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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, protecting against cancer, and more.
Also known as an alligator pear or butter fruit, avocados are actually a type of berry. They grow in warm climates.
Avocados provide a substantial amount of monounsaturated fatty acids and are
Below, we take an in-depth look at the nutritional makeup of avocados, 12 ways that they may benefit our health, and some risks to consider.
A diet that contains a variety of fruits and vegetables can provide numerous
Here are 12 reasons why avocados can contribute to a healthy diet:
1. Rich in nutrients
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
Roughly half an avocado, or 100 grams (g),
- 160 calories
- 14.7 g of fat
- 8.5 g of carbohydrates
- 6.7 g of fiber
- less than 1 g of sugar
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
Learn more about the different types of fat here.
2. Healthy for the heart
In every 100 g of avocado there are
3. Great for vision
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.
4. May help prevent osteoporosis
Half an avocado provides approximately
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.
5. 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.
Avocados also contain high levels of phytochemicals and carotenoids, which may have anticancer properties.
6. Supporting fetal health
Folate is important for a healthy pregnancy. Adequate intake reduces the risk of miscarriage and neural tube abnormalities. Consume at least
Avocados also contain fatty acids that
7. Reducing depression risk
Avocados are a good source of
Folate helps prevent the buildup of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain.
8. Improving digestion
Avocados are high in fiber, containing approximately
Eating foods with natural fiber can help prevent constipation, maintain digestive tract health, and lower the risk of colon cancer.
Learn more about the importance of fiber here.
9. Natural detoxification
Adequate fiber promotes regular bowel movements, which are crucial for the excretion of toxins through the bile and stool.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Protection from chronic disease
The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados may be beneficial in preventing chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease.
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.
To tell how ripe an avocado is, gently press the skin. If the skin is completely firm, the avocado needs to ripen further. If the skin gives way to pressure, the avocado is ready to eat.
People can use avocados in many other forms, such as an oil for cooking or moisturizing the skin or hair. Check product information before making a purchase, to avoid misuse.
A person’s overall diet is key in achieving good health and preventing illness. For this reason, it is better to focus on having a diet with plenty of variety than to concentrate on the benefits of individual foods.
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
Avocados also contain vitamin K, which can affect how blood thinners work.
It is important for people taking blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), to keep their vitamin K levels constant. For this reason, it is not a good idea to suddenly eat more or fewer foods containing vitamin K, which plays an important role in blood clotting.