Avocados, dubbed as alligator pears for their shape and skin texture, are considered to be fruits despite lacking the sweet taste that many have come to associate with fruits. Their flesh is creamy and bears a light green color and it is the part of the fruit that people eat.
The avocado tree is quite tall, growing up to 65ft and the fruits weighing between 8Oz and 3lbs, which varies on the type of avocado. Avocados are left to ripen after being harvested making the climacteric. Their origins date back to Puebla, Mexico as far as 10 000 B.C. and the Mediterranean climates act as the optimum environment for their growth.
Avocados are popular worldwide and is one of the few fruits whose skins act as a protective covering, preventing pesticides from entering the fruit. Avocados are normally eaten in their raw state and used in place of butter and other fatty substances due to their low calorific value and low fat content. Guacamole is a famous dip that features avocado as one of its main ingredients.
Avocados are a good source of various nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, fiber, and fatty acids. They are quite low in cholesterol and sugar, making them a healthy addition to your diet. They also provide adequate amounts of energy, making them perfect for active people. Best when consumed raw, avocados come with many health benefits and in this article, we are going to take a closer look at some of them.
Aids in digestion
Avocados are said to soothe the intestines, making them good for digestion. With fiber that is both insoluble and soluble, they help the system run smoothly by making stools bulkier and helping food move through the intestines effectively. They help nutrients get absorbed quickly by facilitating the release of juices and they help relieve diarrhea and constipation. Avocados contain 40% of the fiber you need per day, making them very good for the digestive system.
Helping with oral hygiene
Avocados have been proven to be effective in combating halitosis by targeting bacteria in the gut that causes indigestion and stomach issues. With antioxidant and antibacterial flavonoids, avocados can also eliminate oral bacteria, improving overall oral hygiene and fighting off cancers in the mouth.
Promoting healthy skin and hair
Avocados are effective in promoting healthy skin and hair, providing essential nutrients that nourish and enrich the hair and skin. They are often added to masks to repair damaged skin and hair and the essential oil is used to treat psoriasis. Many cosmetic products have added avocado to tone skin and stop early aging.
Studies have shown that adding avocados to your diet can help reduce damage to the liver and improve its overall health by proving compounds that tone it and protect it from a broad range of ailments.
Promoting eye health
Rich in carotenoids like zeaxanthin and lutein, avocados can help promote eye health by fighting off macular degeneration, cataracts and other ailments of the eyes that are a result of old age. Avocados have antioxidant properties that can kill off free radicals that damage the eye tissue.
Promoting cardiovascular health
Avocados contain beta-sitosterol, which helps to keep the body’s cholesterol in check. Healthy levels of cholesterol ensures that the heart is protected from atherosclerosis. In addition to this, avocados also contain enough potassium to prevent hypertension by calming arteries and vessels thus, preventing the occurrence of heart attacks, strokes, and clotting.
Healthy kidney function
Rich in potassium, avocados are a healthy addition to the diet as they help keep chemical balances in the body resulting in the kidneys functioning effectively, removing toxins and fluids from the body.
Treating deficiency of vitamin K
When pregnant women do not take in enough vitamin K, there is a chance that their babies will be born with vitamin K deficiency. In some cases, bleeding can occur. Avocados are very rich in vitamin K and adding them to your diet can provide you with up to 40% of the amount you need daily. In addition to this, they also contain vitamin B6 which can help with morning sickness (vomiting, nausea etc.).
Helps with arthritis
Rich in fatty acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, and much more, avocados are the perfect anti-inflammatory agents and are good for reducing inflammation in muscles, joints, and tissues. It is because of these properties that research has linked avocados to treatment of arthritis and its symptoms.
Avocados have monosaturated fats and carotenoids that help to reduce cancer and they have antioxidants that help fight off free radicals that cause cancer. Although studies are not yet conclusive, they have shown that avocados can actually kill the cancerous cells in the body.
A natural antioxidant
Rich in vitamins E and C, avocados are a natural antioxidant that kill off free radicals which can cause many ailments such as cardiovascular problems, cancer, early aging, cognitive ailments, and problems with vision, among other issues. They also contain carotenoids which help keep skin healthy and protected from sun damage and many other conditions that are a result of extensive exposure to UV light.
Managing healthy weight
Avocados are a good addition to your diet when looking to manage your weight. Coupled with exercise, they can help shed the pounds and keep them off, maintaining a healthy weight.
Promoting healthy bones
Lutein and zeaxanthin are some of the carotenoids found in avocados that help to fight bone damage and conditions such as osteoarthritis. Avocados are also rich in minerals such as copper, phosphorus, and zinc that help lower the chances of developing osteoarthritis.
Helps absorb nutrients and controlling blood sugar
When eaten with other fruits, avocados help in the absorption of nutrients and antioxidants by the body thus, fighting off disease-causing radicals. It is for this reason that adding avocados to your diet is a good idea to fight off diseases and maintain optimum health.
Studies carried out on rats also showed that adding avocado to treat diabetes helped to lower the blood’s levels of glucose. The fiber in avocados slows food breakdown into sugar, meaning the body absorbs it in a balanced manner. They also contain sugars that stop the enzyme hexokinase from developing, controlling the metabolism of glucose in the body. Avocados are therefore perfect for diabetic patients.
Avocados are quite the healthy fruit, with minimal to no side effects recorded. They are a bit high in fat so care should be taken not to consume too many. Migraines have been linked to avocado consumption but overall, they are a healthy fruit with many benefits.