Avocados may seem like just a hipster food, but the fruit can do way more than make brunch photos look cute. Known for their smooth, creamy texture and good-with-just-about-anything taste, avocados have become increasingly popular over the past decade. In addition to being culinary MVPs, avocados provide heart-healthy fats and micronutrients, including potassium, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and magnesium, explains Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, head of nutrition and wellness at WW.
1. It Helps Keep You Smart
Here is some food for thought: avocados are filled with omega-3 fatty acids and natural vitamin E, which are both great for your brain. For instance, they improve the blood supply to your pre-frontal cortex, which is the part of your brain responsible for planning, decision making and critical thinking.
2. Great for vision
Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that are especially concentrated in the tissues in the eyes where they provide antioxidant protection to help minimize damage, including from ultraviolet light. As the monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados also support the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, adding avocados to your diet may help to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
3. It Reduces Cholesterol
Avocado is filled with fats that are good for you, with one cup of sliced avocado providing you with 32% of your daily fat recommendation. The reason the fat is so good for you is because it is monounsaturated fat, which may help to lower bad cholesterol – which has lots of other benefits for your body, such as lowering risks of stroke and heart disease.
Another bonus of monounsaturated fats is that they may also raise levels of good cholesterol in your body.
4. Good for the gut
It’s not the most glamorous topic, but gut health is an important part of overall health. A 2021 study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that daily avocado consumption had a positive effect on diversity of healthful bacteria in participants’ stomachs and intestines. While more research is needed to determine the how, dietary fiber and monounsaturated fats have both been linked to gut health—and avocados provide these nutrients in abundance!
5. Lower risk of depression
Foods containing high levels of folate may help to decrease the risk of depression because folate helps to prevent the build-up of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. Excess homocysteine can also interfere with the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.
6. Healthy for the heart
Avocados contain 25 milligrams per ounce of a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. Regular consumption of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols has been seen to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
7. It Helps You To Lose Weight
Want to lose a little weight? Buy some avocados; they contain monounsaturated fatty acids, which means they are likely to be stored as slow burning energy rather than fat. This mean you’ll feel satisfied and full after you’ve eaten avocado, helping to keep your hunger at bay.
8. It Is Beneficial During Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, try to stock up on avocados. Just one cup of avocado contains nearly 25% of your recommended dose of folate, which is essential for both you and your baby.
- Spread avocado on toast in the morning instead of butter.
- Use avocado instead of mayonnaise in chicken or egg salad, or as a spread on a sandwich.
- The soft, creamy texture of an avocado and its mild taste make it a perfect first food for babies.