Health Benefits of Avocados

Avocados pack nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals.

Person cooking guacamole in kitchen at home. Hands close-up revealing the avocado's pit.

Tatiana Maksimova / Getty Images

The avocado, also known as Persea americana, is a powerhouse superfood. Avocados contain healthy fats, anti-aging, disease-fighting antioxidants, and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.

Regular avocado eaters have higher intakes of fiber, vitamins E and K, magnesium, and potassium than those who don't eat avocados.

Here are nine health benefits of avocados and how to incorporate them into your daily meals and snacks.

Benefits of Avocado

Avocados, technically fruits, provide more than important nutrients. They reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and living with obesity and improve cognitive function and digestive health.

1. Boosts Satiety

Eating healthy fats helps slow stomach emptying, which keeps you full longer than usual and delays the return of hunger. This satisfied feeling is known as satiety. Avocados, whose fat content primarily comes from heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), fit that bill.

Adding half of an avocado to your meal may significantly boost satiety for up to five hours.

2. Helps Manage Body Weight

The notion that eating fat makes you gain weight is wrong. Eating healthy fats is a savvy weight management strategy. Having one avocado a day in a calorie-controlled diet for 12 weeks, while adding fat and calories, didn't prevent weight loss.

Plant-based fats like those in an avocado provide antioxidants and fight inflammation, which has been linked to healthy weight management. Eating avocados regularly may help you to maintain a healthy weight, even without eating fewer calories. Regular avocado eaters generally have a more nutritious diet—consuming more veggies and fruits and less refined foods—and have lower body weight and a smaller waist circumference than those who don't eat avocados.

Avocados increase your soluble and insoluble fiber intake. Soluble fiber slows down digestion and the absorption of ingested fats and carbohydrates. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, adds bulk to your stool and helps to eliminate digested food from your intestines.

Over time, eating avocados reduces the ratio of visceral fat to subcutaneous fat, which is found just under the skin. This reduction means fat is being redistributed away from the organs.

3. Protects Your Heart

Consuming an avocado has heart-protective effects by improving your lipid profile. Eating one avocado a day for five weeks reduces total cholesterol, lowers "bad" cholesterol—low-density lipoproteins or LDL—and raises "good" cholesterol—high-density lipoproteins or HDL—in people who are overweight or living with obesity. Eating avocado regularly improves your lipid profile—lowering triglycerides and LDL and raising HDL.

Avocados are an excellent source of potassium—a micronutrient that helps reduce blood pressure. A balance between increasing potassium and decreasing sodium can help treat high blood pressure.

4. Prevents Diabetes Complications

If you have type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance, the higher your blood glucose level rises, the more your body produces insulin to lower your blood sugar. Adding avocado to your meals can prevent insulin and blood glucose levels from rising following the consumption of a meal. Even just adding half an avocado prevents the rise in insulin and glucose.

Avocado consumption over time may also reduce belly fat, or visceral fat. Visceral fat cushions the organs in your abdominal region and is tied to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Try replacing the calories from carbohydrates with avocados, not only do you get the added nutrients, but you lower your carbohydrate intake.

5. Boosts Nutrients

Enjoying avocados at mealtime can help your body absorb more antioxidants from other healthy foods. Pairing avocado with tomato sauce and carrots boosts the absorption of vitamin A, which is a crucial nutrient for healthy skin, vision, and immunity.

Avocados may also help support a healthier diet overall. Regular avocado eaters tend to consume more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. People who consume avocados have significantly high intakes of the following nutrients:

  • Fiber
  • Healthful monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin E

6. Promotes Healthy Digestion

Avocados positively impact the gut microbiome inside your digestive tract, home to trillions of microorganisms and their genetic material. A healthy gut microbiome strengthens immune function, fights inflammation, and protects against chronic diseases.

A 12-week meal plan containing avocados resulted in positive changes to the gut microbiome over the 12 weeks—increasing the overall microbe amount and diversity—supporting gut health.

Also, while this meal plan slightly increased the calories, the waste excreted more fat. In other words, the gut didn't absorb the fat into the bloodstream, which may be another way avocados contribute to weight management.

7. Increases Brain Function

Avocado is rich in a phytochemical called lutein—a pigment related to beta carotene and vitamin A. You may know lutein as one of the two major carotenoids found in the eye. The other place lutein is found is the brain.

In older adults, eating one avocado a day for six months improved performance on memory tests. However, taking a lutein supplement did not give the same results, so something in the avocado improved brain function.

8. Protects Your Eyes

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants found in is your eyes, specifically in the macular pigment, which is what gives your eyes the ability to fine-tune your vision.

Eating one avocado a day for six months increases the amount of macular pigment that results from the increase in zeaxanthin. In addition, avocados seem to increase the absorption of lutein better than taking just a lutein supplement, likely due to the healthy fats.

9. Anti-Cancer Properties

As pointed out earlier, avocados are rich in antioxidants. Extracts of avocado pulp or the fruit have been found to have cancer fighting properties. An extract containing several antioxidants, including lutein, zeaxanthin, beta carotene, and vitamin E, stopped the growth of prostate cancer cells. Another extract killed oral cancer cells.

Nutrition of Avocado

One whole avocado—without the skin and seed—provides the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 322 calories
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 17 grams
  • Folate: 163 micrograms
  • Vitamin K: 42 micrograms
  • Vitamin C: 20 milligrams
  • Vitamin E: 4 milligrams
  • Potassium: 975 milligrams
  • Magnesium: 58 milligrams

Over 300 calories for one avocado may seem like a lot, but they primarily come from almost 30 grams of healthy fat. Most of the carbohydrates are 13 grams of fiber, which is half the recommended amount for an adult. On average, one Haas avocado has 30% soluble fiber and 70% insoluble fiber.

Just one avocado provides an impressive number of vitamins. The amount of folate, one of the many B vitamins responsible for energy metabolism and new cell production, is 40% of the daily value. Avocado has over 30% of the daily value for vitamin K, necessary for blood clotting and bone health. The amount of vitamin C is over 20% of the daily value of the water-soluble antioxidant that supports immune health and aids collagen synthesis to promote wound healing. The four milligrams of vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that supports cell structure, is 26% of the daily value for vitamin E.

Avocados also contain minerals. Nearly 30% of the daily value of potassium and almost 20% of the daily value of magnesium, a mineral essential for structural and chemical reactions in the human body, is in this fruit.

Tips for Consuming Avocados

Avocados can be eaten alone or added to dishes, but there are many ways to enjoy them, including in sweet dishes. 

Avocados can be whipped into fruit smoothies or chocolate pudding and added to fruit tacos.

They can even be substituted for butter when baking. Trade each tablespoon of butter in recipes for brownies and cupcakes for half a tablespoon of avocado. That swap slashes calories, upgrades the nutritional quality of your goodies, and still provides a creamy texture that will leave you satisfied.

A Quick Review

Avocados are delicious fruits that function as a healthy fat, packed with nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals. People who regularly eat avocados have higher intakes of fiber, vitamins E and K, magnesium, and potassium than people who don't eat them. 

You can add avocados to sandwiches, tacos, or on top of toast. You can even incorporate avocados into sweet treats like brownies. 

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