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Avocado Nutrition: Nature's Treasure Trove Of Nutrients

Nutrition of Avocado

A typical avocado contains: fatty acids that show anti-cancer effects, lower cholesterol, and protect your heart and liver; a sugar that regulates blood sugar; carbs that are actually 79% fibers and prevent heart disease, reduce inflammation, and regulate appetite; vitamins that help everything from immunity to healthy pregnancy; and plant chemicals like carotenoids that help the body absorb antioxidants.

From salads to salsa and from toasts to burritos, avocados can make just about anything tasty. The buttery, subtle-flavored flesh and the strong seed are both believed to be treasure troves of nutrients. Although there have been a few recent reports on how the avocado pit may contain toxins, there has been no conclusive evidence to prove that yet. As the fruit, a native of South America but presently grown extensively in North America as well, is getting a bad rap from a few pockets, we decided to give you a peek into the many proven nutritional facts about avocado. So here’s why you should include more of this fruit in your diet:

According to statistics released by the United States Department of Agriculture, avocados contain 73 percent water, 2 percent proteins, 8.5 percent carbohydrates, and 15 percent fat.1 An avocado weighing 100 g contain about 160 calories.

It Has Fats, But They Are The Helpful Kind

They have anti-cancer properties. One of the things that set avocados apart from other fruits is its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids. The fruit contains high levels of oleic acid,2 which is known to have anti-cancer properties3 and helps reduce inflammation.4.

They’re good for your heart and liver. Avocado oil, too, is considered a good source of healthy fats, with many studies conducted on rodents proving its positive effects against diabetes, cardiovascular disease,5 and liver diseases.6

They can manage your bad cholesterol. Incorporating the fruit into your daily diet will also help keep your bad cholesterol in check.7

It’s Got Sugar, But Too Little To Matter

Unlike other fruits, avocados contain only a small amount of sugar. On an average, half an avocado (or approximately 68 g) contains only 0.5 g sugar, stored in three forms: fructose, glucose, and galactose.8 Thanks to such low levels of sugar, avocados have a very low glycemic index, which means that their consumption does very little to hike your blood sugar levels.9 Rather, D-mannoheptulose, a kind of sugar alcohol present in avocados, has been proven to regulate blood sugar levels.10

Also Carbs, But Mostly As Healthy Fibers

Avocado is one of the most fiber-rich fruits, with most of its carbohydrate content (almost 79 percent) coming from fiber. Dietary fiber lends the fruit many health benefits that help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease,11 regulates appetite,12, reduces inflammation, and increases the ability of the body to absorb calcium to help the bones.13

It’s Chockablock With Vitamins And Minerals

Avocados are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for the body.14 Some of them are:

Vitamin B6: This is part of the group of B vitamins that help the body turn food into fuel or glucose. They are known to have anti-cancer properties15and is commonly administered for better bone health.16

Vitamin C: This vitamin is proven to be beneficial for inflammation, skin health, and immune function.17

Vitamin E: Known to be a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E is a good anti-inflammatory agent and increases metabolism.18

Vitamin K1: Studies have shown that this vitamin is essential for bone health19 and blood coagulation.20

Folate: This is essential for normal cell function and tissue growth. This is highly recommended to pregnant women to ensure placental health and a healthy birth weight in babies. 21

Potassium: According to the USDA, avocados contain more potassium than bananas. The mineral is known to keep the body protected against strokes and cardiovascular diseases.22

It Packs A Punch Of Healthy Plant Chemicals

According to a study published by The American Society for Nutrition, the carotenoids present in avocado make it easier for the body to absorb antioxidants.23 The fruit also contains unique antioxidants called persenones A and B, which protect the body from inflammation-related diseases, including cancer.24

Not only are avocados nutritious, they are extremely easy to add to your diet and with a pleasant taste to boot. They go well with most food and can even be scooped out with a spoon and had raw. What more can you ask of a fruit?

References   [ + ]

