Avocados are so much more than the main ingredient in guacamole. They’re nutritional powerhouses and versatile must-haves in the kitchen.
So what’s all the fuss about?
1. People have eaten avocados for more than 10,000 years.
Avocados originated in the Americas. The first evidence of their use was found in Puebla, Mexico, some 10,000 years ago. When Europeans arrived, they found people from South America to Mexico growing avocados as a food staple in their family gardens. The trees and fruit held spiritual significance in Mayan and Aztec societies too. They believed avocados gave them strength.
2. Avocados are fruit.
Despite being green and often thought of as a vegetable, avocados are categorized as a fruit. That “nut” inside is actually the seed. If you have a green thumb, you can save the seed and grow your own avocado tree.
3. They’re loaded with nutrients, “good” fats, and have more potassium than bananas.
One half of an avocado (the average serving) contains 4.6 grams of fiber and important B vitamins like folate and vitamin B6. It also has 345 mg of potassium — far more than half of a banana has.
Avocado oil is 71 percent monounsaturated fats. These are the “good” fats that may benefit your heart, normalize clotting, and even help control blood sugar levels if they replace carbohydrates in the diet.
4. Eating avocados could lower your risk for certain types of cancers.
Carotenoids are compounds with high antioxidant activity that are currently being studied for their anti-cancer capabilities. Preliminary studies indicate that they may have the potential to help prevent breast, gastric, oral, and prostate cancers. Paired with the healthy fats in avocados, these fat-soluble compounds are more likely to be absorbed into the blood stream where they can deliver those benefits.
5. Avocados are heart-healthy.
An avocado-enriched diet can lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, according to research. LDL cholesterol can lead to the hardening of the arteries, one of the leading risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.
6. Research shows avocados can soothe osteoarthritis.
Avocados may reduce the pain and damage of arthritis. Several studies have indicated that certain extracts of avocado and soybean might be able to help treat symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA). The extract has also been found to reduce the need for common anti-inflammatory drugs in people with OA.
7. Expensive face creams can be swapped for avocados.
The fats in avocados are not only good for your heart, but may help reduce skin damage. Damage from the sun’s rays can lead to premature aging of the skin, like wrinkles. Research shows avocados may enhance DNA repair and reduce existing UV damage. This means you can get anti-aging benefits without shelling out for the latest serum or cream.
8. People who eat avocados are healthier.
Good news if you already eat plenty of avocados: You’re more likely to be a healthy person. Studies indicate that regular avocado eaters also eat more vegetables, less sugar, and have better overall diets. They have lower body weight, waist circumference, and BMI too. Metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes, is 50 percent lower in people who eat avocados.
9. Avocados are a low-cost way to soothe psoriasis.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than seven million people in the United States suffer from the chronic skin condition psoriasis. Prescription drugs are the most common treatment, but avocados could help. Scientists have found that a cream containing vitamin B12 and avocado oil can provide significant benefits without side effects.
10. They’re delicious.
Most people think solely of guacamole when they think of avocados, but they can be used in so much more. Try them with fish in an orange-avocado salad, or swap out a high-fat dessert for avocado pudding cups.
Avocados are inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to use in a variety of dishes. For a health-conscious consumer like you, they should be a dietary no-brainer.
- Avocados have been eaten for 10,000 years — and for good reason.
- They can help lower cholesterol and even cancer risk.
- Avocado-based creams can help psoriasis and reduce UV skin damage.