Avocado is a unique fruit from the Persea Americana tree; a tree known for its origin in South Central Mexico. Although there are different kinds of avocado based on their shape and colors, we are focusing on the most popular one which is the alligator pear or Hass avocado.
It is green, shaped like a pear and has bumpy skin like that of an alligator. It has a large seed called stone or pit. Whether taken alone as a fruit that it is or added to dishes, it will still give you all the avocado benefits it promises to provide.
The Avocado fruit, which is also called alligator pear is very rich in healthy fats, unlike other fruits that have carbohydrates as their primary components.
It is a highly nutritious fruit. It has over 20 vitamins and minerals with vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium and folate being the major components. Avocados are free from sodium and cholesterol making them a super healthy thing to eat.
As you read on, you’ll get to know the avocado benefits and various ways to use the fruit.
Health Benefits Of Avocado
1. Nutrient-Packed Fruit: Avocado is that fruit you might want to go to when you feel the need to take in all the nutrients in this world (a little exaggeration there). But my point is, avocado is a nutrition powerhouse. I have stated above the vital nutrients of this superfood, but it doesn’t stop there.
Other avocado benefits are that it also contains calories, good fats that can help you in your weight loss journey, protein, with a low level of carbohydrate.
Its monounsaturated fat stimulates your body to absorb antioxidants such as beta-carotene. You may wonder when fat became such a big deal, but remember we’re talking about healthy fats here. These good fats do not have cholesterol and are in fact very essential for the body.
2. Helps With Successful Weight Management: Avocado enables you to maintain a healthy metabolism which is for sure important in having a healthy weight. The role of your metabolism in processing the food you eat is so there can be lesser fats in your body.
Furthermore, with the fruit’s richness in protein and good fats, you will feel full for a long time thereby reducing your urge to eat. Adding avocado to your daily meal is a healthy way to lower your appetite.
3. Avocado Cholesterol Benefits: Regular intake of avocado can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels in your body. As you may already know, heart disease is sometimes related to high cholesterol in your body. Thus, ability to maintain a right cholesterol level may be a way to get free from heart diseases.
As avocado helps reduce the bad cholesterol level by 22 percent, it helps increase the good cholesterol by 11 percent.
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4. Fiber In Avocado: Fiber is another way to have your weight loss dreams come true, and it also contributes to lowering your blood sugar level. When you take about a 100 gram of avocado, you would have taken in up to 7 grams of fiber which is 27 percent of the daily required fiber intake.
5. Potassium In Avocado: As rich as banana is in potassium, avocado is even richer! Potassium is an essential nutrient as it supports the electrical gradients in our body’s cells. Unfortunately, we don’t get enough potassium we need. Eating avocados might be the perfect way to get as much potassium as possible.
A 100 gram or 3.5 ounces of banana will give you 10 percent of potassium while the same amount of avocado will provide 14 percent. Amazing right? Who would have thought avocado fruit could be more abundant in potassium than bananas?
Potassium helps with blood pressure; therefore you may want to eat enough avocados henceforth.
6. Healthy Fat In Avocado: Avocado fruit is a fat rich food, but this time I’m talking about the good fats that have a lot of benefits to offer you. Most of its fats are oleic acid, so you can tell how healthy they are.
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid which majorly makes up olive oil. This fatty acid may be beneficial for inflammation reduction and could be useful on genes related to cancer.
It might also interest you to know that these fats contained in avocado can resist heat-induced oxidation. Thus, you can tell how safe and healthy avocado oil will be for you if you opt for it in your cooking’s.
7. Aids Nutrient Absorption: Having a lot of nutrients to take in is different from being able to absorb them. If you cannot absorb the nutrients in the foods you are eating, it is more like not eating it at all in the first place. One of the avocado benefits is that it helps you absorb the nutrients in plant foods, thanks to the fats in them.
No wonder why people add avocados to their salads. It may be a good way to increase antioxidant absorption into your body. Because there are nutrients which are fat soluble, combining them with fat such as avocado or others, is the best way to gain from them.
Example of such nutrients are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K. From now, you may want to add some avocados or avocado oil in your veggies/salads.
8. Beneficial To The Eyes: Avocado is an antioxidant-rich food, part of which are Zeaxanthin and Lutein nutrients. These two nutrients are highly beneficial for your eyes. As some studies have shown, these two nutrients may help curb the risk of getting some aging-related eye problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
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9. May Help Prevent Cancer: Some tests were done in isolated cells, and they proved that avocado may disrupt the growth of prostate cancer cells and may also reduce the side effects that come with chemotherapy in some cells too.
However, one cannot say for sure if these effects will be the same when used directly on human beings as against the studies carried out on isolated tests.
10. May Relieve Arthritis: According to studies, avocado and soybean unsaponifiables, which are extracts from avocado and soybean oil, may relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is an arthritis of the bone.
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11. A Tasty Way To Have Your Meals: If you are the type that loves to explore your creativity with food, you may want to start using avocados in your meals. Avocado is a very delicious fruit that can be paired with different kinds of foods.
