Our rich and creamy little green friend, the avocado, is often given a “bad rap”. I am here to tell you that this fruit has been underestimated and I would like to clear things up and show you that underneath that thick alligator green skin, lays a soft textured filling, enriched with nutrients that will benefit you and your health. It’s time to dive in and see what this green goddess looks like naked.
Undressing the Avocado: Top 10 reasons why the avocado is beneficial for our health
1. It’s Fat, but a Good fat!
2. Optimizes absorption of carotenoids, making it important in eye care
3. Supports the immune system
4. Promotes heart health
5. It’s an anti-inflammatory
6. Anti-cancer fighting action
7. Promotes blood sugar regulation
8. Helps lower cholesterol
9. Helps in eliminating toxins from the body
10. Great source of fiber
Deep dive into how the avocado provides these benefits
I’m not going to lie to you; yes the avocado consists mostly of fat. In fact, the fat content is roughly 85% of its total calories, which is pretty high for a fruit source.
Now the good news! This fat source is at least 50% oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that is also found in olives and other food sources such as peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts. Oleic acid is a fatty acid that helps our digestive tract form transport molecules for fat. This in turn helps increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients such as carotenoids, which is also a nutrient found in the avocado.
Carotenoids are mostly found in root vegetables such as carrots and nightshades like red peppers and tomatoes. However, surprise surprise, avocados also contain this important nutrient, which helps with eyesight. Bet you didn’t see that coming!
The list of carotenoids found in avocados includes beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and more importantly lutein and zeaxanthin. These are important in eye care for those who suffer from degenerative diseases like Glaucoma.
Avocado is also high in selenium and zinc, which are important for the immune system. Furthermore, they contain important antioxidant nutrients, vitamin C and E, which are important in heart health.
Another amazing thing about avocados is that they contain phytosterols. The phytosterols are found in the green creamy part inside the avocado. These include beta-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol. These guys are all key nutrients that help keep inflammation under control and may help with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostate enlargement.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions of avocados may also help fight against cancer forming cells. The anti-inflammatory power of the avocado seems to push out cancer cells caused by oxidative stress and replenish our cells to protect them from further damage. Amazing!
Lastly, did you also know that one avocado contains 7.3 grams of fiber? Isn’t that amazing! Fiber is a big deal in a healthy diet as it does many jobs like regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, as well as getting rid of those pesky little toxins that accumulate in the wrong places.
Avocado’s Nutrient Contributions
Half of a medium avocado contains roughly 138 calories. Keep in mind, calories are not bad if they come from healthy nutrient-rich whole foods. They are bad when we eat too many of them and get them from low quality, nutrient-depleted, processed foods. As for every day eating, you should generally stick to a maximum of ½ an avocado daily to avoid excess fat intake. To avoid browning of the other half of the avocado, squeeze fresh lemon juice on it and store it in the refrigerator in saran wrap or in a glass jar along with its pit.
The recommended daily fat intake depending on your metabolic profile is 40-65 grams daily. Half an avocado contains about 14 grams of fat, which is roughly one-third or one-quarter of your daily fat intake. It also contains 2 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber.
As for vegans and vegetarian, avocados are a helpful way of getting adequate amounts of healthy fat in the diet. Since you are minimizing or eliminating animal products, you will not be getting fat from these sources and therefore need to ensure you get fat from the plant kingdom. Fat is an essential macronutrient and it is unhealthy if we do not consume appropriate amounts. Avocados are a great way to do this.
Pregnant women who do not consume meat can consume at least 1 avocado daily because it is a higher source of healthy fat and it is excellent for new mommies as some swear it helps with morning sickness because of the vitamin B6, which helps curb nausea. It also contains a great amount of folate, which is essential for brain development and vitamin E, an important antioxidant. Its texture makes for a great nutritious sandwich spread during lunch, that’s easy to digest.
As part of your diet, avocados can ensure the benefits of a healthy diet and help protect you from diseases. It looks like Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she planted that avocado tree!
Exciting Avocado Recipe
Here is a delicious little treat to add to your recipe box that will make eyes bulge when they find out this combination of ingredients.
Vegan Chocolate Pudding
(5minute prep time)
2 ripe Avocado’s
¼ cup Cocoa (powdered)
¼ cup Maple syrup
¼ cup Rice or Almond Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch Chili Powder
Blend in a food processor until the green has vanished! (Approximately 15 seconds)
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Eat it on its own, serve it with berries or use it to top healthy cupcakes.
Note: A high-speed blender will work as well if you don’t have a food processor.
If you love avocado as much as we do, leave a comment below to tell us your favourite way to eat avocados. Or if you try the pudding recipe, be sure to let us know what you thought. Also, help us spread the good word about these amazing green alligator-skinned beauties by liking this article on facebook and tweeting about it on twitter.