Avocado consumption is on the rise, and for good reason with all of the health benefits of Avocados. It’s not just avocado slices topping on your taco anymore, although they are perfect on a taco, avocados are being paired with eggs, mashed on toast, blended in smoothies, and prepared in a wonderful array of diet-friendly recipes.
Amazing for your blood pressure, full of vitamins, and healthy fats. These nutrient dense, pear shaped fruit, when eaten in moderation, will up your health and wellness goals.
Health Benefits of Avocados: Good Fats And Eating Avocados
Healthy fats always sound like an oxymoron. How can fat be part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. Well the truth is, you need a certain amount of fat in your daily caloric intake to keep your body functioning properly.
All fats are not created equal. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats. According to eatright.org, these fats, in moderation, help to increase your HDL or good cholesterol. So eliminating saturated fats like butter and replacing them with monounsaturated fats like avocados or polyunsaturated fats like olive oil can help reduce narrowing blood vessels that get blocked with bad cholesterol and increase your chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
Avocado oil is derived from the whole fruit and offers many of the same benefits as eating a wedge of avocado. As with any oil, go lightly when adding to food, too much will sabotage any weight loss desires you have. When choosing an avocado oil, select one that is cold-pressed for the healthiest version.
Health Benefits And Nutrients Avocados Offer
While extremely healthy, an avocado is high in calories. The recommended serving size, according to WebMD is 1/3 of a medium avocado (50 grams) which has about 85 calories. It is easy to over eat these yummy fruit, so keep your portion size in check to get all the nutrients with over eating.
Packed with almost 20 vitamins and minerals; the data shows the health benefits of adding avocados to your diet is huge. All the good things we want from our food, to keep our blood pressure in check, to add vitamins to our plate, to help with weight loss and maintenance, and to taste great can be found in this delicious food. Researchers are continually discovering health information about avocados, but the future looks bright for eating avocados as a regular part of their menu.
Avocados are rich in potassium which is instrumental in lowing sodium levels in your blood. Having a balanced potassium intake will help lower blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. Potassium has also been shown to be instrumental in reducing leg cramps.
Folate has been linked to lowering risk of certain cancers, in particular prostate and colon cancer Folate has also been shown to block homocysteine, a substance in your blood that slows nutrients to the brain and can increase depression. Eating whole foods that are high in folate are a good choice for improved mental health.
Vitamin E lowers inflammation which can ward off the onset of diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. Chronic inflammation has also been linked to heart disease and difficulty in achieving weight loss goals.
Vitamin K is essential for blood coagulation, or clotting. The Vitamin K found in avocados boost your bone health. It can be instrumental in slowing down bone loss and keeping osteoporosis at bay.
We all know we need to eat more dietary fiber. Interestingly, avocados offer a decent amount of fiber, approximately 5 grams for a whole avocado. The insoluble dietary fiber found in avocados helps move waste through your system and can help keep you regular. Your body needs fiber to function properly and fiber serves as Mother Nature’s internal brush.
Oleic acid is a healthy, monounsaturated fatty acid that can help lower cardiovascular inflammation. A recent study from the Yale School of Medicine shows promise that oleic acid can help fight the effects of multiple sclerosis (MS). Even though more work research is needed on the effects of this monounsaturated fatty acids on MS, that’s great news for a large group of MS suffers.
Beta-sitosterol is a phytosterol found in avocados. Phytosterol is the plant version of cholesterol. The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that a medium avocado has over 130 mg of beta-sitosterol, which makes it the leader. Having more than four times more the phytosterol to it’s closest fruit competitor, the orange, the avocado is the clear winner. Phytosterol is a powerhouse working to help lower bad cholesterol levels in your blood.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
The antioxidant, Lutein, is good for your brain health. It may boost your attention span, memory functions, and problem-solving skills. Research data has shown that increasing the levels of Lutein in older adults increases memory. The reason to eat avocados is clear, eat more avocados, so you can remember to eat more avocados.
Together Lutein and Zeaxanthin, dietary carotenoids are believed to play a role in keeping your vision healthy and research shows that they can help prevent age related macular degeneration.
Other Vitamins And Nutrients
There are so many vitamins and nutrients found in avocados. Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B join the other nutrients at the party to bring health to your daily diet.
One study suggests that a compound found in avocados may “forestall or prevent the hallmark of type 2 diabetes in mice.” Of course more research is required, but this could be huge in the world of diabetes.
Try a avo-mask to improve skin health and look young and naturally beautiful. Slather on your avo-mask and relax while all those lovely nutrients go to work.
Great Avocado Recipes
Enjoying avocados just as they are is perfect for your body. However, sometimes we like a little variety in our diet. Grab a potato masher or blender up your vitamin count.
Weather you slice it or mash it, adding avocado to your toast is hip, trendy, and super healthy. Now is the time to be one of the cool kids. Drop that delicious avocado on your toasted bread and enjoy all the tasty health benefits you get from eating this beautiful green fruit on a crusty whole grain bread.
