Health benefits of avocados

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 person’s 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.