Health Benefits of Avocado
Avocado is one of nature’s miracle foods that is recommended to eat several times a week. First of all, because this little green gem will keep you at tip top condition from head to toe. Secondly, its smooth and creamy texture and subtly flavored taste can turn any plain meal into a piece of culinary art. Not to mention that avocado is a nutrition powerhouse that can literally change your overall well-being. While there are tons of avocado articles on the internet, I assure you that you will learn many new and astonishing facts about this miracle food in Appreciate Goods. Keep reading.
Page Contents - Quick Links
- Health Benefits of Avocado
- History of Avocado
- Avocado Nutrition Facts
- Can Pregnant Women Eat Avocado?
- 15 Health Benefits of Avocado
- Prevent premature skin aging
- Protect against oxidation and stress
- Reduce metabolic syndrome risk
- Boost brain power
- Lower cholesterol
- Support cardiovascular health
- Relieve arthritis pain
- Increase antioxidant absorption
- Promote eye health
- Aid in weight loss
- Prevent liver and kidney damage
- Lower cancer risk
- Boost potassium intake
- Kill the bacteria in the mouth
- Add years to your life
- How to Add More Avocado to Your Diet
- How to Store Avocado
- Grow Your Own Avocado in 8 Steps
- 2 Popular Avocado Recipes
History of Avocado
Many researchers and archaeologists claim that avocado was first consumed in Puebla, Mexico. With a history dating back to 10,000 B.C., avocado left its oldest evidence in a cave situated in Coxcatlan, Puebla, in Mexico. It also has a long and rich history of cultivation in South and Central America, dating back to around 5,000 BC.
Archaeologists believe that people began eating and cultivating avocados approximately 5,000 years ago. The tribes like the Maya, the Inca, and the Olmec are believed to grow domesticated avocado trees. The first Europeans who began eating avocados were Spanish explorers. It was in the 16th century, but still, people in Spain and around the world appreciate the health benefits of avocado. The Spanish were actually the first who brought avocados to Europe. They sold them to most of the European countries, including England.
The first three types of avocados, namely West Indian, Mexican, and Guatemalan were described by Bernabe Cobo in 1653. George Washington described avocado as agovago pears that weren’t actually popular at that time. Avocado grew in popularity in the early 20th. People started adding avocados to salads in the 1950s.
Avocado Nutrition Facts
Avocados are fortified with fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, and vitamin K1, along with monounsaturated fats that are good for our health. Thanks to their high content of phytonutrients – powerful nutrients typically found in plants – avocados can promote the healing of the entire body. One organic avocado supplies the body with up to 20 essential nutrients.
A cup of cubed avocado (around 150 grams) contains:
- 10 grams of fiber (40% of recommended daily value);
- 15 grams of monounsaturated or “good” fat;
- 2 grams of saturated fat;
- 2,7 grams of polyunsaturated fat;
- 728 mg of potassium (20% of RDV);
- 3 grams of protein (6% of RDV);
- 4% of recommended daily intake of vitamin A;
- 1 % of recommended daily intake of calcium;
- 25% of recommended daily intake of vitamin C;
- 20% of recommended daily intake of vitamin B6;
- 4% of recommended daily intake of iron;
- 11% of recommended daily intake of magnesium;
- 1 gram of sugar;
- 11 mg of sodium;
- 0 mg of cholesterol;
- 240 calories.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Avocado?
A new study (http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/5/313/htm) found that avocados are highly recommended for expecting or new mothers. Not only do avocados contain healthy fats, they’re plentiful in folate, an essential B vitamin that helps reduce the risk of birth defects when consumed during pregnancy. Plus, all those nutrients mentioned above are all vital for both an expecting mother and fetus.
Pregnant women are often recommended to eat a traditional Mediterranean diet, which doesn’t include avocado in its menu. But you can feel free to add it to your diet plan, as avocados go well with almost anything. Whether you’re trying to conceive or already pregnant, eating avocado in moderation will benefit you tremendously.
15 Health Benefits of Avocado
Prevent premature skin aging
Modern women experience premature skin aging issues more than ever before. Maybe it’s because of stress or air pollution or unknown disease, but the fact is we should take immediate actions to keep our skin looking younger longer. Mexican researchers (http://www.newswise.com/articles/avocado-oil-the-olive-oil-of-the-americas) found that avocado oil could combat harmful free radicals linked to premature skin aging. The study also showed that avocado oil can help avoid chronic degenerative diseases.