The simple, open-faced sandwich is basically a great slice of toast covered with sliced or mashed avocado, salt, black pepper, and the juice from one lime.
Altering the basics to fit your taste preference and pantry ingredients is part of the fun. Add extra virgin olive oil for a more rounded flavor. Try crushed red pepper flakes to spice up your toppings. Any number of other toppings would be great, chopped or fried eggs, diced tomato, diced red onion, feta cheese, chicken, the list is only limited by your culinary imagination.
Baked Avocado Eggs
All the cool Keto diet people know about baked avocado eggs, it’s time for the rest of us to join the avocado loving in-crowd.
This simple recipe from Tasty can be prepared in under 30 minutes. With the added flavor bomb of bacon, tomato, cheddar cheese, and herbs, this may be your new go-to avocado meal.
Plan to enjoy this yummy dish next weekend when you want to just kick back and savor a great breakfast. By the way, baked avocado eggs makes a quick and easy dinner, pair them with a fresh salad, and you have a healthy menu item in your work week cooking arsenal.
Guacamole is like spaghetti sauce, everyone’s mom makes the best version. Even though there are only a few ingredients, the outcome can be very different. The master scientific chef, Alton Brown, offers up a guacamole dip is far superior to any pre-made, store-bought dip and comes together in just minutes.
The avocado, mixed with lime juice and a merry band of spices plays nicely with jalapeno, tomatoes, onion and garlic. With only a 20-minute prep time, this super quick guacamole will be your new favorite party dip. Go light on the addition of sour cream to keep your guacamole healthier.
Avocado Lime Popsicles
In the search for a healthy substitute for high dairy fat ice cream, the avo-pop was born. Avocados blended with mint, lime juice, simple syrup, and a pinch of salt come together for a delicious and pretty ice pop. This is a great way to use up avocados that have gone slightly past the perfect texture for eating raw.
Kids will love eating the fun shaped Dino Ice Pops made in these easy out silicone molds. A set of classic Popsicle Molds will chill down these yummy treats. Finally, for tiny hands and small tummies, a set of Kid-Size Molds will do the trick.
There are as many ways to make an avocado smoothie as there are different types of high speed blenders to whip them up. One of our favorite recipes is from allrecipes.com. The single serving smoothie uses one avocado, one cup of milk (nut milk works well), a half cup of yogurt, three tablespoons of honey, and ice. This smoothie gives you over 9 grams of protein and is perfect for an after-workout snack.
Although super tasty and packed with nutrients, drinking too many of these smoothies can promote the addition of unwanted body weight, so tread lightly.
Types of Avocados
Avocados come in a variety of packages, all self-contained and biodegradable. There are, of course, many different varieties, but they all offer generally the same health benefits. Often referred to as the alligator pear, because of its shape and rough skin, most varieties look amazingly similar and can be hard to discern.
- Hass avocados are the predominate variety grown in California. They have a dark green skin that goes to purple-brown when ripe.
- The Gem variety has a thick skin for easy peeling and a rich flavor. The green skin turns dark as it ripens.
- Fuerte is a high quality fruit that is more elongated than pear shaped.
- The Zutano has an unusual shiny yellow-green skin an oblong shape.
- The Reed variety is large and round, like a plump ball.
Storing Your Avocados
Ripeness plays a key roll in storing your avocados. Once you determine the level of ripeness and when you want to add these beauties to your diet, then you can determine storage needs.
A ripe avocado should yield slightly to gentle pressure, but not too soft or mushy. Texture is important when discerning the ripeness. Store a ripe and ready to eat fruit that is unopened in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for two to three days.
An avocado that will be ripe in a day or two, will still feel somewhat firm when pressed. Leave these fruits out at room temperature to reach optimum ripeness.
If you want a fruit that will be ripe in three or four days, select one that is green, and firm when squeezed. Allow it to ripen at room temperature until slightly soft.
For a quick turn-around on the ripening process. Place your unripe avocados in a paper bag with an apple until they are ripe. The ethylene from the apple will help the ripening process along and the paper bag keeps the gas contained for optimum effect.
Once you have cut into an avocado, you need to keep it from oxygen which will cause oxidation and turn the flesh brown. Sprinkle the cut, exposed fruit with fresh lime or lemon juice and seal tightly with plastic wrap to keep the air out. This way you can continue to enjoy the benefits of avocados without having any go to waste.
A fun gardening experiment is growing an avocado tree from a pit. With an Avocado tree growing kit, you can enjoy a pretty green plant for your indoor garden. Chances are you won’t harvest any fruit from your homegrown tree, and if it does produce avocados it could take as long as 20 years. The reason for growing the is to enjoy the fun of watching the tree grown and enhance your ornamental indoor garden with this fun project.
Learn More About The Health Benefits of Eating Fruit
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Be sure to leave a comment below and share your favorite avocado recipe with your fellow readers. To read about growing and caring for avocados, click here for our avocado blog posts.