Holy Guacamole! and Amazing Avocados
Today's post is all about the wonders of the delicious and creamy Avocado - they can help your mood, improve your skin, and much more!
Although Avocados are technically a large berry with a stone, they are generally used as a vegetable. Native to south central Mexico, there are 4 main varieties of Avocado;- “Hass” with dark knobbly skin the Ettinger and Fuerte which are smooth skinned and the more spherical Nabal variety.
Avocados are a mild and versatile and are the only fruit that provide a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids as well as 20 Vitamins and Minerals. The main benefits they give are:-
Great for our Skin
If you want smooth and glowing skin, get eating those Avocados! The monounsaturated fats in Avocado help maintain good moisture levels in the epidermal layer of your skin which makes it look and feel toned, soft and healthy. These healthy fats also reduce skin redness and irritation and help to repair damaged skin cells. A good dietary intake of monounsaturated fat can moderate sebum production as well, which helps control acne, blackheads and excessively oily skin. Eating Avocados can protect your skin from wrinkles and other visible signs of ageing with its antioxidant Carotenoids. In addition it contains Vitamin E which helps guard against damage from sun exposure and Vitamin C which is involved in the creation of elastin and collagen for maintaining your skin’s elasticity and firmness.
Conception and healthy Pregnancy
Avocado is a particularly important food for women who are trying to conceive or are pregnant, due to its high concentration of Folate (also known as Folic Acid). Doctors advise women to get high amounts of this B Vitamin as it is important for a healthy pregnancy; it is needed to prevent birth defects such as Spina-bifida and to reduce the risk of miscarriage.
Just half an Avocado (100g) provides a third of the recommended amount women of childbearing age need to consume each day and a quarter of what a pregnant or breastfeeding mum needs. So fill up a bagel or sandwich for a delicious, creamy and healthy lunch – my personal favourite is to add sun-dried tomatoes and rocket - mmm!
Foods containing high levels of Folate may help with low mood and depression as Folate helps to prevent the build-up of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. Excess homocysteine can also interfere with the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep and appetite. As a mood-boost, eat a small Avocado every day for a week or so. Otherwise, eat a half or whole avocado several times a week.
Reduce Inflammation and Arthritic Pain
Arthritis is a painful condition characterised by joint inflammation and soreness that many people struggle with. Many common foods like wheat, milk and sugar are known to worsen symptoms but the anti-inflammatory Avocado is one of the few foods consistently reported to alleviate symptoms! The Avocado can reduce inflammation and arthritic pain due to its high levels of monounsaturated fats, Phytosterols, Antioxidants, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and a variety of Carotenoids.
Great for Vision
Avocados contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that are especially concentrated in the tissues in the eyes, where they provide antioxidant protection to help minimise damage, including from ultraviolet light. The healthy fats in Avocados also help to absorb antioxidants such as beta carotene. This means that including Avocados as part of a healthy diet may reduce the risk of developing age related eye degeneration.
Half of an Avocado provides approximately 25% of the daily-recommended intake for Vitamin K. Vitamin K is often overshadowed by Calcium and Vitamin D when thinking of nutrients for bone health, but Vitamin K is actually extremely important. Eating a diet with the right amount of Vitamin K can support bone health by increasing absorption and retention of Calcium, making your bones stronger.
A great way to enjoy Avocados is in a Guacamole! It only takes a few minutes to knock up -
1. Cut an Avocado in half and remove the skin and stone. Chop the flesh into small cubes and place into a bowl.
2. Add a big squeeze of fresh lime or lime juice and a few pinches of salt.
3. Mash the ingredients together with a fork until combined. Add more lime or salt to taste.
4. Sprinkle some Smoked Paprika or Coriander on top for a little extra flavour.
And voila! Your Guac is ready to be splatted on a slice of toast, spooned onto a chilli or simply enjoyed as a healthy dip for veggies and snacks!
Avocado and Avocado Oil are highly nutritious and adding either to your veggies can dramatically increase the antioxidants and nutrients you absorb from your veg.
So chuck a few slices in your sarnie, smash up a Guacamole or cook up some veggies with Avocado Oil and get your Avocado boost!