8 reasons why avocados can improve your health and how to get the most out of them
You’ve probably heard that avocados are good for you, let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why this super fruit can improve your health and how to get the most out of them.
Here’s what you need to know:
What are Avocados?
Avocados are a creamy, smooth textured edible fruit covered by a thick dark green, purplish black, and bumpy skin.
The avocado seed and skin comprise of over a third of the whole fruit.
The avocado’s natural skin helps it fight off disease and insect assaults, which allows them to be grown without the need for many chemicals. They also require no packaging, reducing the need for single use plastics.
They were first thought to have been cultivated in Central or South America as early as 500BC.
Another unique feature of this plant is that the avocado fruits mature on the trees and ripen after harvest.
What benefits do avocados have to our health?
Benefit No 1: Avocados help you absorb more nutrients from other fruits and vegetables
When it comes to nutrient intake from our foods, it’s not just the amount that is of importance. We also need to be able to absorb these nutrients through our digestive tract. Half an avocado contains around 16% of saturated fatty acids, which can enhance the bioavailability of fat-soluble vitamins, including Vitamins A, D, E and K and protective phytochemicals from other fruits and vegetables.
Benefit No 2: They keep you feeling full
Avocados can leave you feeling more satiated. The fruit has an increased energy density and contains the perfect balance of water, dietary fibre and fruit oil that supports weight control.
Benefit No 3: Avocados can improve heart health
They contain high levels of both vitamins C and E. Vitamin C plays an important role in recycling vitamin E to maintain circulatory antioxidant protection whilst vitamin C is also thought to contribute to greater vascular health.
Benefit No 4: They’re great for pregnant or new mums
Avocados are unique among fruits and vegetables in that, by weight, they contain much higher amounts of the key nutrients folate and potassium, especially important for pregnant or nursing mum’s.
Benefit No 5: They help to manage weight
Consumers of avocados were also found to have lower weight, Body Mass Index, and waist circumference than people who didn’t eat them. These fruits are high in fibre and low in carbs which may contribute to their positive effects on weight.
Benefit No 6: Beautiful skin
Studies suggest that elements within an avocado may protect skin health by enhancing wound healing activity and reducing harmful UV damage by the sun.
Benefit No 7: Improved joint health
Women have an increased risk for developing arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. Scientists believe women may also have more severe osteoarthritis symptoms than men. Avocados were found to decrease the risk of joint deterioration associated with Osteoarthritis.
Benefit No 8: Avocado can reduce the risk of strokes
Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for strokes. As avocados contain greater levels of potassium than a banana, their consumption is an easy win towards reducing our risk of stroke.
How can we make the most out of avocados?
Not all parts of the avocado are created equally, and you may have been missing out on some additional nutrients.
Avocado flesh is much lower in phytonutrients (plant nutrients) than other areas of the fruit.
Research has found that the greatest phytonutrient concentrations occur in the parts of the avocados that we would usually discard, the seed and the skin.
Researchers have also found that when boiling the avocado skin into a tea they could extract the same number of antioxidants as other antioxidant rich teas on the market. An avocado skin tea may be another great way to use all the fruit, although reports say this can be quite bitter.
Avocado seeds were found to have tremendous anti-fungal properties in addition to their immense antioxidant content. The seed could also be chopped up and made into a tea to maximise nutrients. Or simply grinding up into a powder and adding it to your morning smoothie could do the trick.
However, most of the research found on the benefits of consuming avocado skin and peel were found using non-human trails. High doses of the substances were also found to be harmful to rats and mice. Consumption of the avocado seed and skin should be done with caution.
A really easy way to make the most out of eating avocado is to always eat the area of the flesh that is closest to the peel. This darker flesh contains higher concentrations of the available fibre, potassium, fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins B12 and E. A winner when it comes to making the most out of your avocado.
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