There’s no denying that Americans love avocado.
During Superbowl festivities alone, 79 million pounds of avocados are eaten. That’s roughly 158 million avocados!
This fat-filled fruit tastes so delicious that it seems like it can’t be good for you!
Luckily, that couldn’t be further from the truth – avocados are bursting with nutrients and offer a myriad of health benefits.
In fact, research shows that people who eat avocados tend to be generally healthier.
Studies have also shown that avocados can help fight serious medical conditions such as cancer and epilepsy.
So don’t just limit your avocado consumption to Superbowl season…you’ll be missing out on these 21 great health benefits if you do!
Let’s take a look at some amazing health benefits from eating avocados, but be prepared for your mind to be blown (especially by #19)…
1. Avocados Are Nutrient Rich
Avocados are an incredibly rich source of nutrients and offer nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving.
Of your Recommended Daily Values (RDV), one avocado typically contains:
- 53% Vitamin K
- 41% Folate
- 33% Vitamin C
- 28% Pantothenic Acid
- 28% Potassium
- 26% Vitamin B6
- 21% Vitamin E
- 19% Copper
2. A Source of Healthy Fats
Although the fat content of avocados is high, they contain ‘good fats’ including monounsaturated fat.
This type of fat can reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack along with the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.
3. Manage Your Weight
Surprisingly, eating avocados may actually help you lose weight!
A study, published in the Nutrition Journal, found that eating just half an avocado with lunch helped overweight people feel satisfied and full for longer after eating.
Participants reported a 40% less desire to eat over a three hour period, and a 28% less desire over a five hour period after the meal.
They were also more satisfied after eating their meal and had less desire to snack!
4. Prevent Diabetes
Avocados appear to be helpful in regulating blood sugar levels.
Keeping blood sugar levels stable is important in reducing your risk of diabetes – a disease that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates will affect 40% of Americans at some point during their lives.
After eating half an avocado with lunch, participants had their blood glucose and insulin levels measured at specific intervals.
Even though adding avocado to the meal increased its calorie and carbohydrate content, participants showed no increase in blood sugar levels when compared with those who ate a standard lunch with no avocado.
5. Fight Inflammation
Chronic inflammation in the body is thought to be responsible for asthma, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer … and most of today’s modern diseases.
Avocado might just help fight inflammation, thanks to its oleic acid content – the monounsaturated fat in olive oil that’s responsible for much of its healthful properties.
Oleic acid has been linked with reduced inflammation in several studies.
6. Eye Health
If you’ve read the article ‘14 Foods That Will Save Your Eyesight’ you’ll know just how important the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin are in fighting macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of blindness in the US.
The only way to get lutein and zeaxanthin into our bodies is through diet, which is why we need to eat more foods rich in these phytonutrients.
And guess what?
One study has shown that avocados are the best source of lutein among the top 20 fruits most regularly consumed.
They’re also a good source of zeaxanthin so eat up for better eye health!
7. Healthy Skin and Hair
With healthy fats and inflammation-fighting properties, avocado can give you smooth skin and glossy hair.
One fruit also contains over 20% of your daily dose of Vitamin E which protects body tissue from damage by free radicals, thought to play a role in aging.
Instead of buying expensive Vitamin E enriched skincare creams, eat avocados or try avocado oil and fight aging from within!
8. Lower Cholesterol Levels
One in three American adults suffer from high cholesterol, doubling their risk of heart disease. Luckily, there are many natural ways to lower cholesterol levels.
Research has found that eating avocados regularly may be one of those ways. Avocados can reduce total cholesterol levels significantly, lower blood triglycerides, and lower LDL cholesterol (the bad) while increasing HDL cholesterol (the good).
Recommended Reading: 21 Foods That Naturally Unclog Arteries
9. Improve Nutrient Absorption
When it comes to vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, it doesn’t matter how much we eat. It really doesn’t!
What matters is how much we absorb.
Some nutrients are fat soluble, meaning they need to be combined with fat in order for our bodies to assimilate them.
