Top 5 health benefits of avocado
From toast toppings to desserts and smoothies, the versatile avocado is often touted as a health food. Registered nutritionist, Jo Lewin, takes us through the nutritional highlights of avocado.
What are avocados?
The popularity of avocado is down to its rich, creamy texture and mild flavour. The avocado, or Persea Americana, is a fruit that belongs to the family of lauraceae; a group that also includes members such as cinnamon and laurel. There are dozens of varieties of avocado, ranging in size, colour and texture. All are native to tropical climates and when harvested, the flesh softens to a buttery texture that has become extremely popular in everything from dips to desserts.
Nutritional benefits of avocado
An 80g portion of avocado contains:
- 5g protein
- 6g fat
- 5g carbohydrates
- 6g fibre
- 360mg potassium
- 56mg Vit E
What are the top 5 health benefits of avocado?
1. Avocados are nutritionally rich
Avocados have been commended as an example of a nutrient dense food, with one half of the fruit counting towards your five-a-day.
Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat and vitamin E, and are a good source of folate. They also supply more soluble fibre than other fruit and contain a number of useful minerals including iron, copper and potassium.
2. May support heart health
Avocados are high in fat with 60 per cent of this being monounsaturated fats, which research suggests helps to protect against heart disease and lower blood pressure. They are also an excellent source of potassium, folate and fibre, all of which benefit the heart and cardiovascular system.
3. May help to lower cholesterol
The oils supplied by avocado include oleic acid and linoleic acid, these unsaturated fats are recommended as part of a balanced diet to help manage cholesterol.
4. May help to regulate appetite
There is no doubt that the calorie content of avocados is greater than other fruits and vegetables. However, an interesting study has shown that the fat and fibre content of avocados leads to feelings of satiety which helps regulate appetite.
5. May help keep eyes healthy
Is avocado safe for everyone?
Some sensitive individuals may experience allergy to avocado. This includes an oral allergy which may be triggered by a cross-reaction to birch pollen. A rarer allergic response may occur if you have a latex allergy - if this is relevant to you refer to their GP for guidance.
Avocado, along with fruits including apples, peaches, raspberries and blueberries contain natural chemicals called salicylates. Some people are sensitive to these compounds and may experience an allergic reaction including skin rash and swelling.
If you are concerned about food allergies or have any other concerns, please consult your GP or registered dietitian for guidance.
Ways with avocado
This article was reviewed on 8 February 2021 by Kerry Torrens.
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