More Kiwis than ever are declaring their love for avocados. And you can understand why. These gorgeous, versatile, melt in your mouth fruits really are just perfect; not only are they packed with flavour but research tells us that they may also have many amazing nutritional and health benefits.
The top 10 evidence-based reasons for eating avocados every day
Packed with almost 20 nutrients. Avocados are a nutrient-dense fruit that plays a major role in healthy diets, contributing almost 20 vitamins, nutrients and phytonutrients. Also, avocados are an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats, are cholesterol-free and have naturally low levels of sugar and sodium.
Why is nutrient density important? Nutrient dense foods give you the most nutrients for the fewest amount of calories. In other words, nutrient dense foods give you the “biggest bang for your buck.”
Good for the heart
Play a role in managing coronary heart disease. As part of a healthy diet, avocados may play a role in helping to manage conditions such as high blood cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease. These effects are primarily because of avocado’s low saturated fats and high healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat content. Additionally, as this natural wholefood is low in sodium and a source of potassium, avocados may help to guard against high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
A 75g (1/2 an avocado) serve of avocado has nearly 14g of ‘good’ fats, about 8.6mg of sodium and 390 mg of potassium.
An excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats. The body needs fats as they are vital for good health. There has been a steady rise in the popularity of adding healthy plant sources of fats such as avocado to well-balanced diets. Wherever you find fat, all three types of fat will be present: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated but just in different amounts. In plant foods such as avocado, the majority of the fat is the healthy kind: 70% monounsaturated fat and 15% polyunsaturated fat. Half an avocado contains 15g of monounsaturated fat and 3 g of polyunsaturated fat.
Healthy fats help carry important fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and E and colourful carotenoid pigments such as beta-carotene.
Good source of fibre
Avocados are a good source of dietary fibre. There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre can help reduce cholesterol re-absorption in the intestine, while insoluble fibre such as that found in avocados keeps bowel movements regular. People, who consume high-fibre diets, are less likely to have constipation. Fibre may also play a part in weight management – eating fibre rich meals may have you feeling fuller quicker and reduce the amount you eat.
Eating ½ an avocado serve will give you about 4 g of fibre which is 13% of the recommended daily amount.
Packed with antioxidants
Vitamins C & E for normal immune, brain and nervous function. Mother Nature gave avocados a strong antioxidant capacity to help prevent the healthy fats in avocados going rancid too quickly. The antioxidants in avocados include vitamins C and E which are well understood to contribute to the reduction of tiredness, normal immune, brain and nervous system function, and give protection from free radical damage and more. Avocados also contain other natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds called phenolics.
Half an avocado (75g) contains the following antioxidant nutrients:
- 2.02 mg Vitamin C (5% RDI for Vitamin C)
- 1.25 mg Vitamin E (12% of RDI for Vitamin E)
- 64 mg Gallic acid Equivalents (GAE) of total phenolic antioxidants
Carotenoids in avocado may protect your eyes. Avocados may protect your eyes. Firstly, the vibrant colours of avocados come from natural carotenoid pigments that are important for eye health. Also, research indicates that the healthy fats in avocados help the body to absorb disease-preventing carotenoids from the diet, and aid in their conversion to vitamin A – needed for normal reproduction, vision and immune function. Additionally, the consumption of avocados with salads or salsa increases the availability of carotenoids multi-fold, which may add to the potential health benefits such as vision. Guacamole anyone?
Contain the B vitamins folate, B6 and niacin plus vitamin C for energy. With tiredness, exhaustion and lack of energy being a common cry from many overworked and stressed adults, eating a varied, healthy and balanced diet containing fatigue fighting nutrients such as those found in avocados can give your engine a much-needed boost.
Avocados are a good source of vitamin B6 and folate (30% and 41% of the recommended intake of an average adult, per ½ an avocado, respectively) and are a source of niacin and vitamin C, all of which help to fight tiredness and fatigue. Vitamin C also helps to absorb iron from food which may also support increased energy.
Full of folate
Essential during pregnancy and for mums-to-be. Maternal nutrition plays a crucial role in fertility, foetal development, birth outcomes, and breast milk composition. Evidence indicates that avocados may be a unique nutritional food for pregnant and lactating women as they are a good source of folate and contain fibre, monounsaturated fats, and lipid-soluble antioxidants.
Avocados are an important dietary source of folate, which is vital for healthy growth and development, at all stages of life, particularly for children, and essential during pregnancy for healthy foetal development. A serve of avocado (75g or about ½ an avocado) contributes 81.6 ug of folate, which is approximately 20% of the folate recommended daily intake (RDI) of 400ug per day for women of childbearing age.
Perfect baby first food
The ideal flavour, consistency and nutritional content. Avocado’s smooth, creamy consistency, neutral flavour and excellent nutritional content makes it one of the first fresh fruits your wee one can enjoy. They are a great source of calories, high in healthy fat and help the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) from foods eaten with them. Additionally, avocados are sugar-free, very low in sodium, contain good amounts of developmental nutrients, such as folate and vitamin E and lutein, and are gluten-free.
A ¼ avocado serving has 4 grams of unsaturated fats, which are known to be important for normal growth and development of the central nervous system and brain.
Weight and Type 2 Diabetes management
Supports weight loss, and appetite and blood sugar control. Current research demonstrates the benefits of fresh avocados in the management of weight and metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes).
Many studies show the benefits of regular avocado consumption on weight and Type 2 Diabetes including a lower likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome, weight loss including shedding extra kilos around the waist, and better appetite and blood glucose control.
Download reference sources below