By Jordan & Kyla Miller

Contributing Writers for Wake Up World

Did you know that avocados having amazing health benefits? We love avocados and we make sure to have at least one a day. Unfortunately, there are some misconceptions about this fruit, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to set the record straight. At the same time, we will be highlighting many of the avocados health benefits.

Origins

The avocado is a tree native to Puebla, Mexico and is classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae. Avocado also refers to the fruit (which is a large berry that contains a large seed) of the tree. They are a commercially valuable fruit and are cultivated in tropical climates throughout the world (and some temperate ones, such as California) producing a green-skinned, pear-shaped fruit that ripens after harvesting. Cultivating fruit can take up to 4-6 years from seed.

Misconceptions

1. Avocados are high in fat and that makes them very high in calories

Contrary to popular assumptions, the avocado can be a helpful part of a successful weight-management program. Its monounsaturated fat speeds up the basal metabolic rate, as compared with saturated fat. Its rich supply of vitamins and minerals also makes the diet more wholesome and satisfying and thus more conducive to overall health and to moderation in consumption.  Its high fat content gives a quicker feeling of fullness, thus helping to reduce overeating; and it also makes an overall sound diet more palatable, reducing the temptation to binge on foods high in sugars or saturated fats.

2. Avocados are high in fat and therefore bad for the heart

While avocados are high in fat, they have been shown to maintain good cholesterol while reducing bad cholesterol. The reason for which avocado is considered so effective when it comes to lowering the cholesterol levels is because it is a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. The avocado fat is a type of fat that actually lowers the LDL levels (the “bad” cholesterol) while raising the levels of the HDL (the “good” cholesterol) which protect the arteries.

Various Health Benefits

Proteins

Proteins are made of amino acids. There are 22 different amino acids that combine in various sequences to form all proteins. The human body is capable of manufacturing some of these amino acids, but the remaining ones must be obtained through the diet. These amino acids are called the “essential amino acids”. The avocado is a “complete food” in terms of protein, containing all 8 essential amino acids.

Fiber

The avocado contains large amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber. These fibers are important for overall digestive health because they work together to prevent problems and to keep things moving smoothly.

Lutein

The avocado contains more carotenoid lutein than any other commonly consumed fruit. Lutein is an antioxidant that is great for the eyes. It helps to prevent cataract and macular degeneration.

Oleic Acid

The avocado is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies.

Beta-sitosterol

The avocado is high in beta-sitosterol, which is a compound that is shown to lower cholesterol levels.

Folate

Many of folate’s healthful properties help women specifically. It’s particularly important for pregnant woman to get enough folate to keep the fetus healthy. It also seems to prevent cancer of the cervix. One cup of avocado has 23% of the recommended daily intake value of folate.

Magnesium

The avocado is a good source of magnesium. Magnesium is vital for good health.Every organ in the body, especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys, needs the mineral magnesium. It also contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones. Most important, it activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate calcium levels as well as copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients in the body.

Glutathione

The avocado contains glutathione, which is an important antioxidant that researchers say is important in preventing aging, cancer, and heart disease.

Vitamin E

The avocado is the best fruit source of vitamin E, an essential vitamin that protects against many diseases and helps maintain overall health.

Vitamin B6

The avocado is one of the high sources of fruit containing vitamin B6. This vitamin is important for the nervous system, red blood cells, teeth and gums.

*Please note that there are many more benefits

Favorite “Simple” Recipes

As if the above health benefits weren’t enough, avocados also taste amazing!! Below you will find three very quick and simple, but tasty ways to include avocado in your diet.

Avocado, Tomato & Cucumber Salad

- 2 avocado

- 50 cherry tomatoes

- 1 cucumber

- 4 tbsp olive oil

- Various spices to taste (i.e. sea salt, turmeric, chili powder,cayenne)

* Peel avocado. Remove pit. Cut up avocado, cherry tomatoes and cucumber. Mix in a bowl. Add olive oil and spices. Enjoy! (Serves 2)

Guacamole

- 1 avocado

- 10 cherry tomatoes

- ½ a lemon, juiced

- 1 clove garlic, pressed

- Sea salt, to taste

- Cayenne powder, to taste

* Peel avocado. Remove pit. Mash up avocado in bowl until smooth consistency. Cut up cherry tomatoes and add to avocado. Add lemon juice, garlic, sea salt and cayenne to bowl. Mix together. Enjoy! (Serves 1)

Salty Avocado

- 1 avocado

- Sprinkle of sea salt

* Cut avocado in half. Remove pit. Sprinkle sea salt on both halves.

Enjoy with a spoon! (Serves 1)

Feel free to check out all our other recipes

Skin Care

The avocado is often used in herbal skin care. It yields a rich andextremely deep-penetrating oil, packed with vitamins and minerals. Benefits of avocado oil for the skin include:

1. Avocado oil is high in sterolins, which are reputed to reduce age spots and scars. It is the sterolins in the oil that helps to soften the skin and imparts a superior moisturizing effect.

2. Avocado oil is ideal for people with dehydrated skin, as it is an extremely good moisturizing and nourishing compound, assisting in the regeneration and rejuvenation of the skin.

3. It has been found that avocado oil significantly increases the amount of collagen in the skin – which normally is under attack as we grow older.

4. Avocado oil is easily absorbed into deep tissue, and with its wonderfully emollient properties, make it ideal for mature skins. It also helps to relieve the dryness and itching of psoriasis and eczema.

Growing Avocados Indoors

If you don’t live in a climate warm enough to grow avocados outdoors, you can grown them from pits indoors. This is often done by removing the pit from a ripe, unrefrigerated avocado. The pit is then stabbed with three or four tooth picks, about one third of the way up. The pit is placed in a jar, glass or vase with tepid water. In four to six weeks, it should split and out should come roots and a sprout. If there is no change by this time, the avocado pit is discarded. Once the stem has grown a 4-6 inches, it is placed in a pot with soil. It should be watered every few days. Avocados have been known to grow large, so owners must be ready to re-pot the plant several times.

Your question(s): Do you like avocados? How often do you eat them? (post your comments below)

Article Sources:
regenerativenutrition.com
diethealthclub.com/calories/avocado-calories.html
crfg.org/pubs/ff/avocado.html

About the Authors

Jordan & Kyla are passionate about health; together, they have overcome many illnesses through dietary and lifestyle changes, and the art of practicing a positive mindset daily. Kyla is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Reiki Master, and Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist. For more information, please visit the following sites; guidinginstincts.comFacebookTwitterGoogle+, or Pinterest

 
   

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