Avocados are a special type of fruit that are a great addition to any meal. Most fruit consists primarily of carbohydrate, while avocado is high in healthy fats, making it an overt fat. Overt fats are foods whose calorie content is dominated by fat. Oils are 100% fat, avocados are 75% fat, nuts and seeds are around 70% fat. If you are going to eat fat, eating the freshest possible fat will be the best choice. Avocados are incredibly fresh. Nuts and seeds on the other hand, are dehydrated and may have been on the shelves for years. Oils are simply empty calories and are better avoided if possible.
Since going vegan I have been intrigued by the health benefits surrounding different plant based foods. My mind craves knowledge in order to make the best food choices on day to day basis. The way I look at it is, would you put diesel into an unleaded car?.. No, why? Because eventually it will break down the engine and it will no longer function. The same apply’s to your digestive system.You can’t expect your digestive system to easily break down and absorb nutrition from highly processed foods. It’s essential to feed your digestive system the right foods so in return your mind, body and energy thrive.
The main benefit that caught my attention with avocados is that it can balances hormone levels. I read numerous cases about different vegan women who started eating an avocado a day to increase their fat levels in their diet (healthy overt fats of course). In return this helped those women get their periods back. This amazed me. How could incorporating one fruit into your diet have such a huge effect on your bodies reproductive system. This caused me to do some further research on this amazing fruit.
Some of the main benefits I discovered were:
- Avocados contain certain plant sterols, such as beta-sitosterol, that possess antiestrogenic properties, meaning they can block the estrogen receptors in our cells and reduce estrogen absorption rates. Consequently, progesterone levels in women and testosterone levels in men are increased. (1)
- Avocados are high in oleic acid a type of mono-unsaturated fatty acid which, studies suggest promotes good heart health by boosting HDL (good cholesterol) and lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). For example, a study published in Nutrition in 2004 found that oleic acid (along with certain polyunsaturated acids) could be “useful for decreasing risk factors for cardiovascular disease.” (2) A study published in Lipids in Health and Disease in 2009 also discovered that oleic acid could reverse the negative effects of inflammatory proteins in obese and diabetic patients, suggesting that it can help prevent and possibly even treat type 2 diabetes. (3)
- Eating avocados can lower cholesterol and triglyceridic levels. Studies have shown that avocados can (6,7,8,9):
- Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly.
- Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%.
- All those lovely mono-unsaturated fats help with feelings of fullness, reducing the risk of over eating.
- Avocados are high in potassium a mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure. Avocados actually contain more potassium than bananas, a 100g serving of avocados contains 14% or potassium compared to 10% in bananas.
- A great source of antioxidants in particular Vitamin E which, shields the body from free radical damage and gives your skin a glow!
- It is loaded with other nutrients such as (in a single 100 g serving):
- Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA
- Folate: 20% of the RDA
- Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA
- Potassium: 14% of the RDA
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA
- Then it contains small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin)
- Avocados are high in soluble fibre that helps with to slow down the rate sugar is absorbed into the blood stream. Fiber is indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many diseases. (4,5)
- You don’t have to eat them to reap their benefits. Nutritional perks aside, avocados can play a key role in your healthy hair and skin routine. The antioxidants, amino acids and essential oils inside an avocado can help repair damaged hair, moisturise dry skin, treat sunburns and possibly even minimize wrinkles.
How to tell if your avocado is ripe! There’s nothing more disappointing than when you cut into your avocado to find it’s either not ripe enough or it’s too ripe. 😦
Tip: Buy avocados when they are firm and allow to ripen in your fruit bowl, if you’re in a rush put them near some bananas. Squeeze gently to see if they are ripe, they should yield under gentle pressure. If the avocado is ready to go but you’re not, store in the fridge to slow down the ripening process, here they will keep for a few days. Once opened the flesh should lift out easily with a teaspoon.