Examples of fat-soluble nutrients include Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K, along with certain antioxidants.
Adding half an avocado to a salad of spinach, lettuce and carrots saw participants absorb the antioxidants alpha-carotene 8.3 times, beta-carotene 13.6 times and lutein 4.3 times better than those who ate the salad without avocado.
10. Role in Cancer Fighting
A small piece of research points to avocado being beneficial in fighting cancer.
One study has shown that avocado extract may stop or slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. Another has shown that it may help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
However, these studies are limited so it may be best to just enjoy avocado for the wealth of other benefits it brings.
Recommended Reading: 15 Surprising Every Day Things That Increase Your Cancer Risk
11. Strong Bones
While you’ll need more than an avocado to build and retain strong bones, eating this fruit regularly might give you a helping hand.
Avocados contain a good helping of bone-healthy nutrients including Vitamin K, copper and folate.
Mix your avocado with a variety of other fruits and vegetables for the best bones you can build – several studies prove that eating fresh produce benefits bone health in both men and women of all ages.
12. Pain Relief
Avocado extract has been proven to reduce symptoms of arthritis of the bones (osteoarthritis).
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory benefits, it may even relieve other sorts of inflammatory-related aches and pains too.
For other natural methods of pain relief see here.
13. Improve Digestion
Fiber is an important component of any balanced diet – it keeps your digestive system running smoothly.
Even though fruits and veggies are absolutely loaded with fiber, it’s something that most Americans don’t get enough of!
Aim to hit your fiber target by eating more avocado – one fruit contains 13 grams, around 54% of your recommended daily fiber intake!
14. Important for Expecting Mothers
According to What to Expect, avocados are one of the most important foods that pregnant women can eat.
They’re loaded with folate, potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.
In particular, folate is really important for expectant mums…it’s essential for the healthy development of the fetus in early pregnancy, while Vitamin B6 helps with the baby’s tissue and brain growth and eases morning sickness.
15. Control Blood Pressure
According to the American Heart Association, a diet rich in natural sources of potassium is important for controlling blood pressure, thanks to potassium’s ability to reduce the effects of sodium in the body.
Avocados are a great natural source of potassium – with one fruit containing 28% of your recommended daily potassium intake.
However, don’t forget that avocados are a high-fat food and excess weight does your blood pressure levels no favors.
If you’re adding avocado to your diet, make sure you reduce your fat intake in other areas to balance things out.
16. An Energy Boost
Adding an avocado to your lunchtime meal may help you avoid the 3 pm slump! Of all three macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats), fat is the most concentrated source of energy for our bodies.
Healthy fats provide a slow, steady stream of energy so you can power right through the workday.
In addition, when they’re eaten along with a carbohydrate, they slow the digestion of the carbs, meaning you won’t suffer the energy-zapping sugar crash that typically follows simple carbs like white bread.
17. Improve Immunity
Avocados are a great source of the B vitamins, which help you fight off illness and infection. They also give you plenty of Vitamin C and E – both natural immune boosters.
Vitamin C is so important for our wellbeing that Dr. Mark Moyad of the University of Michigan claims that ‘high blood levels of vitamin C may be the ideal nutrition marker for overall health’.
18. Enhance Your Mood
An avocado a day might cheer you up thanks to its vitamin and mineral content – especially potassium and folate.
Some studies have found a link between a lack of potassium and depression.
A review of several scientific studies on the relationship between sodium, magnesium, and potassium in depressed patients, found that depressed men and women all had low levels of potassium.
A 1993 study found similar – depressed patients exhibited lower potassium levels than healthy people did.
Folate, too, is important to stave off low mood and signs of depression, something researchers have recognized since the 1960s.
19. Brain Food
Copper is a brain stimulant, which is why avocados can be classed as a brain food.
After all, they do contain almost 20% of your daily copper needs.
This often neglected mineral is directly linked with higher thought processes and creative or ‘out of the box’ thinking.
