6th January 2015They are one of my favourite fruits and I know that eating these tasty, green firm-fleshed beauties goes a long way to keeping me healthy and active in the body and mind all through the warmer months. With an incredible nutritional profile, the amazing avocado is a flowering plant that comes from the berry family and is one of the only fruits that is low in sugar and instead packed with good fats and proteins. Native to Central and South America, avocado has grown in these hot, humid climates since 8,000 BC with drawings and artifacts revealing that it was a staple of the ancient Aztec diet more than 10,000 years ago. By the mid 17th century, the avocado was included in the Jamaican diet and tropical countries throughout Asia followed suit. However, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that America began producing the green fruit, which today is one of the economical backbones of the states of California and Florida. High in 20 essential vitamins and so many hard-to-obtain minerals, eating avocado regularly will help provide the body with a natural source of vitamins K, B5, B6 and C. Plus its fat-soluble nature allows us to more efficiently absorb key nutrients from alpha and beta-carotene sources (which come from colourful veges such as carrots and beetroots) if they are eaten together. So what are some of the other benefits of avocado and why is it an important dietary inclusion if your goal is to eat for optimal health and total wellbeing? Personally, I like to try and consume an avocado a day because it’s one of the best sources of healthy fats available in today’s modern world. Along with coconut oil, organic raw butter, and raw nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pecans, avocado is a prime way to up your intake of the fats that are key to satiating the appetite. And this allows us to move away from an unhealthy grain-based diet to one where our body relies on ketones (fat), not glucose, for fuel. The anti-inflammatory properties of avocado are also incredibly well known, which is another reason to add it into your diet. Research in Japan has even suggested that consuming avocados may help prevent against liver damage. In the study, some rats were fed avocado and 22 other fruits then given a toxin that kills liver cells. The rats that ate the avocado showed remarkably less liver damage than the ones who didn’t. Avocados are also packed full of phytonutrient compounds, such as polyphenols and flavonoids. These have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, thereby reducing the risk of inflammatory and degenerative disorders. Another reason to really love the humble avocado is that they are one of the safest conventionally grown fruits available to us today in Australia. Their thick skin protects from pesticides, meaning the fruit doesn’t absorb these harmful chemicals meaning more often than not an avocado is one of the better choices. Here’s another few reasons why I’m head over heels for avos:
- You can easily add more avocado to your diet by including it in baking. And if you are sensitive to dairy, like me, it’s a great substitute for butter in any recipe, not to mention a great base for a whole lot of desserts. Avocado chocolate mousse, anyone?
- Eating avocados is proven to help maintain cholesterol in the normal range as well as lowers the risk of heart disease.
- One avocado contains twice the amount of potassium as a banana, therefore helping to balance the body’s potassium to sodium ratio.
- They are a great way to maintain healthy body weight as eating the kind of healthy monounsaturated fats found in avocados helps the body to burn fat more efficiently.
- Avocado is an excellent source of carotenoid lutein, which known to help protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.