Avocado benefits have a lot. Because avocados are high in fat with 60 percent of this being monounsaturated fats, which research suggests help to protect against heart disease and lower blood pressure. They are also an excellent source of potassium, folate, and fiber, all of which benefit the heart and cardiovascular system. Here we are going to discuss the benefits of avocado and its side effects.
Avocado Benefits for Health
Healthy for the heart
In every 100 g of avocado, there are 76 milligrams of a natural plant sterol is 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 zeaxanthin, 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.
It may help prevent osteoporosis
Half an avocado provides approximately 18% 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.
Components may prevent cancer
Studies have not yet assessed a direct link between avocado consumption and a reduction in cancer risk. However, avocados do contain compounds that may help prevent the onset of some cancers.
Research has associated an optimal intake of folate with a reduced risk of developing colon, stomach, pancreatic, and cervical cancers. However, the mechanism behind this association remains unclear. Half of an avocado contains roughly 59 mcg of folate, 15% of the daily value.
Avocados also contain high levels of phytochemicals and carotenoids, which may have anticancer properties. Studies have shown that carotenoids, specifically, may protect against cancer progression.
A 2013 review highlighted the potential benefits of avocado consumption in relation to breast, oral, and throat cancers. However, these associations are typically the result of test-tube studies, not controlled human trials. Further research is necessary to confirm these associations.
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) of folate per day when pregnant. One avocado may contain as much as 160 mcg. Avocados also contain fatty acids that are integral to a healthy diet and fetal development.
Reducing depression risk
Avocados are a good source of folate, 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 research have linked excess homocysteine with cognitive dysfunction, depression, and the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.
Avocados are high in fiber, containing approximately 6–7 g per half fruit. Eating foods with natural fiber can help prevent constipation, maintain digestive tract health, and lower the risk of colon cancer.
Adequate fiber promotes regular bowel movements, which are crucial for the excretion of toxins through the bile and stool. Studies 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.
Avocados, soy, and some other plant foods contain saponins. These substances may have a positive effect on the knee and hip osteoarthritis symptoms. However, researchers have not yet confirmed the long-term effects of saponins in people with osteoarthritis.
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, research 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.
100g Avocado Nutrition Facts
- Calories: 160
- Fat: 14.7g
- Sodium: 7mg
- Carbohydrates: 8.5g
- Fiber: 6.7g
- Sugars: 0.7g
- Protein: 2g
- Magnesium: 29mg
- Potassium: 485mg
- Vitamin C: 10mg
- Vitamin E: 2.1mg
- Vitamin K: 21µg
Most of the carbohydrates in an avocado come from fiber. A whole avocado provides about 17 grams of carbohydrates and 13.4 grams of fiber. There is very little sugar in an avocado (less than one gram) and the rest of the carbohydrate in the fruit comes from starch. The glycemic index for avocado is estimated to be around zero, making it a low-glycemic food.
A whole avocado provides roughly 30 grams of fat, 4.2 grams of saturated fat, almost 20 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 3.6 grams of polyunsaturated fat. So, while most of the calories in an avocado come from fat, they are mostly in the form of healthier monounsaturated fat.
Monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs come from plant sources and may be helpful in lowering your LDL or “bad” cholesterol. For this reason, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that you choose foods with monounsaturated fats instead of saturated fat.
Half an avocado provides about 2 grams of protein. While it’s not a high-protein food, it can still help you meet your desired protein intake.
Vitamins and Minerals
If you consume a few slices of avocado, it won’t provide substantial vitamins or minerals because the amount eaten is so small. But a whole avocado is a good source of vitamins K, E, and C.
Avocado also contains folate, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Minerals in avocados include magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and magnesium.
The number of calories in avocado will depend on its size. The avocado nutrition facts shown are for half of a medium-sized avocado, but many avocados are smaller and some can be much larger (up to 300 grams or more).
According to the USDA Nutrient Database, there are 322 calories in a larger (200-gram) avocado. In general, an average avocado ranges from 200 to 300 calories according to the Cleveland Clinic.
If you spread a thin layer of avocado on your sandwich or add a small amount to your healthy taco, you are probably consuming roughly 30 grams or about two tablespoons of fruit.
Avocado Side Effects
Not good for pregnant and breastfeeding women
Avocado may seem like it’s good for every situation, but the truth is that it should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. Avocado reduces milk production and has even been known to damage the mammary gland. Not to mention that babies’ stomachs are too sensitive to ingest avocado or its remnants.
Possible weight gain
While they are healthy fats, if you eat too many avocados, you could find yourself packing on the pounds. They are actually very high in calories.
Avocado contains two components called estragole and anethole, which can cause damage to your liver.
If you eat large quantities of avocado, it can actually interfere with the effectiveness of any anti-inflammatory medications that you’re taking. This is a big potential danger because let’s face it if you eat an avocado, chances are you’ll eat a lot!
People with a particular stomach may find that when they eat avocado, they experience some discomfort. It is usually in the form of bloating or flatulence. So make sure to be careful about eating it before going on any dates!
There are very unfortunate people who may even experience an allergic reaction to the wonder that is avocado. If they do, they are likely to have symptoms like hives, swollen skin, eczema, and itching.
If you have latex intolerance, then you should avoid avocado. Avocado is known to increase the level of serum IgE, which will heighten your sensitivity to avocado.
Lowers HDL cholesterol
Although it is one of the good fats, avocado actually works against you when it comes to avocado. It lowers levels of HDL cholesterol, which is the good type that your body needs.
In general, avocado works as a blood thinner, which if you’re not careful, can develop into a health issue. You need to be especially careful if you take any medications because avocados may interact negatively with them.
If you are a person with hypersensitivity, then avocado is another thing you should avoid. It has been shown to increase the effects and intensity of hypersensitivity.
You do want to have potassium, but everything is all about the right amounts and balance. Avocados have a lot of potassium, which is perfect for when you’re trying to raise your levels, but make sure that you don’t consume too much!