One of the all-time stars of the Fruit & Vegetables Kingdom, the avocado has been touted as one of nature’s best gifts to us. Not only are they delicious and look pretty on your dinner plates, its lush green, creamy flesh possesses powerful benefits bestowed by nature to help you maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
A Superfood That’s Super Good for Losing Weight
Ranked alongside other superfoods like açaí, goji and kale, the avocado is recognised for being nutrition-dense, with over 20 different vitamins and minerals essential for healthy living and making sure you have what it takes to maintain it — these include vitamins A, B1 to B6, C, E, K, folate and potassium, as well as magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc and phosphorus. At only about 160 calories per every 100-gram serving, the avocado is certainly a choice ingredient for a balanced diet.
Rich in Potassium
Many people forget about the important function potassium plays in everyday living. Potassium is vital to cellular functions by forming part of your body’s overall electrolyte balance; this is especially important in active lifestyles, as electrolytes are quickly lost through exercise and perspiration. Potassium is also tied to other functions that directly affect weight; an adequate intake of the mineral, in conjunction with stress management, healthy sleep patterns and diet, aids in your body’s hormone balance. An imbalance of hormonal levels in your body can result in weight loss, appetite gain and other more insidious complications. Potassium is also essential in managing blood pressure and metabolism that directly affect your lifestyle — healthy blood pressure and metabolism can ensure we get the best results out of our exercise and weight management activities. It has also been well-established that an adequate intake is helpful in preventing heart attacks, strokes and kidney issues.
Packed with Monounsaturated Fats
Not all fats are bad and hell-bent on condemning people to a life of disease; some fats, like the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) found in avocados and olives are actually good for your heart. MUFAs are instrumental in protecting you from cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis (formation of plaque within the artery) that can cause heart attacks and strokes, by reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, as well as improving your insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels) sensitivity. Maintaining healthy insulin response is essential to controlling body weight, metabolism, cell reproduction and eye health.
Loaded with Fibre
Dietary fibre, in both soluble and insoluble forms, is one humble but important nutrient for a healthy and balanced diet. Due to our inability to digest and absorb it, fibre is able to keep you feeling full longer without contributing to your calorie intake, by slowing down digestion (not to be confused with indigestion) and regulating your appetite. In addition, fibre promotes good gut flora that can insulate you from common gastrointestinal illness and allergies and improve colorectal health by encouraging bowel movements.
Avocados’ Fat Content Helps You Absorb Nutrients Better
Not all nutrients are created the same. Some, like carotenoids and vitamins A, D, E and K, are fat-soluble, meaning that they have to be combined with fatty acids to effectively unleash their potential. Therefore, just making sure our meals contain the nutrients is not going far enough, we have to ensure they enter our systems, too. Indeed, the avocado is a good friend that brings more good friends!
A for Avocados & Antioxidants
Apparently, avocados are not just helpful in getting your meals’ antioxidants to you, but they are also full of them, as well! The carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, found in fruits and vegetables like avocados are instrumental in maintaining good eye health. Some studies have shown that diets high in carotenoids are linked to significantly lowered risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
Avocados May Be Helpful in the Cancer Fight
On top of its fat- and disease-fighting properties, there has been some evidence that links avocados to cancer prevention. Certain studies have yielded observations that suggest avocado extracts may aid in reducing chemotherapy side effects in human white blood cells, and inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Delicious Avocado Recipes
Healthy food can be really yummy food. Listed here are some of our favourite recipes to kickstart and motivate our day!
Egg and Avo ‘Pizza’
Get a wholemeal pizza, flatbread or naan base, topping it with a hearty mash made with avocado, chopped tomatoes, diced onions and rockets (you can use any of your favourite ingredients, really), and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of lemon juice.
Avocado & Chix Salad
Avocado mash made with some chopped onions and tangy mustard makes for the perfect substitute to a mayo base. Top up the protein count with lean chicken breast, and add your favourite greens with wholemeal toasts.
Traffic Light Sandwich
Stop the weight gain and get on the health train with a wholemeal grilled chicken sandwich filled with sliced avocados, fresh mangoes and roasted red bell peppers.
Blend up fresh avocados, bananas and blueberries with low-fat milk for the perfect pre- or post-workout refresher, sweetened using au naturel sugars already found in the fruits!