Packing healthy fats, fibre, and plenty of essential vitamins, avocadoes contain ingredients that can do a lot for your health.

Make fun all you want, but avocadoes are a mainstay of a traditional diet for good reason. Unlike other sugar-loaded members of the fruit family, avocadoes are extremely nutrient dense, explains Kim Shapira, RD, a celebrity dietitian and nutrition therapist.

Beneath the slightly bumpy peel of a single avocado is a diverse buffet of healthy fats, protein, fibre, and more – all of which the body needs to thrive.

Avocadoes are also extremely versatile. They can be the main event at breakfast, lunch, or dinner – spread onto toasted bread, blended into a chocolate mousse, or sliced on top of fish in a grain bowl.

It can even be whipped into sauces and mashed into dips. Their relatively mild taste is the perfect vehicle for toppings and seasonings, and a little salt goes a long way in making them shine.

Among plant-based foods, avocadoes distinguish themselves by offering healthy fats in addition to fibre and potassium, which may explain why they’ve been linked to such a wide range of health benefits. Here are eight ways that avocadoes may help your health.

Avocadoes Could Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

“There are a few thoughts on how avocadoes protect against diabetes,” explains Shapira. “The monounsaturated fats and fibre in avocado contribute to improved insulin sensitivity, which helps regulate blood sugar while also helping to reduce inflammation, which is a factor associated with insulin resistance.” Research corroborates this – one study published in the Journal of Nutrition found an association between avocadoes and lower fasting blood glucose levels, lower fasting insulin, and a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes.

In another study, 93 adults were counselled to replace carbohydrates with avocado for 12 weeks, and reported improved glucose control at the end of the trial, as well as reduced biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk and healthier overall dietary patterns, including greater fibre and vegetable intake.

“Avocadoes are relatively low in carbohydrates and contain potassium and magnesium, two nutrients that are thought to be beneficial for glucose control and that improve glucose tolerance, respectively,” says Kim Rose, RD, a dietitian in Sebring, Florida. Researchers say it’s difficult to pinpoint a single nutrient responsible for the lowered incidence of diabetes, she adds, but avocadoes, on the whole, seem to help.

Avocadoes Contain Saturated Fat Which Is Good for Heart Health

Elevated cholesterol levels are one potential cause of atherosclerosis (thickening or hardening of the arteries) and thus cardiac events like heart attacks and strokes.

Avocadoes may balance cholesterol by way of their healthy monounsaturated fats, which “help reduce the amount of cholesterol and other fats in the blood,” explains Rose. One systematic review and meta-analysis, for example, concluded that avocado consumption may reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels for people with high cholesterol.

Shapira adds that the mineral potassium in avocadoes is linked to blood pressure regulation.

“Avocadoes also contain phytosterols, a plant compound that competes with cholesterol absorption, further helping our heart,” she says.

If you eat meat,Brookell White, RD, a dietitian at MyFitnessPal, suggests replacing some animal fats, which are mainly saturated fats, with those from avocadoes.

An Avocado-Rich Diet is Linked to a More Active Lifestyle

A study published in the December 2023 American Journal of Preventive Medicine found avocado consumption to be associated with a significant increase in physical activity in Hispanic and Latinx participants.

It’s unclear exactly why, and more research is warranted, but researchers wrote that the results may have to do with increased satiety and thus energy levels, thanks to avocadoes’ nutrient density.

There’s also some research on avocadoes as an effective anti-inflammatory in people with osteoarthritis, so pain management could have contributed to increased movement.

Shapria adds that avocadoes complement an active lifestyle.

“They aid in energy, muscle function, and recovery,” she says. “The combination of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals provide essential nutrients for our active bodies.”

Avocadoes are Great for Your Gut

In a randomised controlled study of adults who were overweight or obese, those who ate one avocado a day had a greater presence of healthy gut microbes compared with a control group.

Although more research on the subject is warranted, there’s no denying that avocadoes contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which are both crucial for gut health, says Rose. “Soluble fibre ferments in the gut, producing by-products that help strengthen the gut barrier, improve gut function, and positively impact the entire body,” she adds.

Soluble fibres are also known as prebiotics, which feed the gut’s good bacteria (aka probiotics) for a thriving environment. “On average, a medium avocado has between 13 and 17 grams (g) fibre,” says Shapira. “The fibre also contributes to regular bowel movements and helps prevent constipation.”

Avocadoes Could Aid Weight Loss

Avocadoes’ aforementioned fibre content is also ideal for weight loss, because fibre – an indigestible nutrient – increases satiety. “The combination of healthy fats and fibre in avocadoes promotes a feeling of fullness, thereby reducing overall calorie intake,” Shapira says. One small study of 31 adults who were overweight or obese found that replacing carbohydrates in a high-carb meal with a calorically equal amount of avocado increased feelings of fullness and hunger-regulating hormones.

Avocadoes can be calorie-dense, so portion control is key, but adding some to a meal can help keep you feeling full for longer than other foods.

“Avocadoes also help improve metabolism by influencing the way our body stores and uses fat, helping to reduce visceral fat, which is the fat stored around organs,” Shapira says.

This point was demonstrated in a study that found that avocadoes change the distribution of belly fat in women with overweight or obesity.

Nutrients In Avocadoes Could Give Your Brain A Boost

Research has shown that an avocado-rich diet is associated with different kinds of brain benefits, including improved cognition in older adults (which in turn could prevent Alzheimer’s disease) and depression relief.

“Evidence suggests an association between folate deficiency and depression,” says Rose. Folate is popular for maternal health, but it also helps deliver blood flow and therefore nutrients to the brain, which may affect mood.

“Since the body does not make folate, getting it from foods like avocadoes is essential,” says Rose.



The Nutrients In Avocadoes Could Give Your Skin A Glow

A balanced diet is just as important for your skin as it is for the rest of your body. Avocadoes are full of healthy fats and antioxidants, both of which have been linked to skin health. In one small study, UCLA researchers assigned 39 women either to consume one avocado daily or to a control group that ate an avocado-free diet for eight weeks. The results indicated that the avocado eaters had noticeably firmer skin on their foreheads and increased skin elasticity. While more research is needed, these results are promising.

Avocadoes are a good source of vitamins that have been linked to skin health, including biotin and vitamin E.

Antioxidants In Avocadoes Have Been Linked To Sharper Vision

Avocadoes are also high in antioxidants and the carotenoid lutein. “These free-radical fighters are beneficial for eye health and may help age-related macular degeneration,” says Shapira. Lutein is known to prevent, or at least slow, the effects of eye ageing.

One small study found that adults age 50 and over who ate one fresh avocado daily saw a 25 percent increase in their eyes’ lutein levels at the end of six months.

The study subjects also significantly improved their working memory and problem-solving skills.

SOURCE: Everyday Health