The avocado is a stone fruit with a creamy nature that is popular worldwide and is known for its immense health benefits; both the soft fruit and its hard seed are medicinal; there are lots of scientific researches to prove its nutritional and medicinal value; we will be looking at some of the tremendous health benefits of this wonderful fruit and its seeds.
Health benefits of avocado fruit
The fruit is nutritious: This fruit is prized for its high nutrient value; it is referred to as a “super food”, this nutritious food contains a wide variety of nutrients including 20 different vitamins and minerals. Some of the most abundant nutrients in a serving of avocado fruit are vitamin K, folate, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and vitamin E.
It also contains small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin A, B1, B2 and B3.A single serving of avocado fruit also has 160 calories, 3.4 grams of carbohydrates, 0.5 grams of sugar, 2 grams of proteins, 7 grams of fiber and 15 grams of healthy fats. They have no cholesterol or sodium and they are low in saturated fats.
It prevents morning sickness: Morning sickness is very common in pregnant women; taking this fruit helps overcome nausea and queasiness during pregnancy, it rich content of vitamin B6 is responsible for this because it can reduce nausea and vomiting.
It makes babies healthy: This fruit is rich in folate which supports a healthy pregnancy and reduces the risk of miscarriages and neural tube defects.
It has antioxidant properties: This fruit is rich in vitamin C and E which supports the antioxidant properties of the body; vitamin C recycles vitamin E and helps reduce the oxidation of low density lipoprotein cholesterol. It also contains other antioxidant like epicatechin, violaxanthin and neochrome that help to neutralize the effects of free radicals that are responsible for diseases like cancer, premature aging, cognitive disorders, vision problems, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
It is a rich source of potassium: Avocado has more potassium than bananas; potassium supports healthy functioning of the heart and it helps in maintaining the electrical gradient in the cells. Many people are deficient in potassium today and this mineral is needed for various molecular functions in the body. Potassium reduces blood pressure and cuts the risk for chronic diseases like kidney failure, stroke and heart attacks.
It fights rapid aging: Consuming this fruit regularly will prevent rapid aging; it contains xanthophyll which is an antioxidant that
It lowers the risk of depression: Foods high in folate are good in cutting the risk of depression and avocado is in the list of these foods; folate prevents the buildup of homocysteine which is a substance that can impair the circulation of blood and the delivery of nutrients to the brain and this can affect the brain and lead to depression. Excess amount of homocysteine in the body can interfere with the production of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine; these chemical messengers regulate mood, sleep and appetite.
It is loaded with healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are good for the heart: This super food is a high fat food and one of the fattiest plant food in existence; this fats are healthy for the heart and the majority of the fat contained is oleic acid, this fatty acid is also present in olive oil and it is responsible for some of its health benefits.
Oleic acid reduces inflammation and it prevents cancer by working on genes linked to cancer; the other healthy fatty acids present in this fruit are resistant to heat induced oxidation which makes avocado oil healthy and safe for cooking.
It improves digestion of food: Its high fiber content prevents constipation, maintains a healthy digestive tract and reduces the risk of colon cancer. The fiber also serves as food for the friendly bacteria in the intestine which helps in digestion and supports a healthy immune system.
It is a good source of fiber: This fruit is loaded with fiber which aids weight loss, reduce the level of sugar in the bloodstream and reduces the risk of many chronic diseases including colon cancer. The fiber also feed the friendly gut bacteria in the intestine and this will boost immune functions and make the body to function optimally.
It detoxifies the body: This fruit helps in detoxifying the body naturally; it rich content of fiber boosts regular movement of the bowels which helps in the daily excretion of toxins through bile and stool. The fiber also regulates the immune system and reduces inflammation.
It lowers cholesterol and triacylglycerides: High levels of cholesterol and triacylglycerides is behind chronic diseases including heart disease which is the most common cause of death in the world; eating this fruit regularly will reduce the total level of cholesterol significantly, it will reduce the levels of triacylglycerides in the blood by 20%, it will lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol by 22% and increase the level of high density lipoprotein cholesterol by 11%.
It has antimicrobial action: This fruit has antimicrobial substances; they are effectively particularly against E.coli which a leading cause of food poisoning.
Studies prove that those who eat this fruit regularly are healthier than those who don’t: In the NHANES survey in the United States; a study analyzed data from 17,567 participants and they found out that those who consumed avocados were healthier than those who didn’t.
The avocado consumers had much nutrient intake, their risk for metabolic syndrome were cut by half, risks factors for diabetes and heart disease were also improved, they weighed less, had lower body mass index, less belly fat and more good high density lipoprotein cholesterol.
