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EFFECTS OF AVOCADO ON HEALTH, WEIGHT LOSS, CANCER, INFLAMMATION, AND CHOLESTEROL – 1 OF 3

Avocado can enhance weight reduction, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, help fight cancer, and reduce inflammation.
EFFECTS OF AVOCADO ON HEALTH, WEIGHT LOSS, CANCER, INFLAMMATION, AND CHOLESTEROL 1 OF 3

Table of Contents

In advising our members, we filter thousands of research and fads, relying only on the credible worldwide science available for better health and weight reduction. Here we chose the interesting research of Dr. Michael Greger. Yet, no research replaces your own doctor's advice.

Research Summary

  1. Avocado is a great source of folate and vitamin E, which promotes healthy skin.
  2. Avocado contains potassium essential for blood pressure control and heart health. 
  3. Eating avocado lowers the metabolic syndrome risk and helps reduce body weight.
  4. Avocado is a good source of many plant compounds, such as carotenoids, eye nutrients, lutein, and zeaxanthin which help protect the eyes from ultraviolet rays in sunlight.
  5. Avocado boosts the absorption of the carotenoid phytonutrients in other vegetables and converts them to vitamin A.
  6. The carotenoids are in the outer section of an avocado which is best obtained through the “nick and peel” method.
  7. Avocado consists of 73% water, 15% fat, 8.5% carbohydrates — mostly fibers — and 2% protein.
  8. 100g of avocado provides 6.7 g of fiber, providing 24% of the daily value.
  9. Half an avocado contains 160 calories.
  10. The glycemic index of avocado is 15, lower than an apple with a GI score of 39.

Definitions

What is avocado?

Avocado is naturally nutrient-dense and contains nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. Its potential health benefits include improving digestion, decreasing the risk of depression, and protecting against cancer. Avocado (aka butterfruit) is the only fruit that provides a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). Eating avocado offers a myriad of health benefits for the body while keeping you feeling satisfied.

Avocado is rich in many essential vitamins and minerals, which include:

  1. Folate (B-9) is vital for normal cell function and tissue growth and is essential for pregnant women.
  2. Vitamin K-1 is essential for blood clotting and has benefits for bone health.
  3. Potassium is beneficial for blood pressure control and heart health. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas.
  4. Copper is abundant in avocado, Low copper intake can affect heart health.
  5. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant found in fatty plant foods.
  6. Vitamin B-6 helps convert food into energy.
  7. Vitamin C is an antioxidant vital for immune function and skin health.

What is an antioxidant, and how is it good for the body?

Antioxidants are substances that prevent damage to cells, help boost the body’s immune system and protect it from diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Avocados are high in antioxidants.

Is Avocado Good For You?

Thanks to NutritionFacts.org and Dr Michael Greger

Avocado is a significant source of antioxidants. It contains two carotenoid eye nutrients found in dark green leafy vegetables, lutein and zeaxanthin. The critical carotenoids are concentrated in the darkest green flesh close to the peel. Hence, consumers are advised to use the “nick and peel” method to obtain the avocado’s nutrient-rich outer section. The Tufts Nutrition and Health Letter detailed what that means:

  • Cut the avocado in half lengthwise around the seed.
  • Rotate a quarter-turn.
  • Cut lengthwise again to make quarter-avocado segments.
  • Then, separate the quarters and remove the seed.
  • Finally, starting from the tip, nick and carefully peel to not lose that nutrient-rich darkest green flesh immediately under the skin.

Can avocado strengthen your immune system?

Avocado can boost the absorption of the carotenoid phytonutrients in other vegetables because carotenoids, like beta-carotene, are fat-soluble. However, many sources of carotenoids, like sweet potatoes, carrots, greens, contain very little fat. Eating them straight without any source of fat in the stomach may end up flushing a lot of that nutrition down the toilet. 