How to eat avocado? Apart from the regular way of eating the fruit plainly with your spoon, you can throw some into your salad and a whole lot of combination. I have seen people eat avocado with bread and some with rice.
The fatty/smooth texture, richness, and creaminess of avocado makes it delicious with other forms of ingredients or meals. One standard way of enjoying avocado is guacamole. This recipe includes- of course- avocado plus garlic, salt, lime and some other ingredients.
12. Avocado Benefits For Skin: No doubt, what you eat will show on your skin. If you’re taking healthy fats, your skin will tell and vice versa. Avocado benefits your skin because of its healthy fats and the fruit gives your skin collagen metabolism support.
What this does for your skin, asides making it beautiful is that it helps your skin heal quickly in cases of injury.
13. Beneficial For Pregnant Women: Avocado contains folate. Folate is also known as Folic acid, and it is one of the major nutrients every pregnant woman should take for the sake of the growing baby. Folate helps to prevent the baby from having different types of congenital disabilities upon being born.
Another avocado benefits are that it is packed with vitamin B, a nutrient that plays a vital role in a baby’s brain development. You may want to increase your avocado intake from now on if you have a life developing inside you.
14. Avocado For Hair: With so much said about avocado benefits and the internal health, let’s talk about the hair health too. Avocado has a lot of roles it plays in making the hair healthier and better. Let’s examine some.
– Moisturizes Hair: If you are struggling with dry, weak and damaged hair, you may want to turn to avocado for some help. As you already know by now about avocado benefits being rich in Vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin B6. Also, it is high in protein, iron, magnesium, copper, folic acid and amino acids.
With avocado oil, you can moisturize your hair and get rid of dryness or damage. This oil can go deep into the hair cuticle and give it life. It contains monounsaturated fatty acid even much more than you will find in olive oil. Avocado oil can strengthen, moisturize and nourish your hair.
Apart from the healthy look, it gives your hair; it also protects it from various forms of damage. Avocado oil may also stimulate new hair growth for you.
– Enhances Hair Growth: Did you know that lack of certain nutrients is one of those things that denies you of hair growth? Eating the right food goes a long way in giving your hair life and length. Avocado is one of those foods you might want to start eating to improve your hair growth.
It is rich in vitamins and minerals which you already know by now. Vitamins B and E are part of those vitamins, and they help to strengthen the hair and repair hair and scalp damage.
You can make a hair mask from avocado fruit and egg yolk. When you apply this to your hair, it helps with hair growth by strengthening your hair roots, hair strands, and hair follicles. This avocado hair mask will also lock in moisture into your hair cells, and leaves your hair silky and smooth to the touch.
– Prevents Dandruff: Dandruff affects people regardless of their age or gender, and if you have it, you can tell how annoying it could be. Adding moisture to your scalp often is an excellent way to say goodbye to dandruff since it thrives more on dry scalps. Avocado benefits your scalp by giving it a soothing relief and moisture.
To battle dandruff, you can create a hair mask using avocado, argan oil, tea tree oil, and honey.
This mixture will serve as a conditioner for your hair, and treat split ends too. With the tea tree oil, you’ll get antifungal treatments for your dandruff also. These and more make this avocado mask ideal for dandruff.
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Ways And What To Eat With Avocado
While I have said so much about its benefits to your health, you may be wondering how to eat and the benefits of eating avocado, especially for those who have never tried avocados before. (Also read: Clean Eating)
1. Enjoy With Some Seasoning: The most common way of eating avocado is to sprinkle some salt over your avocado and eat. Some add pepper along with the salt too. Also, you can season your avocado with cayenne pepper, paprika, lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
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2. Enjoy In Scrambled Eggs: Adding some avocados to your scrambled eggs will take it to whole new level. Dice up some avocados and add them when your eggs are almost done, somewhat 50 to 60 percent cooked. Some people prefer to add their avocados after the eggs are cooked and off heat.
Whichever way you choose is right, but ensure not to burn your avocados. You can season the egg with salt and pepper for extra taste.
3. Enjoy As A Toast Spread: Avocado can replace the usual margarine or jam spread over your toasts. All you have to do is crush your avocado to form a fine paste and spread on your toast as you will do with butter or margarine. You can as well use the purée in sandwiches too.
4. Enjoy As You Will Enjoy Mayonnaise: Avocado can stand in place of mayonnaise as a binder ingredient. You can use it to bind egg salads, make tuna and so on.
5. Enjoy Avocado In Pancakes: Adding avocado fruit to your pancake is a way of adding more nutrients to the carb filled food. It will add more nutrient, more color and more taste to your pancakes.
6. Enjoy Avocado In Salads: I have said it earlier in this article that avocado helps in the absorption of the nutrients in plant foods. Adding some avocados in your salad is an excellent idea I must say. Apart from its health benefit, it adds some tastes to your salad, and it gives it a balance by adding some fats and calories to it.
7. Enjoy Avocado In Soups: As unbelievable as it may sound; you can make avocado soup. You can make the fruit the primary ingredient itself, or you can add pieces of avocado in other soups.
