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What Are the Health Benefits of Avocado?

What Are the Health Benefits of Avocado?

Avocados became popular as a food in Southern Mexico in the late 1800’s, but the first uses of avocados can be traced back to the Rio Grande and Central Peru. In 1696 it was reported to be a great source of food in Jamaica and by the end of the 16th Century avocados made their way to the Philippines.

The official scientific name for the avocado is Persea Americana Mill, but it has the colloquial nicknames: “Midshipman’s Butter” and “Butter Pear”. Trees that bear avocados can grow up to anywhere from 30 to 60 feet tall, and there are many different types of avocados to choose from depending on where you live. There are the medium to large size Butler Avocados, which are pear-shaped and grow in Puerto Rico. There is also the medium pear-shaped Maoz Avocados which are grown in Israel. The large and thick Anaheim Avocados are either oval or elliptical in shape and are grown in Israel or Australia.

Avocados Promote Weight Loss

Avocados contain monounstaurated fatty acids (or MUFA), and are rich in dietary fiber (2.1 grams), essential nutrients and phytochemicals. In one study where there were 24-hour dietary recalls 17,567 adults were tested for their diet quality. 347 of those tested were avocado consumers, and these consumers were found to have higher intakes of fruit, vegetables, dietary fiber and multiple vitamins as well as lower intakes of added sugars. Another study found that avocado fruit extract acts as a hypolipidemic agent, targeting the liver to give it more support. Regular avocado consumption can lead to an increase of lipoprotein lipase activity.

Another Tremendous Health Benefit of Avocado: Pregnancy and Infancy Aid

Avocado has proven to be very helpful for pregnant and nursing mothers. According to the California Avocado Commission, avocados are free of sodium, sugar and cholesterol and are very child-friendly. The sweet buttery taste of avocados is usually received well by infants and young children. Avocados contain 8% of the recommended daily value for folate, 4% in fiber, potassium and Vitamin E. Well-renowned pediatricians Bill and Jim Sears selected avocados as the #1 recommended fruit for infants. A study found that avocados contain lipid-soluble antioxidants, which are directly linked to improvements in maternal health, birth outcomes and breast milk quality.

Avocados Are Anti-Inflammatory

The combination of inflammation, joint immobility and pain make up the condition of osteoarthritis. The results of one study were that along with epigallocatechin gallate, a combination of avocado and soybean affected the inflammatory molecules. Concerning the management of osteoarthritis, the avocado and soybean combination proved to reduce already existing pain and stiffness.

A separate study involved 11 health subjects consuming hamburgers containing 250 grams of fat on 2 different occasions. One occasion had the hamburgers containing 68 grams of avocado flesh. 2 hours after consumption of normal hamburgers there was noticed vasoconstriction and an increase of postprondial triglyceride concentration, but there wasn’t any further increase with the avocado flesh.

Avocados May Help Treat Cancer

Phytochemicals play an important role in preventing cancer. Phytochemicals target multiple signaling pathways and increase inracellular reactive oxygen, which leads to apoptosis. Phytochemicals extracted  from avocados induce cell cycle arrest, inhibit cancer growth, and induce apoptosis in cell lines that are precancerous or cancerous. The phytochemicals from avocado fruit can be used as a chemoprotective ingredient for lowering the side effect of chemotherapy like cyclophosphamide.

Avocados Build Immunity

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is linked to building up the body’s immune system. According to American National University avocados contain 27.7 milligrams of glutathione. According to a study held by ANU a single dose of up to 3,000 milligrams of glutathione didn’t lead to an increase in glutathione levels in the blood. Vitamin C primarily helps increase glutathione levels because it supplies the body with a nutrient that is involved in the production of red blood cells. Avocados contain 2.6 milligrams of Vitamin C. The promotion of red blood cell health also involves Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine; avocados contain 0.1 milligrams of this), which makes antibodies, Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin; 0.6 milligrams) and Selenium (0.4 micrograms).

Avocados Provide Skin Protection

The buildup of rough, dry, or dead skin cells would be the skin condition known as Psoriasis. An indicator of this condition would be if you spot reddish pink coloring in areas such as the scalp, elbows, knees, groin or lower back. Psoriasis can either be a long-lasting or a chronic disease that comes and goes. According to the University of Maryland it is suggested that you create a proprietary cream using avocado oil and Vitamin B-12, which may reduce Psoriasis symptoms. According to Oregon State University the amounts of Vitamin C (26 milligrams) and Vitamin E (0.59 milligrams) found avocados can help keep the skin nourished and glowing. Vitamin C and E can also protect the skin from the harmful effects of solar radiation.

Avocados Treat Diabetes

Avocados are nutrient dense that can positively impact the body’s energy balance. A study involved 26 healthy overweight adults consuming a standardized breakfast and then following it up with 1 of 3 lunch test meals. The test meals were controlled meals without avocados, Avocado Inclusive and Avocado Added meals. Blood glucose and insulin levels were tested before lunch and at specific 3 hour intervals after the test meals. Results showed that there were significant differences in how satisfied the participants were in their desire to eat as they had the sense of fullness.

Another study involved the combination of avocado oil and olive oil. Diabetes is the result of metabolic changes, cardiovascular and hepatic factors. The study revealed that avocado oil significantly affected total protein and bilirubin levels as well as having a great effect on alpha-amylase levels.

Avocados Promote Brain Health

Being a monounsaturated fat avocados can lower blood pressure and increase blood flow, which are two factors that can reduce the risk of a person’s cognitive decline. Avocados contain 28 micrograms in Vitamin K, which improves blood flow. Being high in folate avocados are believed to help prevent the formation of brain tangles, one important factor for the development of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to Dr. Daniel G. Amen. The Omega-3 fatty acids in avocados are combined with Vitamin E to effectively treat Alzheimer’s Disease and even prevent it from forming.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.