Whether you love them mashed up into delicious guacamole, blended into a smoothie, or sliced and served on top of your favorite salads and sandwiches, avocados are a true superfood!
These dietary staples (which, fun fact, are fruits, not vegetables) are chock-full of healthy nutrients — and as it turns out, eating them consistently and getting those nutrients on a daily basis can translate to a world of health benefits. Here’s everything you need to know about the fruit of the avocado tree, and why you should definitely be adding more of them to your diet.
When you think of avocados, you probably think of an indulgent fruit that’s chock-full of dietary fat and has plenty of delicious flavor and texture to boot. But when you look closer at the nutrition facts, avocados are also incredibly nutrient-dense, and those nutrients can all add up to a valuable food staple for all your health needs.
Avocados are heart healthy.
It might sound a little counterintuitive, but all those healthy fats in avocados actually make it a great food for supporting healthy hearts!
Avocado is a great source of oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat that has been linked to cardiovascular protective benefits like lower cholesterol levels (in fact, oleic acid is one of the main nutrients that make foods like olive oil so good for your heart). What’s more: a study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association found evidence that people who eat more avocados per week had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease compared to those who ate fewer!
Avocados are great for digestive health benefits.
Another major avocado benefit is that it is a great source of dietary fiber, which does wonders for your digestive system. Fiber is an indigestible starch that your body can’t digest and break down like other nutrients, so it instead passes through your digestive system and promotes healthy, regular gastrointestinal movement. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t get enough fiber from their diet — but eating avocados more regularly can help.
One medium avocado provides almost 10 grams of fiber, which is a fairly significant amount considering that the recommended intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Avocado fiber contains both soluble and insoluble fibers, and both of these fibers can help keep your digestive system regular. Soluble fiber is also great for your heart health since it can help promote healthy cholesterol levels and blood sugar.
In addition, scientists have also found that eating avocados regularly can support your gut microbiome, which is the “good” bacteria that live in your gut! The study had 163 adults divided into two groups. Each group received a meal replacement, but one group also had an avocado with their replacement meal while the other group did not. The researchers found that the group who ate an avocado every day showed greater microbial diversity and abundance of gut-healthy microbes!
This is especially important because a healthy gut microbiome has been linked to your immune system. In fact, there’s evidence that the bacteria in your gut play roles in various health benefits throughout your body, from your gastrointestinal system to protection from chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes cardiovascular disease, and even depression.
Avocados can boost your eye health as well.
Last but certainly not least, avocados are packed with antioxidants and nutrients that are necessary for your eye health.
For example, avocados are a great source of lutein, an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties that have been linked to better vision health. Lutein works by protecting your eyes from oxidative damage, which has been linked to a variety of eye diseases like cataracts, ocular inflammation, and age-related macular degeneration.
In addition, avocados are a great source of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that also acts as a powerful antioxidant that supports healthy eyes especially as you age.
Other delicious nutrients in avocados
In addition to the fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants, there are also plenty of other nutrients that can be found in every serving of avocado, including:
- Vitamin C for immune support
- Potassium for hydration and electrolyte balance
- Vitamin K for regular blood clotting and bone structure
How to eat more avocados?
So, there are tons of good reasons to add more avocados to your diet. Luckily, rich and creamy avocados go well with virtually everything, which means there’s an awesome recipe out there for you whether you’re craving sweet or savory.
Some ideas for adding more avocados into your daily eating plan:
- Mash them up and add diced tomatoes, lime, garlic, and red onions for a delicious guacamole that elevates all of your favorite savory dishes (print out our Healthy Guacamole recipe for easy access)
- Blend up a frozen avocado with your favorite fruits in a smoothie (Feeling frazzled? Try our indulgent Chocolate Stress-Relieving Smoothie recipe packed with plenty of stress-fighting superfoods.)
- Thinly slice avocados and add them to your salads and sandwiches, or to your eggs and other savory breakfasts in the morning
- When you’re baking, try using avocado (instead of butter, cream, or oil) for a healthier fat alternative
Helpful hint: a recommended serving of avocado is only about ⅓ of an avocado, or about 50 grams, especially since they are fairly high in calories and dietary fat. So, if you’re only eating a third of an avocado at a time, you can either toss it in the freezer to keep it fresh or brush on some lemon juice, lime juice, or olive oil onto the cut side to prevent it from browning while it’s in the fridge.
The bottom line
Avocados are more than just a delicious, creamy side to your meal: they’re also among some of the most nutritious foods that you can add to your diet! So, you don’t have to feel guilty for treating yourself to that extra serving of guac the next time you order a burrito bowl — it’s a worthwhile investment for your heart, digestive health, and eyes.