The health benefits of avocados
Published October 06, 2017
Food trends come and go. But one such trend that has seemingly enjoyed more staying power than other flavors of the month is avocado toast, a popular dish that might trace some of that admiration to how easy it is to prepare.
The popularity of avocado toast has exploded in recent years, but it has actually been around for decades. Many trace the origins of avocado toast to Australia, though it's hard for food historians to say with utmost certainty where the dish was first served.
Avocado toast might be as healthy as it is popular. Avocados boast a host of health benefits, some of which might surprise even the most ardent devotee of avocado toast.
Avocados are loaded with vitamins. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database, avocados are a great source of numerous vitamins, including C, E, K, and B-6. Avocados also contain beta-carotene, which the human body converts into vitamin A that promotes healthy skin and a strong immune system.
Avocados can benefit vision. Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, a pair phytochemicals concentrated in the tissues in the eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin are believed to block blue light from reaching structures in the retina, thereby reducing a personÕs risk of developing macular degeneration. In fact, studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the American Journal of Ophthalmology and The Archives of Ophthalmology found that diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin are associated with a lower risk of macular degeneration, which the American Macular Degeneration Foundation notes is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States.
Avocados can promote healthier bones. Because they're high in vitamin K, a nutrient that is crucial for bone health, avocados may help reduce a person's risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition characterized by bones becoming fragile and brittle due to loss of tissue. Vitamin K may help improve the intestinal absorption of calcium. That's a significant benefit, as calcium deficiency has long been associated with a greater risk for osteoporosis.
Avocados may help fight depression. Avocados are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit the body in myriad ways. One of those ways is by helping to reduce the symptoms of depression. Polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids are thought to antagonize inflammatory cytokines that can contribute to feelings of depression.
Trendy foods come and go, oftentimes falling off the radar when their health benefits are overstated or proven dubious. However, the documented benefits of avocados may ensure the staying power of avocado toast.