The avocado is a rather unique fruit.
While most fruit consists primarily of carbohydrate, avocado is high in healthy fats.
Numerous studies show that it has powerful health benefits.
Here are 5 health benefits of avocado that are supported by scientific research.
This fruit is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to various dishes due to its good flavor and rich texture. It is the main ingredient in guacamole.
These days, the avocado has become an incredibly popular food among health-conscious individuals. It’s often referred to as a superfood, which is not surprising given its health properties (2).
There are many types of avocado that vary in shape and color — from pear-shaped to round and green to black. They can also weigh anywhere from 8 ounces (220 grams) to 3 pounds (1.4 kg).
The most popular variety is the Hass avocado.
It’s often called “alligator pear,” which is very descriptive, as it tends to be pear-shaped and has green, bumpy skin like an alligator.
The yellow-green flesh inside the fruit is eaten, but the skin and seed are discarded.
Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.
Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving (3):
- Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
- Folate: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
- Potassium: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
- It also contains small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).
This is coming with 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber, so there are only 2 “net” carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.
Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat. This is why they are favored by some experts who believe these substances are harmful, which is a debated topic, however.
Potassium is a nutrient that most people don’t get enough of (4).
This nutrient helps maintain electrical gradients in your body’s cells and serves various important functions.
Avocados are very high in potassium. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving packs 14% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), compared to 10% in bananas, which are a typical high-potassium food (5).
Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure (6).
Avocado is a high-fat food.
In fact, 77% of the calories in it are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence.
But they don’t just contain any fat. The majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid — a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component of olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its health benefits.
The fats in avocado are also rather resistant to heat-induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe choice for cooking.
Fiber is another nutrient that avocados are relatively rich in.
A distinction is often made between soluble and insoluble fiber.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of avocado packs 7 grams of fiber, which is 27% of the RDA.
About 25% of the fiber in avocado is soluble, while 75% is insoluble (15).
Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world (16).
It’s known that several blood markers are linked to an increased risk.
This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure and various others.
Eight controlled studies in people have examined the effects of avocado on some of these risk factors.
- Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly.
- Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%.
- Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%.
- Increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by up to 11%.
One of the studies found that including avocado in a low-fat, vegetarian diet significantly improved the cholesterol profile (24).
Though their results are impressive, it’s important to note that all of the human studies were small and short-term, including only 13–37 people with a duration of 1–4 weeks.
Red Meat Hurts Your Heart, Right? Scientists Find That May Not Be True
- A new study finds that eating red meat isn’t associated with an increased risk of cancer or heart disease.
- This goes against long-held scientific opinion that red meat is associated with an increased risk of certain health conditions.
- But experts say this doesn’t mean you can eat burgers every day, and that more research needs to be done.
We’ve heard it for years: Cut back on red meat in favor of lean meats like fish or chicken. But now researchers say there’s evidence red meat may not be quite as bad for our health as we’ve thought.
A rigorous review of the evidence finds little to no health benefit from reducing red or processed meat consumption from average levels. But don’t think this means you can go and have a burger every day.
Why Cancer in Younger Adults Is Increasing So Dramatically
Certain cancers are showing up more often in younger adults. Researchers believe obesity is to blame.
A comprehensive study published this week found that 6 out of 12 types of cancer thought to result from being significantly overweight are becoming notably more common among those under the age of 50.
What’s more, the younger the patient, the more common certain cancers were.
The findings, published in The Lancet Public Health, noted a significant increase in the incidence of multiple myeloma — rare cancer that attacks the bone marrow — along with colorectal, uterine, gallbladder, kidney, and pancreatic cancer.
Obesity has also been linked to cancer of the stomach, liver, breasts, ovaries, esophagus, and thyroid.
The study’s authors said their work is the first since the mid-1990s to review trends in the incidence of these 12 obesity-related cancers. They compared them with 18 other cancers among younger adults.
The team reviewed 20 years of data on those cancers, studying information from state registries on patients ranging in age from 25 to 84.
They found more than 14 million cases diagnosed from 1995 through 2014 for the 30 types of cancer.
“What makes this study relevant is that it’s very large,” said Dr. Anton Bilchik, a professor of surgery and chief of medicine at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in California.
That obesity-related cancers are showing up in relatively young people has been the subject of multiple studies in recent years.
What’s striking about this latest research, Bilchik told Healthline, is both its scope and the discovery that the incidence of some of these diseases is rising among successively younger groups.