It protects from chronic diseases: Its rich source of fiber significantly lowers the risk of developing coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and some gastrointestinal diseases. It also enhances the sensitivity of insulin.
It aids in the absorption of nutrients: The healthy fats in this fruit helps one to absorb nutrients from plant foods; it helps the absorption of fat soluble nutrients and vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) and carotenoids which are powerful antioxidants. The fruit or its oil helps the body to absorb antioxidant and this is why it is eaten with vegetables, it is added to vegetable smoothies and salads.
It prevents bad breath: This fruit is a natural remedy for bad breath; it prevents indigestion or an upset stomach which is the primary cause of bad breath. It also has antimicrobial properties that can kill the bacteria in the mouth that cause bad breath and they can even prevent oral cancer.
It protects the eyes: The fruit is loaded with powerful antioxidants that protect the eyes; they also contain lutein and zeaxanthine which are important for the health of the eyes. These nutrients reduce the risk of eye problems like cataracts and macular degeneration which are common in the elderly.
It benefits the skin and hair: This fruit is packed with nutrients that supports and maintain a healthy skin; it enriches dry, chapped or damaged skin and it contains essential vitamins that makes the skin glow.
This fruit is used in many natural cosmetics and they are used to prepare hair and face masks. The oil of avocado can treat plaque psoriasis and it is very rich in beta-carotene and lycopene. The nutrients in this fruits also nourish dry and damaged hair.
It can help in the prevention of cancer: This fruit when taken by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy can help them overcome the side effects of this treatment in human lymphocytes; a study showed that it inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells.
It protects the liver: This fruit is very powerful in reducing liver damages; it has organic compounds that improve the health of the liver and it plays a role in toning up and protecting the liver from a wide variety of conditions, it can even protect the liver against hepatitis C and the damages that it causes.
It relieves symptoms of arthritis: Avocados unsaponifables are extracts from avocados that when used together with soybean unsaponifables can reduce the symptoms of arthritis of the bones (osteoarthritis).
It makes the kidneys healthy: It helps those suffering from chronic diseases to maintain the balance of minerals and fluids; potassium helps maintain a healthy heart and avocado is rich in potassium; potassium also maintains the fluid balance through channels for cells and organs.
This balance of fluid and minerals is important for healthy functioning of the kidneys and it helps in the movement of fluids and toxins from the body.
It helps in weight loss: This fruit is a weight loss friendly food; it gives a feeling of satisfaction and reduces the desire to eat for over 5 hours. The fruit is high in fiber and low in carbs and these promotes weight loss.
It prevents a deficiency in vitamin K: A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to problems in a newborn if the mother is deficient in this vitamin and it can lead to bleeding disorder. Pregnant women low in this vitamin should eat lots of avocados.
It hastens healing of wound: Studies have proved the effectiveness of this fruit in healing wounds; it enriches dry, chapped, damaged and sun burnt skin and it can heal wounds all over the body.
How to use Avocado?
This fruit can be eaten alone or it can be eaten with bread; it can also be added to smoothies.
What about the seeds?
The seeds are always thrown away and that is because the important health benefits of the seed are not known by many; just like the fruit, the seed is medicinal and can be used to treat a wide range of illnesses. There are known to prevent anemia because they are very rich in iron.
They can serve as natural food dye which gives food an orange colour and they have no side effects like the chemical food dyes.
The seed of avocado is very healthy; 70% of the amino acids found in the fruit are found in the seeds and it contains more soluble fiber than any other food. All the health benefits mentioned above can be carried out by the seed; the only difference is that over consuming it can cause constipation and other side effects due to its tannin content.
How to consume avocado seed?
- You can make an infusion by boiling the seed for 10 minutes, and then let it cool then you drink it throughout the day.
- It can be dried and grounded into powder; this can be stored in an airtight container and can be added to soups, stews, rice, smoothies, pastas and any food of your choice.
The powder can even use to make face mask or cream to apply on boils and skin blemishes. It makes them dry quicker. To make a face mask with avocado seed; mix the power with a little bit of hot water and put between two layers of grease and apply on the skin for 5 to 10 minutes until you notice that it is dry. Do it daily until the skin condition improves.
- The raw seed can be grated and use for hair care and scalp treatment. After grating the seeds; mix it with castor oil and let it soak for a day, then rub it on your scalp. Cover your head with a film or towel and let it sit for one hour and wash your hair well.
- They can also be used for massages and body rub; crush the seeds and mix it with alcohol; let it soak for a week, this mixture can be used for body massage in cases of joint and muscle pains, migraines, neck and back pain.
- The seeds can also be used as rodent poison; grind the seed and mix it with flour and set it in rodent prone areas.