.
The authors concluded the study, finding that avocados provided “a range of beneficial nutrients that can make a substantial contribution to a nutrient-rich diet,” not only during pregnancy but even the period before conception and early pregnancy.