Health Benefits of Avocado

What is avocado?

Persea Americana, commonly known as avocado, is the member of the Lauraceae family plant.

The term “avocado” originates from the Aztec word ahueketl that means testicle or “fertility fruit” , due to the shape of the fruit.

In certain studies, its active component, hydroalcoholic fruit extract has been investigated. Other names for avocado are Alligator Pear, Midshipman’s butter, Vegetable butter, Butter pear, Cura, Cupandra, Aguacate, Palta, Abacate, and Avocatier.

Avocado benefits

Nowadays, certain varieties of avocado members are grouped as follows:

  • Guatemalan (Persea nubigena seum guatamalensis.),
  • Mexican (P. americana seum drymifolia Blake),
  • West Indian (P. americana Mill. seum americana).

Hybrid forms exist between all three aforementioned subtypes of avocado.

Biochemical effects of avocado

The most common sterols found in avocado are cholesterol, campesterol, ß-sitosterol and stigmasterol. Sterols are of great importance for an adequate circulation of bile acids that are synthesized from cholesterol in the liver to the small intestine. Bile acids are necessary for accumulation of cholesterol as well as absorption of fats and vitamins.

Avocados contain unsaturated monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that do not elevate cholesterol level in the human blood.

Avocados contain unsaturated monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats

Its hypolipidemic attributes are carried out by modulating the functions of the enzyme HMG CoA reductase as well as fatty acid synthase in liver.

Phytosterols are derived from sterols and are only found in plants. Their function is to lower the levels of cholesterol and have been implicated in the treatment of cancer, gallstones, HIV and tuberculosis.

In addition, phytosterols lower the lipid absorption as well.

The most abundant phytosterols in avocado are ß-sitosterol (76 mg/100g), campesterol (5.1 mg/100g), and stigmasterol (< 3 mg/100g).

Avocado is the major source of folate (folic acid), a B vitamin that reduces the risk of serious types of certain birth defects, heart disease, and cancers.

Avocado health benefits

It has been estimated that ounce of avocado provides the high levels of beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, copper, pantothenic acid, vitamin C, E and K, and protein than any other fruit.

The leaf of avocado and its seed extracts have been used for a variety of medical application, including treatment of diarrhea and dysentery. Avocado posess certain properties of antibiotic regimens.

Avocado plants contain oleic acid which is a monosaturated fat that helps lowering cholesterol.

In the recent studies it has been shown that avocados reduce total cholesterol level, increase HDL by up to 11%, lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22% and reduce the level of blood tryglicerides by up to 20%.

  • Avocados are abundant in unsaturated fatty acids that enhance the absorption of lipid compounds.
  • They are a good source of panthothenic acid (B5 vitamin), vitamin K and fibers that are of paramount importance for an adequate digestion and regular peristalsis.
  • Avocados are ideal fruit for an early as well as transitient feeding period in infants due to their neutral flavor, smooth consistency and compounds ( lutein, zeaxanthin, glutathione).
  • It is known that avocado contains various nutritive substances that reduce the negative effects of increased concentrations of sodium, unhealthy calories as well as fats.
  • Avocado provides a good source of potassium which aids to the regulation of blood pressure.
  • It is used as an antibiotic and remedy for dysentery.
  • The leaves of avocado are chewed as a remedy for pyorrhea.
  • Avocado oil is being used to relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
  • Leaves can be heated and applied to the forehead to relieve neuralgia.
  • Certain avocado plants could be applied as a cough remedy.
  • The seed in powdered form of avocado plant may show positive effect in the treatment of dandruff.

Effect on cardiovascular system

Due to high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that may decrase blood cholesterol levels and therefore decrease risk for heart disease.

Vitamin B6 and the folic acid contained in avocado could regulate the high concentrations of the amino acid homocysteine and consequently regulate the cardiovascular function.

Avocados may reduce the risk for the onset of metabolic syndrome that causes more severe conditions such as stroke, coronary artery disease and diabetes.

Anti-inflammatory properties

Avocados are important for controlling and reducing inflammatory processes human body due to high levels of phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and polyhydroxolated fatty alcohols.

Their most prominent role has been noted in reducing the inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Regulating cholesterol levels

While decreasing the level of cholesterol, avocados may as well increase the blood concentration of good holesterol (HDL cholesterol).

Regulating blood sugar

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats that could control the insulin resistance, therefore regulating blood glucose levels. In addition, the fibers in avocados may help maintain glucose levels.

avocado juice health benefits

Regulating blood pressure

High levels of potassium contained in avocado may help maintain blood pressure in the normal range of values. The main function of potassium is in maintaining the salt effects, that are responsible for high blood pressure.

Effect on vision

Due to high concentration of an carotenoid antioxidant (lutein), it is possible to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataract.

Effect on immune system

Avocado is abundant in glutathione, an antioxidant responsible for various immune system functions.

Pregnancy and preventing birth defects

Avocados are a valuable source of folic acid that is of vital importance for preventing the defects of neural tube (spina bifida, neural tube defects).

Cancer

Avocados have been shown to reduce the risk of mouth, skin and prostate cancer due to various antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components.

Digestion

Avocados fiber are important for regulating the bowel peristalsis and maintaining physiological weight.

REFERENCES

  1. Monika P, Geetha A. Effect of hydroalcoholic fruit extract of Persea americana Mill. on high fat diet induced obesity: A dose response study in rats. Indian J Exp Biol. 2016 Jun;54(6):370-8.
  2. Padmanabhan M, Arumugam G. Effect of Persea americana (avocado) fruit extract on the level of expression of adiponectin and PPAR-γ in rats subjected to experimental hyperlipidemia and obesity. J Complement Integr Med. 2014 Jun;11(2):107-19. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2013-0053.
  3. Ameer K. Avocado as a Major Dietary Source of Antioxidants and Its Preventive Role in Neurodegenerative Diseases. Adv Neurobiol. 2016;12:337-54. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-28383-8_18.
  4. Christensen R, Bartels EM, Astrup A, Bliddal H. Symptomatic efficacy of avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) in osteoarthritis (OA) patients: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2008 Apr;16(4):399-408. Epub 2007 Nov 26.
  5. Lequesne M, Maheu E, Cadet C, Dreiser RL. Structural effect of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables on joint space loss in osteoarthritis of the hip. Arthritis Rheum. 2002 Feb;47(1):50-8.
  6. Christensen R, Bartels EM, Astrup A, Bliddal H. Symptomatic efficacy of avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) in osteoarthritis (OA) patients: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2008 Apr;16(4):399-408. Epub 2007 Nov 26.
  7. López Ledesma R et al. Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia. Arch Med Res. 1996 Winter;27(4):519-23.
  8. McCloy RA et al. Role of endoplasmic reticulum stress induction by the plant HYPERLINK Br J Cancer. 2013 Dec 10;109(12):3034-41.