5 Health Benefits of Avocados

Avocados pack nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals.

Avocados are one of the most delicious, rich, and satisfying foods on the planet. But as a nutritionist, I'm happy to report that an avocado is a powerhouse superfood. Those luscious gems—technically fruits, though I categorize them as "good" fat—are packed with anti-aging, disease-fighting antioxidants and nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals.

One review published in 2020 in Frontiers in Nutrition found that regular avocado eaters have higher intakes of fiber, vitamins E and K, magnesium, and potassium than others.

I eat avocados in at least one meal each day, and I love how versatile they are for cooking. But there's also more health-related news to share. Here are five health benefits of avocados and how you can incorporate the healthy fat into your daily meals and snacks.

Avocado Nutrition

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

  • Calories: 227 calories, primarily from 20 grams of healthful fat
  • Protein: Almost three grams of protein
  • Carbohydrates: About 12 grams of carbohydrates, with nine of those grams from fiber, which is over 30% of the daily fiber target
  • Folate: 30% of the daily value for folate, one of the many B vitamins responsible for energy metabolism and new cell production
  • Vitamin K: 36% of the daily value for vitamin K, necessary for blood clotting and bone health
  • Vitamin C: 20% of the daily value for vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant that supports immune health and aids collagen synthesis to promote wound healing
  • Vitamin E: 13% of the daily value for vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that supports cell structure
  • Potassium: 20% of the daily value for potassium, an electrolyte supporting many chemical reactions and nerve, muscle, and heart functions
  • Magnesium: 10% of the daily value for magnesium, classified as a major mineral that is essential for structural and chemical reactions in the human body

Avocados Boost Satiety

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

In one study published in 2013 in Nutrition Journal, volunteers rated satisfaction and appetite after eating meals with or without avocado. Adding half of an avocado to meals resulted in a significant boost in self-reported satiety and a reduced desire to eat for up to five hours. That satisfied feeling is one of the reasons I often reach for guacamole as my salad dressing.

Avocados Help Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

The notion that eating fat makes you gain weight is wrong. The truth is, eating "healthy" fats is a savvy weight loss strategy.

For example, in addition to upping satiety, plant-based fats like avocado provide antioxidants and fight inflammation, which has been linked to healthy weight management. Some evidence suggests that regular avocado eaters maintain healthy weights, even without eating fewer calories.

A study published in 2021 in the Journal of Nutrition looked at the impact of avocado consumption, specifically on belly fat. In all, 105 overweight or obese adults received either a meal with one avocado or an avocado-free meal with a similar calorie level and ingredients daily for 12 weeks.

The researchers found that some participants in the avocado group had a reduction in visceral fat. Visceral fat cushions the organs in your abdominal region, and it's tied to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Those participants also had a reduction in the ratio of visceral fat to subcutaneous fat, found just under the skin. That shift indicated a fat redistribution away from the organs, offering health protection.

Avocados Protect Your Heart

Some evidence suggests that incorporating more MUFAs, like those found in avocados, while reducing saturated fats and carbohydrates helps protect heart health. Doing so can lower the risk of heart disease by decreasing the "bad" cholesterol, also known as low-density lipoproteins (LDLs).

In one study published in 2013 in Food & Function, researchers found heart-protective effects of avocado consumption. Compared to eating a burger without avocado, the addition of half of one Hass avocado had the following outcomes:

  • Curbed the production of compounds that contribute to inflammation
  • Improved blood flow
  • Did not increase triglycerides (blood fats) beyond the amounts raised by the burger alone

Avocados are considered an excellent source of potassium. Potassium is a micronutrient that helps reduce blood pressure, based on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet trial. A balance between increasing potassium and decreasing sodium can help treat high blood pressure.

Avocados Are Nutrient Boosters

Enjoying avocado at mealtime can help your body absorb more antioxidants from other healthy foods. In one study published in 2014 in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that pairing avocado with tomato sauce and carrots boosts the vegetables' vitamin A absorption. Vitamin A is a crucial nutrient for healthy skin, vision, and immunity.

Avocados may also help support a healthier diet overall. One study published in 2021 in the British Journal of Nutrition found that people who consumed more avocados had significantly high intakes of the following nutrients:

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

Regular avocado eaters also tended to consume more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Avocados Are Good for Your Gut

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

In a study published in 2021 in the Journal of Nutrition, overweight or obese adults consumed a meal each day that either did or did not include avocados. The researchers designed the diets the participants followed for 12 weeks to maintain body weight and eliminate weight loss's effect on the study's results.

The researchers found that avocado eaters experienced positive changes to their gut microbiome over the three months—including microbe diversity and increased microbes that produce metabolites supporting gut health.

Also, while the avocado group consumed slightly more calories, more fat was excreted in their waste. In other words, their bodies didn't absorb some of the calories from the gut into the bloodstream, which may be another way avocados contribute to weight management.

How To Add Avocados to Your Diet

I adore guacamole, but one of my favorite things about avocado is that there are so many other ways to enjoy it, including in sweet dishes. 

I often whip avocado into fruit smoothies, add it to fruit tacos, whip it into chocolate pudding, and substitute it for butter while baking. 

Just trade each tablespoon of butter in recipes like 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. Research has found that people who regularly eat avocados have higher intakes of fiber, vitamins E and K, magnesium, and potassium than others. 

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

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