Avocados are also known as Alligator Pears, which is mainly due to its shape and the leathery appearance of its skin. It is a fruit that is grown on Persea Americana, which is an evergreen tree from the Lauraceae family. Although it doesn’t resemble these relatives, avocados are closely related to cinnamon and bay laurel. It is usually tall and can grow up to a height of 65 feet. The approximate weight of an avocado is between eight ounces and three pounds, depending on the variety of avocado. It is harvested early and then allowed to ripen gradually when it is sold commercially. This is why avocados are called climacteric fruits, which only ripen after harvesting, just like bananas.
Avocado is a “superfood” and have a special position in the food calorie pyramid. Avocado is rich in various nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It is also a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids, and has a low sugar content. It is a good source of energy and contains a number of essential vitamins and minerals. Avocado contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. It also contains minerals such as vitamin C, B6, B-12, A, D, K, E, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. Furthermore, it is a great source of dietary fiber, and a single serving can provide more than 40% of the daily requirement.
1. Anti-Cancer Benefits
The ability of avocado to help prevent the occurrence of cancers in the mouth, skin, and prostate gland has been studied in a preliminary way by health researchers, mostly through the use of lab studies on cancer cells or lab studies involving animals and their consumption of avocado extracts. But even though this anti-cancer research has been limited with respect to humans and diet, the preliminary results are impressive. The anti-cancer properties of avocado are definitely related to its unusual mix of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients.
2. Avocado for Your Skin
Avocado juice leaves your skin soft and supple, when applied on skin. They contain many vitamins such as Vitamin C, A and E, which is essential for the skin. The amazing healthy components present in this fruit make it a great choice in skin care.
Some of the benefits of avocado for skin are:
- Reduces marks and wrinkles.
- Cure for Bright’s Disease and psoriasis.
- Hydrates and lightens the skin tone.
- Reduces and prevents wrinkles.
- Helps in protecting your skin from the UVA and UVB harmful rays of the sun.
- Improves your skins complexion and density, clears skin, prevents breakouts, helps in making the skin radiant and glowing.
- Helps accelerates the new cell generation and also helps promotes circulation in the body and skin.
3. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Avocados are rich in a compound called beta-sitosterol which has been shown to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels. According to a study, patients with mild hypercholesterolemia who included avocados in their diet for 7 days had 17 percent decrease in total blood cholesterol levels, a 22 percent decrease in both LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels, and a 11 percent increase in HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
4. Healthy Brain
Dr. Daniel G. Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life considers avocados as one of the top brain-healthy foods that can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. The folate in avocado contributes to preventing the formation of brain tangles that are considered a factor for Alzheimer’s.
Avocados combine brain healthy omega-3 fatty acids with natural vitamin E, which has been clinically proven to prevent Alzheimer’s disease from progressing and even reversing it in its earliest stages.
5. Boosts Immune System
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant associated with immune system health. A 2000 report in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society stated, “The immune system works best if the lymphoid cells have a delicately balanced intermediate level of glutathione.” Avocados are a good source of this substance, according to American National University.
The anti-inflammatory properties of avocados are perhaps its most valuable attribute, and between the wide range of phytochemicals, flavonoids, carotenoids, phytosterols, fatty alcohols, and omega-3 fatty acids, avocados are one of the best foods for reducing the inflammation in tissues, joints, and muscles. Arthritis affects tens of millions of people around the world, and by consuming a proper amount of avocados, studies have frequently shown the symptoms and associated pain of arthritis can be efficiently reduced!
7. Avocado Promotes Eye Health
Avocado is an excellent source of carotenoid lutein, which known to help protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
8. Weight Loss Benefits
Half an avocado contains 3.4 grams of fibre, including soluble and insoluble, both of which your body needs to keep the digestive system running smoothly. Plus, soluble fibre slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in your body, helping you feel full for longer.
Avocados also contain oleic acid, a fat that activates the part of your brain that makes you feel full. Healthier unsaturated fats containing oleic acid have been shown to produce a greater feeling of satiety than less-healthy saturated fats and trans fats found in processed foods.
9. Good for Liver
Avocados are very good at reducing liver damage. It has certain organic compounds that help in improving liver health. Liver damage is normally caused due to Hepatitis C. Findings of a recent research study suggest that avocados may play a major role in toning up and protecting your liver from a wide variety of conditions.
10. Bone Health
Avocados contain carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and lutein, which are associated with a reduced risk of cartilage defects (symptom of osteoarthritis). Intake of foods such as avocado and soy may help in reducing the risk of osteoarthritis. Furthermore, the levels of essential minerals in avocados are significant, including zinc, phosphorous, copper, and trace amounts of calcium and selenium. All of these are connected to lowered risks of osteoporosis and improvements in bone mineral density.
11. Kidney Health
Your diet plays a very important role in maintaining the balance of minerals and fluids in those who suffer from chronic kidney disorders. Avocados are a good source of potassium and potassium is a key aspect of maintaining fluid balance through chemical channels for cells and organs. This balance of fluid is also vital for the functioning of the kidney, which handles the movement of fluid and toxins through the body.