Not just weight loss: An avocado a day keeps diseases away

Also known as 'butter fruit' or 'alligator pear', avocado is the hot favourite and must-have in the kitchen for every health (and social media) enthusiast.

Myupchar November 04, 2019 17:36:24 IST
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Not just weight loss: An avocado a day keeps diseases away
  • Avocados can help you lose weight by making you feel full for longer

  • Loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids and 20 minerals and vitamins, avocados offer many health benefits

  • Lutein and zeaxanthin, two main phytochemicals present the eye tissues, are also present in avocados

When we talk about healthy foods, the first thing that comes to mind is fruits or green vegetables. (One can never go wrong with them, of course.) But if you want to know which is the best of the lot - an avocado, no doubt, will top the list.

Also known as "butter fruit" or "alligator pear", avocado is the hot favourite and must-have in the kitchen for every health (and social media) enthusiast. And with good reason!

Not just weight loss An avocado a day keeps diseases away

Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

Avocados can help you lose weight by making you feel full for longer. Loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids and 20 minerals and vitamins, avocados offer many health benefits. Let’s find out what nutritional values and health benefits have made avocados so trendy. 

1. Avocados are full of nutrients

Avocados are a great source of many vitamins and minerals. Other than being rich in vitamins C, E, K and B6, avocados also contain riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, potassium, lutein, beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids. 

The National Nutrient Database of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirms that eating 40 grams of avocado supplies:

  • 6 grams of fats
  • 64 calories
  • 3.4 grams of carbohydrates 
  • 3 grams of fibre
  • 0.06 grams of sugar

Avocados provide healthy fats which improve our skin health and help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and many other nutrients.

2. Improve our vision

Lutein and zeaxanthin, two main phytochemicals present the eye tissues, are also present in avocados. They reduce the damage from ultraviolet light and other agents by providing antioxidant protection. Avocados also lower the risk of macular degeneration due to ageing because the monounsaturated fatty acids present in avocados help in the smooth absorption of fat-soluble antioxidants.

3. Prevent osteoporosis

Though often neglected, vitamin K plays an important role in maintaining healthy bones as it increases calcium absorption and reduces calcium loss through urinary excretion. Eating half of an avocado will fulfil almost 25% of our daily need of vitamin K. This helps in fighting off osteoporosis.

4. Protect against cancer

Research has shown that folate helps protect against mutations in DNA and RNA during cell division. Reportedly, consuming folate also provides protection against certain types of cancers like colon, stomach, cervical and pancreatic cancers. 

Avocados are folate-rich and according to some research findings, avocados are also rich in certain types of phytochemicals that can check the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells and also reduce the chromosomal damage caused by a chemotherapy drug called cyclophosphamide.

5. Remove toxins and improve digestion

Though avocados are known for their buttery texture, they are rich in fibres. Eating half of an avocado provides 6-7 grams of fibre. The dietary fibre present in avocados not only helps in detoxification of our body but also strengthens our immunity and reduces inflammation problems.

Studies have also shown that the intake of fibre-rich diets protects us from many chronic diseases like coronary heart disease, obesity, hypertension, strokes, diabetes, and some of the gastrointestinal diseases. Including high-fibre foods in our diet lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, helps in weight loss and improves our insulin sensitivity.

6. Work as an anti-depressant

As previously discussed, avocados are rich in folate. Folate also helps in reducing the risk of depression by preventing the build-up of homocysteine. Homocysteine not only hinders the delivery of nutrients to the brain but also affects the production of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine which control our mood, sleep and hunger.

7. Boost cognitive functioning

According to a recent study published in the journal Nutrients, eating an avocado a day can boost the lutein levels by 25% in adults. Lutein, a carotenoid benefits the brain health, improves the attention levels and sharpens the memory and processing speed. 

According to the research, lutein levels increased by about 25% in adults above the age of 50 years who ate an avocado a day for six months. The study suggested that avocados are a rich source of monounsaturated fats, fibre, lutein and other bioactive substances which are not only good for our vision but also improve our brain health.

8. Help manage type 2 diabetes

According to a study published in the Nutrition Journal, avocados are low in carbs and high in fibre and have little effect on blood sugar levels. Eating half an avocado provides 5.9 grams of carbohydrates and 4.6 grams of fibre. A review of 15 studies published in the Journal of The American Board Of Family Medicine found that fibre supplements can reduce fasting sugar levels and A1c levels in type 2 diabetes patients. (A1c is a type of haemoglobin - prediabetics and diabetics typically have higher A1c.) 

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article Fruits for Diabetes Management.

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