More than 80 varieties of avocados are grown today, with most of the U.S. crop coming from California and the Hass avocado being the most widely available. This fruit boasts a wealth of vitamins and minerals as well as healthy fats. You may be familiar with using avocado topically to moisturize and exfoliate your skin and promote healthy hair, but due to the wealth of nutrients in avocados, eating them can keep your skin and hair looking young and healthy too. Add avocados to salads or sandwiches, blend it into a pesto sauce or whip up some guacamole with whole-grain pita chips for a healthy snack.
Biotin, or vitamin H, is part of the B-complex vitamins and is vital for healthy skin and hair. One-half of an avocado contains 3 micrograms of biotin, or about 10 percent of the recommended dietary allowance. A 2012 article in Advances in Clinical Nutrition stated a biotin deficiency can cause dermatitis, alopecia, skin infection, rashes and thinning hair. You require other B vitamins to maintain healthy skin and hair, and a lack of them in your diet can cause dermatitis and hair loss. Avocados are also a good source of the B-complex vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 and folate.
Free Radicals and Vitamin C
Your body produces free radicals every day through environmental factors, such as sun exposure and pollution. Free radicals can damage your skin and cause gray hair or loss of hair. Antioxidant vitamins, including vitamins A, C and E, protect you from the ill effects of free radicals. One cup of avocado contains 16 percent and 20 percent of the RDA of vitamin C for adult men and women, respectively. Vitamin C helps manufacture new skin cells, heal wounds and make scar tissue. A deficiency in vitamin C may cause dry, splitting hair and dry, scaly skin.
Vitamins A and E
Avocados also contain 24 percent and 31 percent of the RDA of vitamin A for adult men and women, respectively. You need vitamin A to make and maintain new skin cells. A study published in 2003 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed an association between higher dietary vitamin A and decreased sebum production, which is beneficial if you suffer from acne. A 2009 pilot study published in Dermatoendocrinology discovered young males with acne had higher sebum than subjects without acne. Vitamin E may prevent hair loss by increasing the number of capillaries you have. With more capillaries, your blood supply increases to your scalp, and the improved circulation prevents hair loss, encourages hair growth and reduces split ends.
Avocados contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids protect and strengthen your skin. They also stimulate molecules that decrease inflammation and can defend your skin from sun damage and aging, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. The omega-9 fatty acids in avocados prevent the top layer of your skin from drying out so it feels soft and looks healthy. They also protect you from irritated and red skin and help heal damaged skin cells. In addition, polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fruits in vegetables may protect men from skin damage from the sun, according to a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science in 2013.
- Mercola.com: Avocado Uses and Health Benefits
- International Dermal Institute: Vitamin H
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Avocados, Raw, All Commercial Varieties
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Vitamins
- Advances in Nutrition: Biotin
- Reader's Digest: Five Vitamins for Healthy Skin
- FamilyDoctor.org: Antioxidants: What You Need to Know
- International Journal of Trichology: Oxidative Stress in Aging
- Medline Plus: Vitamin C
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Human Skin Condition and Its Associations With Nutrient Concentrations in Serum and Diet
- Photo Credit bergamont/iStock/Getty Images
- Dermatoendocrinology: Sebum Analysis of Individuals With and Without Acne
- Med-Health.Net: Vitamin E for Hair
- Linus Pauling Institute: Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health
- Healthiest Foods: Top Five Health Benefits of Avocado
- Journal of Dermatological Science: Association Between Dietary Intake of n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Severity of Skin Photoaging in Middle-Aged Caucasian Population
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