8. Enjoy Avocado In Smoothies: Combine avocado and other fruits and vegetables to make a delicious smoothie. Avocado with pineapple, banana, berries, some leafy vegetables, milk and Greek yogurt will make a delicious smoothie. You can adjust as you wish or try different recipes and enjoy!
9. Enjoy Avocado In Ice Cream: Are you an ice cream lover but you want to opt for a healthier way to enjoy it? You can make a yummy and nutritious avocado ice cream. You can add coconut (Also read: Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil) or almond milk and honey to make your ice cream a 100 percent healthy treat.
10. Enjoy Avocado in Desserts: For a more healthy dessert, you can use avocado in place of fatty ingredients in baking such as butter, oils, shortening or eggs. With this, you can reduce the number of calories you have in your dessert. It is a better option.
A cup of puréed avocado will replace a cup of butter, while 2 to four tablespoons of the same will replace one whole egg.
11. Other Ways Of Using Avocado In Meals Are: In guacamole, sushi rolls, as toppings, dressings, as drinks, in baking bread, for pasta sauces, it can be grilled, fried or baked as well.
You Can Also Try Our Healthy And Easy Avocado Recipes
- Baked Coconut Shrimp Recipe with Avocado-Lime Dip
- Pineapple Shrimp Stuffed Avocado Recipe
- Mexican Chopped Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
- Avocado Deviled Eggs Recipe
- Loaded Baked Avocado and Egg Recipe
Are Avocado Seeds Edible?
The discussion about avocado benefits will be incomplete without talking about its seed. The avocado seed is also called stone or pit.
Is it beneficial or harmful? You will soon find out.
Let me guess, the first thing you do after cutting you avocado fruit open is to remove its large seed and dispose of it? If I’m right, then you might want to develop a new plan now. The pit of the fruit serves some medicinal purposes such as treating muscle and joint pains. It contains 70 percent of the fruits amino acids. I will discuss some of its benefits below.
- It can serve as an excellent antioxidant. Antioxidants help prevent our cells from aging and protects them from free radicals.
- Since it is rich in amino acids, avocado seeds may help prevent heart-related diseases. It helps to reduce high cholesterol and triglycerides in your body.
- It may also help stop diarrhea.
- Since it helps reduce cholesterol in the body, it also may help you hit your weight loss goal. You can burn some fats and slim down with this seed. In fact, it’s soluble fiber will help you keep your appetite in check, so you don’t feel hungry all the time; therefore your food intake will reduce.
- Another benefit of avocado stone is that it serves as an aphrodisiac. If you are experiencing low libido, it might be of help to you.
- Oral intake of the seed, as well as application on the skin, may restore your youthfulness, this is because it enhances collagen formation thereby making your skin come alive. It may also protect the skin from sunburns.
- Avocado seed can be used topically to relieve muscle and joint pains.
- Avocado seed may have anti-diabetic effects because it contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, sodium, and chromium. They help the body fight diabetes by regulating the critical enzymes that are connected to the formation of glucose in your body. Also, the seed contains tannins, alkaloids, saponins, steroids and flavonoids which are antioxidants that help lower glucose in the body.
These are some of the numerous benefits avocado seeds can bring to you. But you must be wondering right now to use it. Don’t worry; I will not ask you to swallow the entire stone even if it makes you live forever. Okay, that was just by the way. Find below how to consume avocado seed.
How To Use Avocado Seed?
Firstly, you have to remove the brown layer/skin of the seed and then grate what you find. Another way is to place it on low heat until it gives you a reddish color. After that, you can make an infusion by bringing it to boil for up to ten minutes and leave it for some minutes. That’s it, and you can begin to drink the liquid content you get.
You may also decide not to boil the toasted seed. You can grind it up with your coffee beans grinder and make a powder out of it.
You can use the grated or powdered seed to garnish your rice, stews, sound, pasta or salads. Since it is medicinal, the avocado seed will give you an astringent and bitter flavor, be ready for it!
Precautions When Taking Avocado And Its Seed
With no doubts, avocados are safe and healthy to eat when speaking on a general ground. But, in some cases, they aren’t.
If you have the latex allergy, you might want to stay away from avocados. Similarly, fruits like banana and kiwi are not suitable for you. If you suffer from latex syndrome and you take fruits like those, your immune system fights the fruit proteins thereby giving you headaches, stomach cramps and upset and even severe allergic shock.
Also, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome might suffer from bloating, gas, cramps, and constipation if the eat avocado. All these may happen because avocado contains FODMAPs.
Avocado seeds, on the other hand, can lead to constipation if you abuse it and take it excessively. It has tannin content; hence it is expected.
Avocado is a wonder fruit, so is its seed. It serves a lot of benefits such as reducing cholesterol, arthritis and offering a load of nutrients like potassium to the body. It can be enjoyed in different recipes of foods, desserts, and drinks. The fatty fruit also contributes to a healthy hair and skin.
I tell you, avocado is a unique fruit which you have been missing out on if you’ve not been using it. However, it’s not too late; the time is now. There are enough avocados to go round, so I welcome you to the world of avocado benefits!
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