A robust immune system is now more important than ever. And if you’re a fan of avocado, you’re in luck! This mighty fruit provides several of the nutrients that your body needs to fight off bacteria and viruses.
Here’s a quick run-down on why avocados should be on your daily menu.
You probably know that avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You might also know that these fats help with balancing cholesterol and blood sugar levels. But did you also know they can help support your immune system?
The fats in avocado function as a powerful delivery system, helping your body to properly absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins play crucial roles in your immune function (as we’ll explain below) and the extra help with absorption means your body can use them more efficiently. Win!
In fact, one study showed that simply adding avocado oil to your salad or salsa can significantly bump up your absorption of carotenoids – a very valuable antioxidant!
Every day, we’re exposed to harmful free radicals generated by pollution, stress, chemicals in our food, and other toxins. These free radicals damage the body’s cells, causing inflammation that can impair the immune system. That’s why antioxidants are so important: they help protect the structural integrity of cells and tissues from free radical damage and help to prevent inflammation.
Avocados have the highest content of lipophilic antioxidants of any other fruit or vegetable!
As well as Vitamins C and E, avocados are an excellent source of carotenoids such as lutein and beta-carotene. Beta carotene supports the immune system by fighting the toxic effects of reactive oxygen species and also by boosting numbers of disease-fighting immune cells.
They also contain phenolics, an antioxidant with bonus antimicrobial properties.
Just one half of an avocado contains about 12% of your recommended daily intake for Vitamin E!
Immune cells have higher concentrations of Vitamin E than almost any other cells, which makes this vitamin incomparable for supporting immune function.
Vitamin E is especially valuable for supporting your T cells, which play a major role in helping to protect your body from infection. Maintaining your Vitamin E levels can help to keep inflammation in check while also reducing your risk of respiratory infections and allergy-related conditions such as asthma.
With 5% of your RDI for Vitamin C, avocados certainly come in handy during the winter. Vitamin C has enormous benefits for the immune system – it fights free radicals, maintains barrier function against invaders, and enhances your immune cells’ ability to attack and kill pathogens. Loading up on Vitamin C has been shown to help prevent and treat both respiratory and systemic infections.
Folate is most often associated with pregnancy, but it’s vital for every stage of life. Folate plays a crucial role in making and repairing DNA, which makes it especially important for immune cell maintenance and responsiveness. Deficiency in folate can slow down your body’s T-cells, while healthy levels keep your immune system on full alert so that it can attack any harmful invaders.
Avocados contain a whopping 41% of your daily folate requirements per serving!
Avocado is one of the best dietary sources of Vitamin B6. This underrated vitamin is actually required for over 100 enzymatic reactions in the body, your immune system can’t function without it. Vitamin B6 helps your immune cells to make the antibodies that fight harmful invaders. Studies show that low B6 levels can impair the way your immune system responds to invading bacteria and viruses, which means it may not respond properly when under attack.
Like folate, magnesium is involved with hundreds of biochemical reactions in your body. Topping up your body’s stores of magnesium helps your immune system tackle pathogens. In fact, disease-fighting T cells can only eliminate abnormal or infected cells efficiently in a magnesium-rich environment. Scientists have also found that magnesium is required for the function of a specific surface protein which plays a key role in activating T cells.
Did you know that your gut is home to around 70 percent of your immune system? That means your digestive tract is your main defence team – and avocados are one of the world’s most gut-nourishing foods!
Avocado fibre is fermented by your gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids have a huge range of benefits for your health. They help maintain the integrity of the intestinal barrier and stimulate gut microbes to produce antimicrobial peptides called defensins, which are a big part of immune protection.
The combination of dietary fibre and monounsaturated fat in avo does wonders for the friendly bacteria that live in your intestines. One study found that eating avocado every day increased numbers of microbes that produce immune-boosting metabolites in the gut. At the same time, the rich fatty acids in avocado improved the overall health and diversity of gut bacteria, helping to keep the whole microbiome in good shape.
Long story short? Adding avocado to your daily diet is a delicious (and easy!) way to help maintain your body’s natural defence system.