20. Delicious & Versatile
Aside from all the incredible health benefits avocado can bring you, let’s not forget that it’s an incredibly delicious fruit which can be used in a variety of ways.
Sure, you can eat it in guacamole, or add it to salads and sandwiches.
But you should know it can be used a whole lot more creatively than that!
21. Avocados Cure Epilepsy
The parents of a five-year-old girl claim she has been cured of severe epilepsy after being put on a diet which has involved eating thousands of avocados.
Leafy Liu – who has had the condition since she was a baby – was suffering up to 60 seizures a day.
After conventional medication failed to stop the fits, her worried family researched alternative treatments and discovered the ketogenic diet.
Experts believe the way the body burns up carbohydrates can trigger epileptic fits so switching to a high fat, low-carb diet can reduce that risk.
Incredibly, after eating at least two avocados – which are high in good fats – daily for the last four years, Leafy now has just four seizures a year.
The Best Way to Eat Avocado
First, avocado should be eaten when ripe.
The only edible part of avocado is the green insides.
Use a sharp knife, set the avocado on the cutting board, and cut it in half.
Once you have cut the avocado in half, rotate the halves just a little bit so that you can tear them apart.
Then, you will have two halves, one of which has the seed.
Pull out the seed from the half by sticking the knife in it a little.
After that, you will have two identical halves.
Now, you need to separate the insides and skin of the avocado.
You will do that by running the knife down through the insides.
Then take the avocado into your hands and the insides will pop out.
This way you will not have any waste.
How to Buy Avocado
Get to know the types of avocado
The first thing you need to know when buying avocado is its origin.
There are two major types and producers of avocados in the US.
The produce and its quality may vary depending on your geographical location and on the season.
This is why you may find different types of avocado on the US market.
- California avocados – This type of avocados is available year-round for approximately 80% of the US avocado market. California avocados have different varieties, but one of the most common ones is the Hass avocado. It is different from other avocados because of its rough and bumpy skin. California avocados have a nutty, rich flavor and are relatively smaller compared to their counterparts grown in Florida.
- Florida avocados – These are more seasonal and, unlike California avocados, they are available for only eight months of the year – from July to February. The Florida variety of avocados is a bigger fruit, about twice the size of its California counterpart. However, it offers fewer calories, which makes it less costly.
Determine what you are going to use an avocado for
If you are going to use an avocado for an immediate purpose, choosing a ripe, ready-to-eat avocado would be the best choice.
However, if you are going to buy avocado in advance, it would be better if you buy the firm types and then have them ripen and ready-to-eat at home.
Be mindful of the attributes of the avocados that you are going to buy
- Ripeness: One of the most important things when purchasing an avocado is its ripeness. You may check it by holding the avocado in your hand and gently squeezing it. However, you should be careful not to press the avocado with your fingertips too much as it can cause bruising. If you are holding a ripe avocado, it will not be overly squishy. If it a bit hard, then it is probably underripe and needs a few days to ripen. Nonetheless, you can still buy an underripe avocado and ripen it at home.
- Look: Another attribute to check for is the look of an avocado. Opt for an avocado with unblemished skin. Avocados that are too shiny are still underripe. But, once again, you may choose to buy these and ripen them at home.
- Color: Color is also an important attribute and can vary depending on the variety. California Hass avocados are distinctive for their color, which usually turns dark green or purplish-black as they ripen. On the other hand, Florida avocados have lighter-green skin combined with yellowish tone even when they are already ripe.
You should avoid buying avocados that are overly soft and mushy.
This means that the fruit is too ripe.
Dark blemishes, bruises, dents, and brown spots should also be avoided when choosing an avocado.
How to Store Avocado
If you have a fresh avocado, you can store it in its cut and uncut form.
Time will vary when it comes to how long you can store fresh fruit.
Be it cut or uncut, ripe or unripe, all of these factors will play a role in how long the fruit can be stored.
Cut avocados are naturally susceptible to oxidizing if left unprotected, thus turning brown.
You may ask why they turn brown when you cut them.
