Awesome avocados: 14 health benefits of adding the fruit to your diet

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While avocados are not native to India, they are readily available in the country and gaining popularity due to their many wonderful benefits. Avocados have a nice and nutty taste and many people love to add them to their meals – toast, scrambled eggs, salads and soups while others have it in its original form as a fruit. A recent study published in Journal of American Heart Association followed more than 11,000 women and men for more than 30 years and found that higher avocado intake was associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. It is said that even half an avocado a week had protective qualities. (Also read: Recipe: Move over regular chaat, surprise your tastebuds with Avocado Aloo Chaat)

Avocados are a nutrient‐dense fruit, containing dietary fibre, potassium, magnesium, MUFA, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as phytonutrients and bioactive compounds, which have been independently associated with cardiovascular health.

“Avocados are a bit like one of the finest fruits ever assembled by mother nature. They’re not only delicious — but they also contain a fabulous and nutritious symphony of components that combine to create a nourishing, satisfying feeling. For example, avocado oil, a cup of avocado provides 10 grams of fibre and 21 g fats,” says Dietician & Nutritionist Dr. Poonam Duneja and Founder Nutrifybypoonam Diet & Wellness Clinic in an email interview with HT Digital.

She also talks about the other health benefits of avocados:

There are many health benefits of having an avocado per day. Few of them are as follows:

1. Lower BMI: Studies have found that avocado consumers tend to have higher nutrient intake and lower rates of metabolic syndrome. They also have lower weight, lower BMI, less belly fat, and higher levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol.

2. Rich in antioxidants: Some nutrients are fat-soluble. That means you should consume them with fats so your body can properly absorb them. Avocados are rich in carotenoids and have antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene.

Avocados are rich in carotenoids and have antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene.(Pixabay)
Avocados are rich in carotenoids and have antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene.(Pixabay)

3. Anticarcinogenic: A 2015 Cancer research study has found that avocatin B, a compound derived from avocado, can help kill leukemia cells.

4. Reduces your risk of heart disease: Eating one avocado per day can significantly reduce serum LDL cholesterol levels. Avocados may also aid in weight loss if combined with good physical activity.

5. Improves satiety levels: Studies have found that people eating avocado with a meal felt 23% more satisfied which improve their satiety levels.

Must try: Avocado toast(Pixabay)
Must try: Avocado toast(Pixabay)

6. Avocados may boost brain health and memory: The fruit is rich in oleic acid (or OEA), an omega-9 fatty acid that’s linked to improved cognition. Studies have found that omega-9 fatty acids can enhance memory.

7. Reduces the risk of depression: Eating monounsaturated fats have been shown to reduce depression. (And balancing fat intake may control depression) And the high amount of folate is helpful to help maintain your brain’s feel-good chemicals, dopamine and serotonin.

8. Prevents neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s: Studies in neurobiology have found that the “diverse array of bioactive nutrients” present in avocados play a key role in the prevention and cure of these types of diseases.

You can even add them to your breakfast(Pixabay)
You can even add them to your breakfast(Pixabay)

9. Keeps your eyes healthy as you age: The fruit is rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help protect and maintain healthy cells in your eyes. Avocado can help boost macular pigment with age.

10. Prevents gum disease: Studies have found that key ingredients in avocados may enhance protective effects against periodontal disease.

11. Eases the pain of osteoarthritis: Omega-3 in avocados can help patients with arthritis of the hip or knee.

Avocados can also be added to salads(Pixabay)
Avocados can also be added to salads(Pixabay)

12. Avocados can combat metabolic syndrome: Metabolic syndrome is an assortment of linked issues including high blood sugar, high serum cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high body mass index, which may lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It was found that the “lipid‐lowering, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, anti‐obesity, antithrombotic, antiatherosclerotic, and cardioprotective effects of avocado” can help protect against this syndrome.

13. Reduces liver damage: Avocados contain chemicals that can protect against liver toxins. And avocados may also reduce the liver damage caused by the hepatitis C virus.

14. Great for pregnant women: Avocados are high in folate and potassium (typically under-consumed in maternal diets) as well as fibre, monounsaturated fats, and lipid-soluble antioxidants — all of which are tied to improvements in maternal health, birth outcomes, and quality of breast milk.

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