Protect against oxidation and stress
Stress is probably the major trigger of most diseases. While medicines may help to calm you, they don’t help to treat the problem. Avocado is an excellent source of anti-inflammatory compounds called phenolics as well as powerful antioxidants that fight stress and protect against oxidation, helping your body restore quicker.
Reduce metabolic syndrome risk
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that people who ate avocado regularly halved their risks for metabolic syndrome, which typically leads to stroke, type-2 diabetes, and coronary artery disease. The research also showed that avocado consumption can improve overall diet quality and nutrient intake. That’s all due to monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, phytochemicals and essential nutrients found in avocado.
Boost brain power
Harvard University researchers report that monounsaturated fatty acids or ‘good’ fat may help preserve memory and good thinking abilities, while ‘bad’ fat can destroy your brain function over time. Avocado leaves produce an anti-convulsant effect on seizures by boosting neurotransmission and improving action in the brain.
Avocado doesn’t contain cholesterol. Eating this food on a weekly basis can significantly reduce your cholesterol levels. A research conducted in Mexico showed that incorporating avocados in a low-fat vegetarian diet can help to keep a healthy cholesterol level, reducing your risk of developing heart disease.
Support cardiovascular health
Avocado oil consists of 71% monounsaturated fatty acids, 16% saturated fatty acids and 13% polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help to improve healthy blood lipid profiles, increase the bioavailability of phytochemicals and fat-soluble vitamins, thus supporting your cardiovascular health.
Relieve arthritis pain
Even though avocado can’t replace medicines your doctor prescribed, it can slightly relieve arthritis pain and discomfort. Osteoarthritis is a life-altering and painful disease that triggers disability around the world. Compounds found in avocados help relieve stiffness and pain while also enhancing joint function.
Increase antioxidant absorption
Just because some foods are packed with healthy nutrients doesn’t mean we consume all those nutrients as well. Sometimes our digestive system is unable to provide excellent nutrient and antioxidant absorption, and this is where avocado may help. The researchers (http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/3/431.full) found that using fresh avocados or avocado oil in your meals like salads or salsa can enhance antioxidant absorption process by 2.6 to 15-fold. Eating this miracle food with other vegetables has been shown to enlarge the amount of antioxidants you consume.
Promote eye health
Avocados are chock-full of antioxidants, especially zeaxanthin and lutein which are both needed for your eye health. The carotenoids help to treat and prevent cataracts and lower your risk of macular degeneration. Avocado must be a staple food for those working up to 8 hours in front of the screens.
Aid in weight loss
If you’re slim by nature, you may think “this” is not a health benefit. However, overweight people who are trying to drop at least 10 pounds will benefit from any food that aids weight loss. Despite being high in fat, avocado doesn’t cause weight gain. Fiber and “good” fats found in avocado can help curb hunger and increase the feelings of satiety. The next time you crave something savory, have a toast with olive oil and a few avocado slices. Avocado smoothie is also a great breakfast option for both dieters and non-dieters.
Prevent liver and kidney damage
Avocados are rich in oleic acid and antioxidants, which are essential for your liver and kidney health. This fruit can also help to prevent liver and kidney damage. Dietary avocado oil has been shown to prevent kidney damage associated with diabetes, helping the diabetic liver function well.
Lower cancer risk
There’s no miracle cure for cancers but remember food is the best medicine and the right diet can really work wonders. This is the case with avocados. Although no researched proved that avocado can directly combat different types of cancers, a study conducted by the University of California showed that avocado extract can suppress the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Another study conducted Jawaharlal Nehru Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, in India (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22070054) found that a regular avocado consumption helps to reduce the side effects caused by chemotherapy in human lymphocytes.
Boost potassium intake
Banana is well known for being one of the potassium rich foods, but it turns out avocado contains a higher amount of potassium than banana. While one banana contains around 10% of recommended daily intake of potassium, 100 grams of avocado has 14% of this nutrient. People who consume enough potassium daily tend to have healthy blood pressure, healthy heart and have a lower risk of kidney failure.
Kill the bacteria in the mouth
Bad breath isn’t always the result of poor dental care. Poor indigestion, bacteria in the mouth and in some cases an upset stomach can be triggers as well. Avocado contains flavonoids that have powerful antioxidant and antibacterial properties that help to kill bacteria in our guts and improve digestion, thus providing us with fresher breath.
Add years to your life
Avocado is one of those foods that can increase your longevity and ensure healthy aging. Xanthophyll is one of the most powerful compounds found in avocado helps your body heal and regenerate faster and feel and look healthier. Avocado can prevent premature aging, early wrinkles and significantly diminish the signs of aging on different parts of the body.