By contrast, rates either dropped or held steady in all but 2 of the 18 cancers not related to obesity.
Bilchik is seeing the trend among his own patients.
In the past week, Bilchik operated on four individuals under 55 with diagnoses of advanced-stage cancers that usually affect people in their 60s and 70s.
Two of them were obese and the other two had been overweight as children, which Bilchik thinks also predisposed them to cancer.
One example of the inverse relationship between risk and age is pancreatic cancer.
The study’s authors found the incidence of that disease changed .77 percent per year on average in the 45- to 49-year age group.
By contrast, the annual incidence rose by 2.47 percent on average among 30- to 34-year-olds. In the 25- to 29-year-old cohort, the average yearly change was 4.34 percent.
Although adults ages 50 and older also experienced steady increases in the incidence of most of those obesity-related cancers — colorectal and uterine were the exceptions — the magnitude of those changes was smaller than among younger age groups, except for thyroid cancer.
What’s the connection?
The connection between obesity and certain cancers remains unclear, as does the reason for the uptick of those illnesses in ever-younger populations.
However, medical experts have some theories.
Experiments on mice have shown that obesity accelerates the uncontrolled growth of cells, which could result in human malignancies being discovered earlier in life, the recent study reported.
Obesity has been an increasingly worrisome problem for decades now.
An estimated 40 percent of adults and 18 percent of young people in the United States are obese, despite national guidelines that recommend doctors screen children and young adults for obesity.
The recent study noted that fewer than half of primary care physicians routinely calculate their patients’ body mass index and only one-third of people with obesity report that their doctor determined they were substantially overweight or referred them to weight loss counseling.
But there are other aspects of the problem as well.
Genes, metabolism, and exposure to environmental factors such as processed foods might also play a role in obesity, said Dr. George Chang, professor of surgery and chief of colorectal surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
“It’s certainly a very complex issue and that’s why it’s such a difficult public health problem,” Chang told Healthline.
Finding a solution will require the efforts of all stakeholders, Chang said.
“I think everybody’s responsible,” he said.
Individuals need to understand the consequences of poor lifestyle choices and healthcare providers should be impressing the importance of proper diet and exercise with their patients even though it can be a sensitive topic for those who are overweight, Chang said.
Policy makers also have a role to play. One way could be limiting students’ access to food and sugary drinks that contribute to childhood obesity, Chang said.
The study noted that although some communities are taxing sodas and creating pedestrian-friendly areas to boost physical activity, they remain the exception.
Obesity itself isn’t necessarily the only culprit in a younger person’s cancer diagnosis, however.
Other health complications that excess weight can cause — such as diabetes and gallstones — are also associated with cancer, according to the report.
So is a diet that’s top-heavy with red or processed meat but short on fruits and vegetables.
Whatever the cause, the study concluded that the growing problem of obesity-related cancers in younger generations ultimately could stop or even reverse the progress that’s been made in reducing cancer deaths.
The bottom lineA new study says cancers related to obesity are on the rise among younger adults.
In particular, there has been a significant increase in multiple myeloma, colorectal, uterine, gallbladder, kidney, and pancreatic cancers.
In addition, the younger the age group the higher the increase was.
Researchers said doctors need to emphasize healthy eating choices as well as exercise routines to younger people.
Drinking soda linked to higher risk of kidney disease, finds new study
New United States research has found that a high intake of sugar sweetened beverages such as sweetened fruit drinks and soda may be linked to an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Carried out by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, the new study looked at 3,003 African-American men and women with normal kidney function who were enrolled in the Jackson Heart Study, a long-term study investigating risk factors for diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, and diabetes.
The researchers assessed beverage intake using a food frequency questionnaire completed at the start of the study from 2000 to 2004, and then followed participants until 2009 to 2013.
The findings, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), showed that consuming a “beverage pattern” of soda, sweetened fruit drinks, and water was associated with a higher risk of developing CKD.
Although certain beverages, such as sugar-sweetened drinks, have already been found to affect kidney health, previous findings have been inconsistent. The new study also contributes to the growing body of evidence of the negative health consequences of drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.
However, the researchers were surprised to find that water was one of the drinks also linked with a higher risk of CKD. They noted that the participants’ water consumption may have included a wide variety of types of water, including flavored and sweetened water, although unfortunately, the researchers did not collect information about specific brands or types of bottled water in the Jackson Heart Study. JB