Our ancestors knew about the benefits of avocado, one of the oldest food plants in Mexico. The natives of Mexico treated avocado as both a food and medicine. The Aztecs used avocado leaves, seed, seed oil, and fruit pulp treat various diseases. They made tea out of the leaves and took them as medicine for cough, colds, diarrhea, and hypertension. Avocado tea also promoted menstrual flow, and the leaves were used to heal bruises.
Why avocados are so good for you?
Today, modern research gives us more reasons to include avocado in our list of must-have fruits. Animal studies, for instance, show that the avocado seed fights tumor, diabetes and bacteria. It even gives skin that healthy glow.
Here are other reasons why avocado is good for you.
It promotes cholesterol and cardiovascular health
A study which sought to find out how the avocado affects blood vessel function, serum lipid concentrations, and weight loss in overweight and obese people showed that the fruit promotes cholesterol and heart health. After six weeks, researchers noted a drop in the body mass and body fat percentage of those who ate avocado. This proves that avocados do not increase the level of blood cholesterol.
A similar study published in 2015 showed the same results. Researchers also found out that avocado not only lowers bad cholesterol levels. It also increases the level of good cholesterol, thus making the fruit ideal for heart patients who need to recover from blood vessel problems.
Avocado seeds, meanwhile, control hypertension. Mice fed with avocado seed flour showed a marked decrease in total cholesterol after six days. Animal models have also shown reduced levels of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol in hypertensive rats fed with avocado seed extracts for four weeks. Still another animal study revealed that avocados lowered blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and sodium levels after five weeks.
It improves the musculoskeletal and integumentary systems
A 2015 study proved that consuming avocados daily for three months alleviated pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis while improving the condition of collagen and cartilage in joints. Inflammation was totally eliminated and cholesterol absorption reduced. This was a big help for arthritis patients since cholesterol level contributes a lot to the development of arthritis.
Avocado oil, for its part, promotes the manufacture of collagen which makes skin supple, keeps hair strong, and connective tissue functioning well. Avocado oil also helps heal wounds and solve skin problems. In fact, avocado oil proved better in healing animal wounds than petroleum jelly. Combined with vitamin B12, avocado seed oil was proven effective in treating plaque psoriasis. Scientists found out that the healing effects of the oil lasted as long as 12 weeks.
Avocado seed supports the growth of keratinocytes (cells that make up most of the skin’s outermost layer), thus making it a key element in treating skin problems including sunburn. Studies show that avocado seed extract improved cell viability, reduced the number of sunburned cells, promoted DNA repair, and reduced inflammation.
Fatty acids from avocado seeds are used in skin care products and cosmetics to make skin suppler and retain its moisture. Avocado seeds can also erase stretch marks, prevent skin growth that come with age and skin redness.
It prevents cancer
Leaves and seed extract from the avocado induce the death of breast cancer cells. The avocado peel, for its part, is rich in flavonoid and phenolic compounds that fight a host of diseases, including cancer.
It fights bacteria and diabetes
Avocado seed prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi. Research in animals has shown that the avocado seed lowers blood glucose by 47 to 55 percent. The seed extract appears to protect contain substances that mimic insulin and promote the production of this hormone that controls glucose levels in the blood.
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