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In the past avocados have had a really bad rap as a food choice, but recent research has proved their worth as a valuable source of health-bearing nutrients and vitamins. So, forget everything you ever heard about the fattening avo and learn more about the benefits of this intriguing fruit.
Avocados are the fruit of the Persea americana, a tall evergreen tree native to Central Mexico. Today avocados are cultivated successfully in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world, and they have accumulated quite an impressive following amongst nutritionists and health food worshippers alike.
One such fan is raw food expert David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe: ‘I’m a huge fan of avocados, in fact my nickname is ‘Avocado’.… Avocados aren’t fattening, avocados are good for you, avocados are the best thing for the female reproductive system…’
So, let’s find out more about the healthy properties of the amazing avo.
Not only do avocados taste delicious, but they are packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals including: vitamins A, E, B6, K, fat-soluble vitamin D (a very rich source, which is a great boost for those who don’t get enough sun or supplement with vitamin D3), potassium, lutein, folate (vitamin B9), and monounsaturated fat.
Although they were once shunned because of their so-called high fat content, it is now clear that half an avocado contains 15g of heart-healthy unsaturated fat and only 2g of saturated fat. Half an avocado has 160 calories while one full fruit contains more than one third of the daily value of vitamin C and more than half the daily requirement of vitamin K.
Ok, now you know that you don’t have to feel guilty tucking into an avo snack every day, but it gets even better! Avocados offer specific health benefits for several illnesses and conditions ranging from osteoarthritis to heart disease.
Better heart health is probably the greatest reward reaped from consuming avocados. The high folate and vitamin E content in the fruit is excellent in helping prevent against heart disease and strokes. In addition to this, the monounsaturated fats in avocados can lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Metabolic syndrome is a collective name referring to a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and diabetes. Recent research1 published in the January 2013 issue of the Nutrition Journal found that there was a strong link between the intake of avocados and a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.
The same study also showed that avocado eaters were also thinner, with lower body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference than those who did not eat avocado. Furthermore they had higher levels of HDL, the ‘good’ cholesterol.
Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant found in avocados is not only beneficial in warding off heart disease but also cancer. The vitamin A content of the fruit is also effective in removing free radicals from the body and therefore may protect against these diseases. Several phytonutrients in avocados may help protect against specific cancers such as prostate cancer while the oleic acid content may prevent breast cancer.
Avocados contain the carotenoid lutein which may be associated with the prevention of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. So eat those avos to see clearly into your twilight years.
Surprisingly avocados contain more potassium than bananas. This mineral is important in the regulation of blood pressure and can prevent circulatory diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and strokes.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
The carotenoid antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids contained in avocados make this fruit a great natural anti-inflammatory.
In addition to their disease-prevention properties, avocados can:
The take-home message here is crystal clear: people who eat an avo a day will run a lower risk of developing serious conditions and life-threatening diseases as well as benefiting from a slimmer, trimmer silhouette. So, don’t waste any time start experimenting with the amazing avocado with your very next meal.
Inspiring avocado recipes from David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe
1. Great guacamole – Serves 4
Scoop the meat from the avocado skin. Cut the avocados into chunks, place in a large bowl, and mash with a spoon.
Gently stir in the onions, tomatoes and coriander. Squeeze in the lime juice and stir in salt to taste. Add the water as desired. Mmmm!
Tip: this recipe is great with flax seed crackers. Guacamole is also a great dip for crudités such as carrots, celery, broccoli and bell peppers.
2. Scrumptious quick salad
Mix the cabbage and carrot together in a large bowl. Mix the avocado, mustard, and lemon juice with a fork until smooth (you may use a blender if you like). Add water if necessary. It should have the consistency of mayonnaise. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.
Tip: you can prepare the cabbage and carrot in large quantities and save in the refrigerator for few days. Then you will always have some ready for a quick salad and will only need to add the dressing.
3. Green smoothy
Put all ingredients in your blender, blend and drink!
Avocado face & hair mask in one
Cut the avocado in half and squeeze the fruit into a bowl.
Rub the inside of the empty skins over your face, massaging the remaining fruit in with the avocado pip. Leave this on your face for about 15 minutes while you make and apply the hair mask.
To make the hair mask, add the olive oil, coconut oil and lavender essence to the avocado in the bowl. Mix with your hands until a fairly lumpy consistency is reached. Rub the mixture into dry hair, bundle it all under a shower cap and leave on for 10 minutes. When you shower everything off you may need to do two washes.
The result? Glossy, nutrient-rich hair!
Natural Medicine editorial team.
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