Bear in mind that it’s not what you eat; it’s what you absorb. For example, if tomatoes are eaten without some source of fat at the same meal- avocados or nuts and seeds- most of that bright red, beautiful lycopene will end up in the toilet bowl rather than the bloodstream. Likewise, when eating a salad composed of lettuce, spinach, and carrots, using a fat-free dressing will cause less beta-carotene to make it into the body. Adding avocado, however, can increase the beta-carotene circulating throughout the body by 15 folds.

The minimum amount of dietary fat required for maximum carotenoid absorption is still not known. Interestingly, avocado consumption may enhance the absorption of carotenoids and improve their subsequent conversion inside the body into vitamin A. A study revealed that adding guacamole to a carrot meal increases beta-carotene in the bloodstream six times a few hours after eating. Moreover, people who were given guacamole ended up with over 12 times more vitamin A.

Is avocado good for your skin?

Avocado contains a substantial amount of Vitamin E and folate, which is essential for pregnant women. Moreover, like all fruits, avocado is mostly water and fiber, which has no calories at all. Thus, avocado consumption can be associated with better diet quality. A schmear of avocado on a bagel would add only half as many calories as a schmear of cream cheese. A person spreading avocado on a toast will, perhaps, spread less butter or margarine. And indeed, avocado eaters also reported less added sugar and increased fruit and vegetable consumption. No wonder they were healthier and had a lower risk of disease. 

Can Avocados Make You Fat?

Thanks to NutritionFacts.org and Dr Michael Greger

Eating avocado is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake and lower metabolic syndrome risk — a clustering of risks including high blood sugars, high blood triglycerides, high blood pressure, and obesity that sets you up for diabetes and heart disease.

In a study funded by the Avocado Board, about 17,500 people were surveyed if they had eaten avocado in the last 24 hours on two separate occasions. 2% said yes, so the health stats from the few hundred folks who reported they had eaten avocado were compared to the 17,000 individuals who said they had not. The percentage of respondents with metabolic syndrome among the avocado group was only half of the non-avocado group. They were slimmer and carrying less body weight despite no significant difference in caloric intake.

How does avocado help in weight reduction?

Adding avocados to a meal makes people more satiated and reduces the desire to eat for many hours compared to a similar meal without avocados. People can eat them as part of a healthful calorie-restricted diet. For this reason, avocados may be an excellent addition to an effective weight loss diet.

There was a study conducted in 1960 regarding avocado and cholesterol. In the said study, the subjects were instructed to swap avocado for lard. Results demonstrated that the subjects who substituted avocado for some of the animal fat they were eating did not gain weight after three weeks.

Clinical Reference

Effects of avocado as a source of monounsaturated fatty acids on plasma lipid levels.

A three-diet trial involving 16 healthy volunteers was carried out to examine the effects of avocado on plasma lipid concentrations. The first group was given a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids using avocado as their primary source. The consumption of saturated fats in the first group was restricted. The second group was in a free-diet period with the addition of the same amount of avocado. The last group received a low-saturated-fat diet without avocado. Diets lasted two weeks, and they were assigned in a randomized order. The results showed that avocado is a great source of monounsaturated fatty acid in diets designed to prevent hyperlipidemia without the undesirable effects of low-saturated-fat diets on HDL-cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations. Read the complete medical research.

Citations

Atli, A. (2020, April 27). Everything you need to know about avocado. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318620#nutrition

Greger, M. [NutritionFacts.org]. (2018, April 13). Are Avocados Good For You? [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/J-8nR9Ehx9M

Greger, M. [NutritionFacts.org]. (2018, February 5). Are Avocados Fattening? [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/QGRabuCog70

Alvizouri-Muñoz, M., Carranza-Madrigal, J., Herrera-Abarca, J.E., et.al. (1992). Effects of avocado as a source of monosaturated fatty acids on plasma lipid levels. Archives of Medical Research, 23(4):163-167. Retrieved from https://europepmc.org/article/med/1308699