Here’s What Avocado Will Do for Your Health

Nutrition

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

Mondays can be tough. And maybe you need to recover from a weekend of overindulging. So make today a #Meatless Monday, because if you go meatless every Monday for a year (52 days total), you may reduce your risk for certain diseases including cancer, heart disease and more.

For today’s meat-free inspo, let’s discuss avocados. It doesn’t get much better than the taste...The green, creamy texture alone is enough to make you fall in love, no matter how it’s prepared or what form it comes in.

The avocado, (scientifically known as the Persea Americana) goes by many nicknames, including the “alligator pear,” and “aguacate.” This scrumptious fruit originates from South Central Mexico. Technically, the avocado classifies as a large berry, as it contains a large seed underneath all that creamy goodness.

There are hundreds of types of avocados, and the one you are likely familiar with is the Hass avocado. It is dark green in color with bumpy skin and is usually in season year round.

Avocados are known for having a ton of healthy fats, making them a perfect addition to your salad, sandwich or side dish. One of the main dishes avocados are used for is guacamole, which takes being delicious to a whole new level!

But enough about the addictive taste of avocados. Let’s focus on some of the health benefits:

Avocados may lower your cholesterol.

According to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an avocado a day may lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels. It is not difficult to include avocados in your diet. You can put half of one in a berry avocado smoothie for breakfast, and the other half in a salad for lunch.

Avocados may help you feel more full and satisfied, which may help in maintaining a healthy weight.

A study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that “one-half an avocado consumed at lunch significantly reduced self-reported hunger and desire to eat, and increased satiation…” Avocados are also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which the NIH says helps prevent accumulation of abdominal fat and diabetic health complications.

Avocados may help with diabetes.

The NIH also reports that a number of clinical trials have shown the MUFAs in avocados have “positive effects on blood lipids in a wide variety of diets in studies on healthy, hypercholesterolemic, and type 2 diabetes subjects.”

One (excluding skin and seed) raw California avocado contains:

  • Vitamin C, 12 mg - This vitamin may help you build and maintain collagen. You lose collagen as you age, which weakens the elasticity of the skin. With its antioxidant properties, vitamin C may also help protect the skin against free radicals we are all exposed to in the environment. Vitamin C may also promote strong, healthy hair and nails. And as you probably know, vitamin C is great at boosting your immune system and fighting off colds.                 
  • Folate, 121 µg - Most adults need about 400 mcg of folate daily. If you are pregnant, you may need more. Folate is essential for cell growth and many other bodily functions. To see how much folate you need, click here.
  • Calcium, 18 mg - Of course, calcium is important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. This mineral is also important for maintaining hair and nail health in perimenopausal and menopausal women. Adequate calcium intake may also decrease your risk for colorectal cancer.
  • Magnesium, 39 mg - This must-have mineral helps with blood pressure regulation and also has antioxidant properties. Several studies have also shown an improvement in the severity of symptoms of depression when study participants were given 125-300 mg of magnesium with each meal and at bedtime.
  • Phosphorus, 73 mg - This mineral often does not get the credit it deserves, but it does so much for your body. Phosphorus is almost as abundant in your body as calcium and helps calcium build strong bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also important for how your body stores and uses energy, repairs cells and is needed to make proteins like the one responsible for the oxygen-carrying capabilities of our red blood cells. This mineral has also been linked to weight management. In a study of almost 40,000 women in Korea, phosphorus deficiency correlated with weight gain from oral contraceptives. Furthermore, a study from Lebanon showed that phosphorus supplements in a small group (63 people) for 12 weeks significantly decreased body weight, BMI, waist circumference and subjective appetite scores.
  • Potassium, 690 mg - Potassium may help lower blood pressure by balancing out negative effects of salt. According to Harvard Health, “[w]hen it comes to fighting high blood pressure, the average American diet delivers too much sodium and too little potassium. Eating to reverse this imbalance could prevent or control high blood pressure and translate into fewer heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from heart disease.”             
  • Sodium, 11 mg - When it comes to enzyme operations and muscle contractions, an electrolyte like sodium is SUPER important! Sodium regulates the blood and protects the body from body function impairment. Sodium also regulates body fluids while transmitting electrical impulses in the body.

In my opinion, avocados are one of the most versatile foods on the planet. Check out these cool, healthy recipes that incorporate avocado. My favorite is the avocado and chickpea salad.

Do you like avocados? What are some of your favorite recipes? Have you been going meat-free on Mondays?   

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

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