Avocados contain a wide range of nutrients and may have various health benefits. These include improving digestion, lowering the risk of depression, preventing bone loss, supporting heart health, and protecting against cancer.

Also known as an alligator pear or butter fruit, avocados are a type of berry. They grow in warm climates.

Avocados provide a substantial amount of monounsaturated fatty acids and are rich in many vitamins and minerals. Incorporating them into a varied, healthy diet can provide a number of benefits.

Below, we take an in-depth look at the nutritional makeup of avocados, 11 ways that they may benefit our health, and some risks to consider.

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Avocados are a source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Avocados contain high levels of healthy, beneficial fats, which can help a person feel fuller between meals. Eating fat slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Roughly half an avocado, or 100 grams (g), contains:

Fat is essential for every single cell in the body. Eating healthy fats supports skin health, enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and even helps support the immune system.

A diet that contains a variety of fruits and vegetables can provide numerous health benefits. It may, for example, reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and weight moderation.

Here are 11 reasons why avocados can contribute to a healthy diet:

1. Healthy for the heart

In every 100 g of avocado, there are 76 milligrams (mg) of a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. Regularly consuming beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, which are important for heart health.

2. Great for vision

Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals present in eye tissue. They provide antioxidant protection to help minimize damage, including from UV light.

The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados also support the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta carotene. As a result, adding avocados to the diet may help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

3. May help prevent osteoporosis

Half an avocado provides approximately 18% of the daily value of vitamin K.

This nutrient is often overlooked but is essential for bone health. Taking in enough vitamin K can support bone health by increasing calcium absorption and reducing the urinary excretion of calcium.

4. Components may prevent cancer

Studies have not yet assessed a direct link between avocado consumption and a reduction in cancer risk. However, avocados do contain compounds that may help prevent the onset of some cancers.

Research has associated an optimal intake of folate with a reduced risk of developing colon, stomach, pancreatic, and cervical cancers. However, the mechanism behind this association remains unclear. Half of an avocado contains roughly 81 mcg of folate, 20% of the daily value.

Avocados also contain high levels of phytochemicals and carotenoids, which may have anticancer properties. Studies have shown that carotenoids, specifically, may protect against cancer progression.

A 2023 study discovered that more than one weekly serving of avocado was associated with a decreased risk of colorectal, lung, and bladder cancer. However, researchers did not observe associations between avocado consumption and the risk of total cancer or other site-specific cancers. Further research is necessary to confirm these associations.

5. Supporting fetal health

Folate is important for a healthy pregnancy. Adequate intake reduces the risk of miscarriage and neural tube abnormalities. A person should consume at least 600 micrograms (mcg) of folate per day when pregnant. One avocado may contain as much as 160 mcg.

Avocados also contain fatty acids that are integral to a healthy diet and fetal development.

6. Reducing depression risk

Avocados are a good source of folate, which plays an important role in overall dietary health. Studies have also found links between low folate levels and depression.

Folate helps prevent the buildup of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. Reviews of past research have linked excess homocysteine with cognitive dysfunction, depression, and the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.

7. Improving digestion

Avocados are high in fiber, containing approximately 6–7 g per half fruit.

Eating foods with natural fiber can help prevent constipation, maintain digestive tract health, and lower the risk of colon cancer.

8. Natural detoxification

Adequate fiber promotes regular bowel movements, which are crucial for the excretion of toxins through the bile and stool.

Studies have shown that dietary fiber also promotes good gut health and microbial diversity. This helps the body maintain a healthy bacterial balance. This can reduce inflammation and aggravation of the digestive tract.

9. Osteoarthritis relief

Avocados, soy, and some other plant foods contain saponins. These substances may have a positive effect on knee and hip osteoarthritis symptoms. However, researchers have not yet confirmed the long-term effects of saponins in people with osteoarthritis.

10. Antimicrobial action

Avocados and avocado oil contain substances that have antimicrobial properties. Research shows that avocado seed extracts can help defend the body against both Streptococcus agalactiae and Staphylococcus aureus infections, for example.

11. Protection from chronic disease

The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados may be beneficial in preventing chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease.

Meanwhile, research suggests that an optimal intake of fiber may reduce the risk of stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases, and avocados are rich in fiber.

The right fiber intake can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance weight loss for people with obesity.

A person can incorporate avocados into their diet in a variety of ways. Soft avocados, for example, make delicious guacamole, while firmer avocados are great for slicing and adding to a salad or sandwich.

Discover ways to eat avocado and recipes here.

There is little risk in eating avocados in moderation. But as with all foods, overdoing it can lead to unwanted outcomes. For example, avocado has a high fat content, so adding too many to the diet might lead to unintended weight gain.

Avocados also contain vitamin K, which can affect how blood thinners such as warfarin work.

Learn more about the risks of avocados here.

Below are some commonly asked questions about avocado:

Is avocado good for high blood pressure?

A recent study discovered that avocado consumption was associated with a lower incidence of high blood pressure. However, more research on this topic is needed.

Why is avocado a superfood?

Avocados are often considered a superfood because they are nutrient-rich and a good source of several vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds.

How often is it OK to eat avocado?

While avocado has many nutritional benefits, as with all foods, moderation is key. For instance, avocado has a high fat content, so adding too many to the diet might lead to unintended weight gain.