Native to Mexico and known for being a super power superfood, the avocado has become a staple in most kitchens over the years. But not only because it's deliciously filling and healthy, but because they're jam packed with fibre, plant sterols, magnesium, folate, protein, potassium, vitamins B6, E and K (and that's not even all of it).
They're proven to help you lose weight, keep your heart healthy, your breath fresh and a godsend for your hair and skin. First you've heard? You're in for a real treat.
We teamed up with in-house nutritionist at Lifesum, Lovisa Nilsson to tell us everything we need to know about this brightly coloured fruit and TRUST US you won't be disappointed.
But before we start, here's how to incorporate them into your diet. The best way to eat an avocado is raw and fresh out of its skin, but we know this might not be for everyone. Here are a few other simple ways to enjoy your avocado...
- In a smoothie: Blend half an avocado in your smoothie - it works great with coconut water and pineapple!
- As a snack on rye bread: You can eat avocado like a spread on wholemeal bread or wholegrain rye.
- In puddings: Avocado compliments chocolate deserts really well. Try chocolate avocado brownies, truffles, mousse or cookies!
- Cooked: An avocado has a perfect hole in the middle to fill with protein such as an egg or bacon – just grill or bake for a delicious meal.
- Mash: Make avocado mash to compliment your meal. Just add lime juice, sea salt and maple syrup. Yum. Or if you prefer a kick to it, make some homemade guacamole!
1. Weight Loss
Many people think avocados are bad for you because they're high in fat, but what people don't realise is that they're actually GOOD fats!
Lovisa says, "Despite the high-fat content, monounsaturated fatty acids are used in the body as slow burning energy rather than stored as body fat. The slow burning energy gives you a feeling of fullness, which can also reduce hunger and prevent you from eating more.
She adds, "I would always recommend including foods in your diet that are high in healthy fats and little to no processed carbohydrates to fuel your day and fill you up." This is the best way to get the fats your body needs without the insulin spike and the added weight gain. Sorted.
2. Cardiovascular Health
Believe it or not, avocados can actually help decrease cholesterol and prevent heart disease! All thanks to their heart-healthy compounds...
Lovisa says, "The oleic acid found in avocados can reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol – the healthy kind. The pro-inflammatory omega-fats in avocados are also shown to have a positive affect on cardiovascular disease. Avocados are also rich in vitamin E which is good for preventing cholesterol oxidisation."
Experts say an avocado a day can even help dramatically improve your heart health. Try replacing carbs and oils with avocados. Doing something simple like using organic avocado oil or raw avocado in baking could really turn your diet around. Replace mayo with smooth avocado - just toss in the food processor and there you have it. You won't regret it.
3. Helps bad Breath
That's right, if you want fresh breath throughout the day, consider eating an avocado for lunch.
"As avocados are rich in fat and fleshy to chew, they are known to be a great natural remedy for removing food particles. Avocados have also been known to remove the odour from decomposed food in the stomach, so it works in a similar way in the mouth," says Lovisa.
Other foods that are great for bad breath are strawberries, cinnamon and parsley which are known to fight the nasty bacteria that builds up in your mouth. Eeek.
4. Hello big beautiful eyes!
Avocados give carrots a run for their money. Carrots aren't the only natural food known to be great for your eyes...
"The Lutein found in avocados is a carotenoid that works as a great antioxidant and helps protect against eye disease and age-related degeneration of the eye. The Omega-3 also provides moisture and keeps your eyes looking shiny and bright," says Lovisa.
To help perk your eyes up instantly spritz Optrex ActiMist 2in1 Eye Spray which helps moisturise the eyes and repairs your eye's natural moisture layer.
5. Pre and Post Birth
One cup of avocado a day can make all the difference for mummas-to-be.
Lovisa says, "One cup provides almost a quarter (25%) of your recommended daily intake of folate, a vitamin which cuts the risk of birth defects.
"It's also great for baby food as it contains monounsaturated fats, which play an important part in baby’s development. The consistency is great for babies before and whilst they are teething. An avocado provides a baby with potassium, folacin, Vitamin B1 and B2 and magnesium." A real superfood for you and your baby.
Here's an easy and yummy way to make baby food using avocado....
6. Healthy long locks
"Egyptians were known to use avocado to regulate hair growth and prevent hair loss. Avocado oil is easily absorbed into the hair follicles and makes your hair shiny and supple. The omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins will make it shiny, whilst also rescuing split ends and moisturising the scalp," says Lovisa.
Have you ever tried a hair mask with raw avocado before? It works like a dream.
Just mash a whole avocado with a fork and add a teaspoon of honey and olive oil. Use a food processor to mix if you can to avoid clumpy bits in your hair. Wrap your hair round in a clip or put a plastic bag over your head to avoid mess. Rinse out after 15-20 minutes and voilà, healthy soft tresses!
7. Skin saviour
There are loads of foods that are beneficial for our skin, but avocado is truly a miracle food for healthy skin.
Lovisa says, "Unlike other fruits it contains omega-9 fats that help repair damaged skin by reducing redness and irritation. The monounsaturated fats hydrate your skin, leaving it feeling soft and plump.
"Avocado also helps protect your skin from signs of ageing due to its antioxidant properties and high content of vitamin E which guards against photo-ageing from sun exposure and vitamin C which helps your body produce elastin and collagen for maintaining skin’s elasticity."
So it moisturises, softens, prevents ageing, repairs AND nourishes your skin! In other words, it's everything you could ever want in a skincare product except this one is all natural and won't burn a hole in your pocket.
Avocado is the new super ingredient you need to look out for. If you're looking for a new beauty product we recommend Antipodes. This quality skincare range is made with 100% natural ingredients - including avocados which will help nourish, soothe and moisturise the skin. Try their Hallelujah Lime & Patchouli Cleanser and Divine Face Oil. The entire line smells amazinggg. Here are our faves...
Yeahuh. That's right ladies, even MORE reason to munch on avocado. In fact, it's not just us who believe it, the Aztecs believed it to be an aphrodisiac too! But mainly because of it's appearance.
The word avocado derives from the word, 'testicle'. In ancient times the avocado tree meant 'testicle tree' because avocados hung low in pairs. But despite it's provocative looks it also carries an abundance of vitamins that are essential to sexual health including beta carotene, magnesium and vitamin E. So if you're need of some libido boosting ladies, avocado is your new BFF.
9. Beautiful, strong nails
The biotin in avocados are great for beautifying your nail beds! You already know how nutrient-rich these little rounded fruits are so you're probably not surprised.
See it for yourself by rubbing avocado oil on your nails every evening to help strengthen and grow your nails - especially if they're weak and brittle. The difference is real.
Avocados are SO versatile, healthy and yummy who shouldn't be obsessed with them? Ladies, we know what we're having for lunch today.
Are you as obsessed with avocado as we are now? Tweet us @sofeminineUK!
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