How to Add More Avocado to Your Diet
Avocados go well with almost any food you eat daily, it’s not hard to increase avocado consumption. Here are some of the healthiest options to try:
- Spread a few avocado slices on a toasted whole-grain bread for a quick mid-day or pre-workout snack
- Top egg dishes, burgers, fish or chicken with avocado slices
- Make guacamole
- Add a quarter of avocado to your morning or workout smoothie
- Add a half of avocado to your lunch salad to feel fuller till dinnertime
- Serve an avocado half as a nutritious side dish with baked potatoes, hard-boiled or fried eggs, and omelet
- Add avocado to your quinoa, wild rice and bean meals
- Make avocado soups or top your cold and hot soups with avocado slices or chunks
- Blend avocado with fruits and veggies to help your child reap some avocado benefits as well
- Make your own avocado ice-cream (see the recipe below)
- Make a nutritious salad dressing by blending avocado with water, lemon juice, vinegar, and spices to your taste
How to Store Avocado
Depending on which avocado – cut or uncut – you want to store, it’s possible to keep it fresh for longer. If your avocados are unripe, don’t store them in the fridge since it prevents the ripening process. Just place them in a brown paper bag and store at a room temperature.
If you need to store a cut avocado, you will need orange, lemon or lime juice or vinegar. Brush the exposed area of avocado with it, cover tightly with plastic wrap or place it in an air-tight container, and store in the fridge – but don’t leave it there for too long. Whether you store your avocado with a pit or without it, remember not to leave it at a room temperature for more than 10 minutes.
One of the most effective ways to store uncut avocados is by placing them in a plastic bag and keeping them in the fridge. Make sure you check your avocados once in a while.
Grow Your Own Avocado in 8 Steps
Don’t throw away that avocado pit. You can grow your own organic avocado at home. Here’s how to do it:
- Remove the pit, rinse well, and let it dry for a few hours.
- Push 3 to 4 toothpicks into the pit at its widest part in order to suspend it over a bowl of water. The pointy end must stick up. Make sure the water covers about an inch of the pit.
- Put the bowl in a warm place and keep the water level.
- The plant will sprout in 2-6 weeks. When you will see that the stem is already 6 inches long, carefully trim it in half.
- As soon as the stem leafs again, you can plant it in a pot with loose and sandy soil. Be sure you plant with a root facing down. Leave the top half of the plant stick out of the soil.
- Water your avocado frequently, but don’t overdo it.
- Keep it in a warm, sunny place to stimulate growth.
- Cut back the new top leaves each time the stems grow 6 inches to ensure a fuller plant and make it grow faster.
2 Popular Avocado Recipes
Homemade Avocado Ice Cream / Popsicle Recipe
Avocado doesn’t seem to be a perfect ingredient for ice-cream, but once you try it, it will become your favorite ice cream version, I promise!
- 2 cups cold heavy cream
- One large avocado, peeled, halved, and pitted
- One 14-ounce can sweetened plant milk
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of salt, optional
Leave your loaf pan in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Blend avocado, lemon juice, milk, and salt for around a minute, or until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl.
In another bowl, pour cold heavy cream and whip it using an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, or until peaks form. Use a rubber spatula to combine a cup of whipped cream with the avocado mixture. Fold it back into the whipped cream until well combined.
Pour your ice cream into the chilled loaf pan, and leave in the freezer overnight.
Avocado and Melon Smoothie
When avocado and melon are combined together in a smoothie, you get one of the most powerful drinks that can heal your entire body.
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 cup fat-free unsweetened yogurt
- 1 cup honeydew melon chunks
- 1 ½ tsp. lime juice
- 1 cup plant milk, fat-free
- 1 tbsp. honey
- Add cacao nibs (optional)
Just like you make your regular smoothie, combine all the ingredients on the list and blend until smooth. Enjoy whenever you feel hungry!
Avocados are literally everywhere, and I’m sure now you know why. Let me know about some of your favorite ways to eat avocado in the comments section, please.
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Catalina is a smoothie junkie, food lover, recipe developer and a vegetarian who believes animals have the full right to live just like humans do. She has tried most types of diets and overcomes an eating disorder, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depression. She is passionate about healthy lifestyle and the things she puts in her body. Catalina loves to share her love for smoothies, wholefood cooking, vegetarian recipes, fitness and positive and happy life, and inspire people to cultivate lifelong happiness.