1. Basic Report: 09037, Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties. United States Department of Agriculture.May 2016.
2. Ozdemir, Feramuz, and Ayhan Topuz. “Changes in dry matter, oil content and fatty acids composition of avocado during harvesting time and post-harvesting ripening period.” Food Chemistry 86, no. 1 (2004): 79-83.
3. OLEICO, EFECTO ANTITUMORAL DEL ÁCIDO, and M. E. C. A. N. I. S. M. O. S. DE ACCIÓN. “Antitumor effect of oleic acid; mechanisms of action; a review.” Nutr Hosp 27, no. 5 (2012): 1860-1865.
4. [Basu, Arpita, Sridevi Devaraj, and Ishwarlal Jialal. “Dietary factors that promote or retard inflammation.” Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology 26, no. 5 (2006): 995-1001.
5. Carvajal-Zarrabal, Octavio, Cirilo Nolasco-Hipolito, M. Guadalupe Aguilar-Uscanga, Guadalupe Melo-Santiesteban, Patricia M. Hayward-Jones, and Dulce M. Barradas-Dermitz. “Avocado oil supplementation modifies cardiovascular risk profile markers in a rat model of sucrose-induced metabolic changes.” Disease markers 2014 (2014).
6. Carvajal-Zarrabal, Octavio, Cirilo Nolasco-Hipolito, Ma Guadalupe Aguilar-Uscanga, Guadalupe Melo Santiesteban, Patricia M. Hayward-Jones, and Dulce Ma Barradas-Dermitz. “Effect of dietary intake of Avocado oil and olive oil on biochemical markers of liver function in sucrose-fed rats.”BioMed research international 2014 (2014).
7. Wang, Li, Peter L. Bordi, Jennifer A. Fleming, Alison M. Hill, and Penny M. Kris‐Etherton. “Effect of a moderate fat diet with and without avocados on lipoprotein particle number, size and subclasses in overweight and obese adults: a randomized, controlled trial.” Journal of the American Heart Association 4, no. 1 (2015): e001355.
8. Fulgoni, Victor L, Mark Dreher, and Adrienne J Davenport. “Avocado Consumption Is Associated with Better Diet Quality and Nutrient Intake, and Lower Metabolic Syndrome Risk in US Adults: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001–2008.” Nutrition Journal 12 (2013): 1. PMC. Web. 21 Aug. 2016.
9, 14. Dreher, Mark L., and Adrienne J. Davenport. “Hass avocado composition and potential health effects.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 53, no. 7 (2013): 738-750.
10. Tesfay, S. Z., I. Bertling, and J. P. Bower. “D-Mannoheptulose and perseitol in ‘Hass’ avocado: metabolism in seed and mesocarp tissue.” South African Journal of Botany 79 (2012): 159-165.
11. Pereira, Mark A., Eilis O’Reilly, Katarina Augustsson, Gary E. Fraser, Uri Goldbourt, Berit L. Heitmann, Goran Hallmans et al. “Dietary fiber and risk of coronary heart disease: a pooled analysis of cohort studies.” Archives of internal medicine 164, no. 4 (2004): 370-376.
12. Kristensen, Mette, and Morten Georg Jensen. “Dietary fibres in the regulation of appetite and food intake. Importance of viscosity.” Appetite 56, no. 1 (2011): 65-70.
13. Macfarlane, S. M. G. T., G. T. Macfarlane, and JH T. Cummings. “Review article: prebiotics in the gastrointestinal tract.” Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics 24, no. 5 (2006): 701-714.
15. Zhang, Xue-Hong, Jing Ma, Stephanie A. Smith-Warner, Jung Eun Lee, and Edward Giovannucci. “Vitamin B6 and colorectal cancer: current evidence and future directions.” World J gastroenterol 19, no. 7 (2013): 1005-1010.
16. Fratoni, Valentina, and Maria Luisa Brandi. “B vitamins, homocysteine and bone health.” Nutrients 7, no. 4 (2015): 2176-2192.
17. Shaik-Dasthagirisaheb, Y. B., G. Varvara, G. Murmura, A. Saggini, A. Caraffa, P. Antinolfi, S. Tete et al. “Role of vitamins D, E and C in immunity and inflammation.” Journal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents27, no. 2 (2012): 291-295.
18. Jiang, Qing. “Natural forms of vitamin E: metabolism, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities and their role in disease prevention and therapy.”Free Radical Biology and Medicine 72 (2014): 76-90.
19. Bügel, Susanne. “Vitamin K and bone health.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 62, no. 04 (2003): 839-843.
20. Bolton‐Smith, Caroline, Marion ET McMurdo, Colin R. Paterson, Patricia A. Mole, Julia M. Harvey, Steven T. Fenton, Celia J. Prynne, Gita D. Mishra, and Martin J. Shearer. “Two‐Year Randomized Controlled Trial of Vitamin K1 (Phylloquinone) and Vitamin D3 Plus Calcium on the Bone Health of Older Women.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 22, no. 4 (2007): 509-519.
21. Fekete, Katalin, Cristiana Berti, Monica Trovato, Szimonetta Lohner, Carla Dullemeijer, Olga W. Souverein, Irene Cetin, and Tamás Decsi. “Effect of folate intake on health outcomes in pregnancy: a systematic review and meta-analysis on birth weight, placental weight and length of gestation.”Nutrition journal 11, no. 1 (2012): 1.
22. D’Elia, Lanfranco, Gianvincenzo Barba, Francesco P. Cappuccio, and Pasquale Strazzullo. “Potassium intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease: a meta-analysis of prospective studies.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 57, no. 10 (2011): 1210-1219.
23. Unlu, Nuray Z., Torsten Bohn, Steven K. Clinton, and Steven J. Schwartz. “Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil.” The Journal of nutrition 135, no. 3 (2005): 431-436.
24. Kim, Oe Kyung, Akira Murakami, Yoshimasa Nakamura, Naohito Takeda, Hideo Yoshizumi, and Hajime Ohigashi. “Novel nitric oxide and superoxide generation inhibitors, persenone A and B, from avocado fruit.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 48, no. 5 (2000): 1557-1563.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.