Avocados. Yes, those delicious pitted green fruits that hail from Central Mexico. The food all the health nuts have been obnoxiously rubbing in our faces and worshipping as a “superfood”. So, what exactly does that even mean? Can these strange fruits really be that super? Avocados seem to be hailed in recent years by society as a heaven-sent miracle to humanity. And while they are not a cure-all for every possible ailment in and outside your body, these little green fruits have some powerful qualities that really pack a punch. Read on!
Promote Weight Loss
“Weight loss”. The golden phrase. Don’t misunderstand me here – you will not suddenly lose fifty pounds after eating an avocado every day for a month. You cannot eat pizza and fast food and think that you will stay healthy as long as you eat your half avocado on toast for lunch. Though they aren’t that miraculous, they really are agents in promoting weight loss.
Because of their high amounts of fiber (6 grams in just one half avocado! Incredible), adding some to a sandwich or salad will leave you feeling much more full, for much longer. That means less snacking throughout the day, and snacking is a killer when it comes to weight loss.
Avocados contain both soluble and insoluble fibers, which work to keep our digestive systems running smoothly. Gastric juices in our intestines are stimulated by these fibers, and irregularities such as constipation and diarrhea are greatly reduced. Happy digestion=happy tummy.
Lower That Nasty Cholesterol
Studies done by the American Heart Association have linked regular consumption of avocados to lowered cholesterol levels. This happens because a compound in avocados called beta-sitosterol raises levels of HDL (High-Density Lipoproteins, which flow through the bloodstream and remove harmful cholesterol), and lowers levels of LDL (Low-Density Lipoproteins that are linked causes of heart diseases).
Absorb all Your Veggies Have to Offer
Whenever the word “fat” is thrown into the mix, our natural reaction is to turn and run the other way. But when it comes to avocados, their high level of monounsaturated fat is actually a great thing for our bodies.
A healthy diet includes regular intake of fatty acids, which can be received through nuts, fish, eggs, butter, coconut oil, and even dark chocolate. But avocados are among the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, and perhaps the most tasty and versatile. Just one full avocado can account for 40% of your required daily intake of monounsaturated fatty acid!
The fatty acids in an avocado allows our bodies to more fully absorb the vitamins and nutrients in our meals. Important vitamins including A, K, D, and E are highly concentrated in vegetables, and are fat soluble.
This means it is important to add a fatty acid such as avocado to any vegetable dish that is dense in vitamins and minerals, because the fatty acid allows absorption of the most important fat soluble nutrients in the vegetables.
In other words, throw avocado slices onto your colorful salad, and your body will thank you for all the wonderful vitamins it can now absorb.
Getting Rid of Inflammation and Pain
Avocados contain phytosterols (which contribute to a healthy circulatory system), antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and polyhydroxolated fatty alcohols, which all work together to ease any inflammation or pain in our muscles and joints. Studies done by the Rocky Mountain Wellness Clinic have even linked consumption of avocado to a reduction of arthritic symptoms.
Your Outsides Will be Happy, Too
Lutein = a carotenoid found abundantly in healthy eyes. It’s also found abundantly in avocados, and is really good for the health of our eyes. Lutein basically acts as an antioxidant for the eye, which lowers the risk of eye conditions such as the formation of cataracts, macular degeneration, and even offers protection from sun damage.
Skin and Hair Health
So, those carotenoids that protect your eyes? Yeah, well they also protect your skin from UV radiation. The oil from the avocado can protect your skin against sunburn damage. Beta-carotene, found in high doses in avocados, is amazing for nourishing the skin and easing its dryness and irritation. It can also nourish dry and damaged hair back to health and shine.
Avocado oil is commonly added to shampoos and moisturizers because of how nourishing it is. You can even find pure avocado oil in stores and online to try on your hair and face for dryness and acne (test on a small patch of skin first to be sure you’re not allergic or sensitive to it).
Quick and Easy Ways to Eat Avocado
Where to find them & when they are ripe: You can buy avocados in virtually any local grocery store produce department. Buy ones that aren’t bruised, or rock hard (you’d have to wait a few days before they’re ripe). Once they’re ripe they will feel soft enough to push the skin in a little, but they shouldn’t be soft enough to push the skin all the way in with your thumb. If you cut one open but want to save some, make sure to refrigerate. After one is cut into, its shelf life in the fridge will only be two days at the most.
How to prepare: Put the avocado vertically (Pointy end facing up, not sideways) and cut into the top of it vertically with a knife. The knife should hit a pit at the center. You are going to continue cutting all the way around the avocado until you can split the two sides apart, revealing the pit on the inside. Remove the pit. Take a spoon, and scoop out the pretty green insides (all in one piece if possible), then cut into slices vertically.
1. Plain Avocado.
Prepare avocado as explained above. Then take the slices of avocado, and season them as desired. Salt and pepper are the most common seasons used here. Plain avocado also tastes yummy with a little salsa, or even drizzled vinaigrette. You can also eat sliced avocado on toast with cottage cheese for a yummy combo.
2. An Egg and Avocado Breakfast.
Set the oven to 450 degrees. Cut open an avocado, take out the pit, and place both halves onto a foiled baking pan.
Crack an egg into each hole where the pit once was, sprinkle pepper on them to taste, and even add bacon bits or drizzle some hot sauce if you’re feeling spicy.
Put in the oven and bake for around 12 minutes.
Perhaps this is the most classic, well-known (and tastiest) use of avocado, but it is far from cliche. There are so many ways you can make and serve guacamole!
Scoop 1 avocado out of it’s skin, and place it in a bowl. Take a fork and start mashing up the avocado, and make it as creamy or chunky as you want.
Add in a squeeze of lime juice, some diced red onion, tiny bits of jalapeño pepper, salt and pepper to taste, and lots of fresh cilantro.
Have fun experimenting with however much/little flavors you like in your guacamole! Serve with tortilla chips, fresh raw veggies, quesadillas, in burritos or tacos, or on a salad.
I love adding slices of avocado to my whole wheat BLT sandwich. I put some light mayo on toasted bread, a couple slices of bacon (optional if you want it to be a healthier lunch), some spinach leaves instead of romaine lettuce, thick slices of hot house tomatoes, avocado slices, and pepper to taste.
Mmm, I’m getting hungry…
5. Avocado with Salad.
This one is so easy and simple, yet so valuable. If you love eating salads for lunch that are rich and hardy with colorful yummy veggies, add half avocado slices to the mix to create a salad with even more health benefits.
The avocado will help your body to fully absorb the vitamins and nutrients in the veggies, which are otherwise difficult to fully absorb without the aid of the fatty acids in the avocado.
It doesn’t matter how you make your salad – throwing an avocado on top will surely taste delicious.
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