When you cut an avocado, its cellular walls get broken which causes oxidation to occur.
However, this process of oxidation can be prevented.
All you have to do is add an acidic agent to an avocado and limit the surface area that is exposed to the air.
Here are some of the best recommended acidic agents:
- Orange juice
- Lime juice
- Lemon juice
You can limit the exposed surface area by covering it tightly with a clear plastic wrap or placing in an air-tight container.
Also, leaving in the avocado pit or seed can cause the protection of the surface area exposed to air.
Nonetheless, it is recommended that you use the first method mentioned for best results.
Storing types of avocado:
Store Cut Unripe Avocados – If you are holding a Hass avocado which is unripe, you should sprinkle the exposed flesh of the avocado with lime or lemon juice, place two halves together, and cover tightly with clear plastic wrap before leaving it in the refrigerator.
Remember to check the avocado from time to time to see if it has softened up enough and become edible.
The ripening process of the avocado will differ depending on temperature conditions and firmness of the fruit.
Store Cut Ripe Avocados – In case you want to store a cut ripe avocado, you should first add lemon or lime juice or another acidic agent to the avocado and place it in an air-tight container or some tightly-covered clear plastic wrap.
Once you have done that, you can store the fruit in your refrigerator for a day.
Store Guacamole – Guacamole is often packed with other ingredients that affect how long and how well it can be stored.
For the most guacamole recipes, the method is the same as those mentioned above.
Adding an acidic agent on top of the guacamole will prevent oxidization.
In order to store and preserve guacamole, you should place it in an air-tight container and wrap the guacamole on the surface before covering it so as to prevent oxidation.
Also, you should store it in the refrigerator.
In case guacamole turns brown during storage, remove the top oxidized layer.
Store Ripe Uncut Avocados – In case your avocado is ripe and you have not cut it open, you can store it in the refrigerator for two to three days.
Store Unripe Uncut Avocados – If you want to have your avocado ripen, store it at room temperature for four to five days.
You should avoid storing it in the refrigerator because it can slow the ripening.
You will get best results if you store unripe fruit at room temperature.
Avoid storing it if the room conditions exceed the range of 65-75 degrees F.
How to Grow Avocado
Growing an avocado tree is not a difficult thing to do.
Follow these simple steps and you will have a successfully planted avocado tree.
- Remove the large pit (seed) from the insides of an avocado, rinse and dry it well.
- Put three or four toothpicks into the seed at its widest part in order to suspend the pit over a glass of water.
- After that, put it in a warm place and make sure that you maintain the water level.
- In two to six weeks, you will notice that roots and a stem are sprouting from the seed. The moment the stem is about six inches long, you should trim it in half.
- When the stem leafs again, you should transplant the seedling into a pot that has sandy, loose soil.
- Provide your plant with frequent and light watering. Also, keep it in a sunny place to promote the plant growth.
- After that, pinch back the most recent grown leaves every time the stems grow another six inches or so. Do this in order to encourage more growth and a fuller plant.
In the regions that are warmer, the avocado plant is capable of surviving and staying outside in the summer.
In case you are situated in a warm climate that does not exceed temperatures less than 45 degrees F, you can even move your avocado outside because the plant will certainly enjoy such weather conditions, which will ultimately encourage its growth.
Avocado is a very potent, incredibly nutritious, and filling plant.
It is rich in many minerals, vitamins, and different plant compounds, and is also beneficial for heart health and prevents arthritis.
In case you are a person leading a healthy lifestyle, you can easily incorporate avocado into your diet.
With all these great health benefits, is it no wonder that avocados are becoming such a popular choice for healthy dishes.
Why not try some on your next salad or use them to top off a sandwich?
Or make sure that guacamole is on the table when you’re serving chips or veggies as a side dish?
You may be surprised at how healthy you will feel inside and how great your skin looks outside once you start adding avocados to your everyday diet.
Now you’ve learned everything there is to know about avocados, why not take a look at our amazing avocado recipes here.