Avocado (lat. Persea americana or Persea gratissima) is a well known tropical fruit.
It originates from the rain forests of South and North America, where according to archaeological findings it was used for cooking 8,000 years ago.
First it was cultivated by the Incas, Olmecs and Mayans who regarded it as a magical plant. They believed that it nourishes the body inside and out. This was later confirmed to be true by numerous scientific studies.
Name avocado comes from the Aztec word ahuacatl. This is because of the shape and appearance of external crust. This fruit is described as “crocodile pear”.
Avocado has been grown for over 5,000 years. In the 16th century it was brought to Europe by the Spaniards.
Rich in healthy nutrients
Rich, creamy and full of flavor, avocado is a healthy addition to any meal.
It contains large amount of good fats and numerous of healthy nutrients.
100 grams of avocado contains about 160 calories, 15 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of protein.
Avocado contains about 20 essential vitamins. It’s rich in fiber, potassium,vitamin E and B and folic acid.
It improves absorption of nutrients.
If you combine it with other herbal ingredients, you will increase the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids.
Benefits of avocado
1. Improves skin health
Avocados can improve the appearance of your skin. Because of the monounsaturated fatty acids it helps the skin to retain moisture.
Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce redness and irritation and encourage the rapid process of skin renewal.
Regular consumption of avocado can reduce sign of skin aging and stimulate collagen production while improving skin elasticity and strength.
2. Improves brain functions
Experts believe that avocado is the best food for brain health. This is because of its high content of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
Omega-3 keeps the brain healthy by improving blood flow to the front part of the brain, which is essential for critical thinking, behavior, decision-making and planning.
Vitamin E is clinically proven to be good for reducing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s particularly useful in the early stages.
The recommendation is to eat avocado every day.
3. Maintains heart health
Studies have shown that people who frequently eat avocados have a significantly lower risk of heart disease.
Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which keep the heart healthy and lowers blood triglycerides and bad cholesterol.
It also contains substances that indirectly preserve heart health:
- Vitamin E which prevent oxidation of cholesterol
- Folic acid which reduces levels of harmful homocysteine
- Potassium which regulates blood pressure
- Phytosterols which reduces the absorption of cholesterol
Avocado contains more potassium than a banana.
This fruit also reduces the impact of stress and has alkaline properties.
4. Helps proper development of the fetus
A high proportion of folic acid in avocados can significantly protect the health of fetus.
Just one cup of avocado yields a third of the recommended daily amount of folic acid for pregnant women.
Folic acid is a key nutrient that helps proper development of fetus.
5. Prevents and cures arthritis
Avocado contains numerous anti-inflammatory compounds that prevent and treat infections that lead to arthritis.
This is because of high levels of phytosterols and various carotenoids that avocado contains.
Phytosterols are found in fat, and the largest share of carotenoids is in the darker part of avocado, closer to the skin.
When consumed regularly avocado oil is especially good for treating arthritis.
6. Prevents the formation of several types of cancer
Avocado can prevent the formation of cancer of the oral cavity, skin, and prostate.
Anticancer properties are associated with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients.
It’s a good source of antioxidant called glutathione, which fights against free radicals and thus protects against cancer.
Oleic acid is particularly good in fight against breast cancer.
Besides, it can prevent the formation of tumors and alleviates side effects of chemotherapy.
7. Regulates Blood Sugar
Monounsaturated acids from avocados can improve cholesterol levels and prevent insulin resistance, which greatly contributes to the occurrence of type 2 diabetes.
High content of soluble fiber in avocados improves control of blood glucose and oleic acid which has a beneficial effect on insulin resistance.
Avocado is also a low glycemic index food.
8. Improves digestion
Avocados contain B vitamins which releases digestive enzymes needed for good digestion.
They enhance the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, which have an essential function in the process of digestion.
Avocados have more fiber than, for example, apples. Fiber helps digestion and stimulates the elimination of toxins from your body.
It balances the PH level in the body and helps with conditions like heartburn and upset stomach.
9. It helps with weight loss
Although avocado is rich in fats and has a lot of calories, it is still very good for weight loss.
Thanks to healthy fats, after eating an avocado you will have long-lasting feeling of satiety. Which will help you eat less during the day.
It contains L-carnitine – amino acid, which is used for increasing fat-burning.
10. Maintains eye health
Avocados help in maintain good vision.
It is rich in beneficial nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from oxidative stress.
These antioxidants are important for good vision and drastically reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts – diseases that commonly afflict older people.
11. Balances female hormones
Studies have shown that consumption of avocado once a week leads to balancing female hormones. This reduces the risk of obesity during pregnancy and the risk of cervical cancer.
Avocados in cooking
Avocados can be eaten raw or cooked.
The most famous dish of avocado is guacamole Mexican dip – mashed avocado mixed with lime juice, chilli, coriander, onion, salt and pepper.
Avocados are great fit in a variety of salads. It can be used as a spread, the addition of cold soups or sauces.
The avocado can prepare sweets such as mousse, sorbet and ice cream and various fruit salads.
Avocado seeds are also edible and very nutritious, although acting firmly and unusable.
You can chop it easily using a food processor and add chopped avocado seeds to salads, soups and smoothies.
- Rich in antioxidants
- Prevent cancer
- Treat digestive disorders
- Maintain cardiovascular health
- Enhances the sense of satiety and helps in weight loss
- Reduces fungus
- Improves skin tone
Because of its ratio of fatty acid, avocado oil has a high smoke point (combustion), making it perfect for frying and baking.
Of course, it can spice up salads and you can use it like any other oil.
Classic avocado and chili salad
- 1 chopped avocado
- 200 g of lettuce
- 1 organically grown lime (squeezed juice)
- 1 chopped chili pepper
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- Himalayan salt as per your own taste
Mix and serve.
Use of avocados in cosmetics industry
In addition to the benefits of a healthy diet, avocado oil is very beneficial when it comes to cosmetic products.
In beauty industry it is one of the most popular oils, here’s why:
- Smoothes the skin and reduces inflammation due to its high content of vitamin E
- Fights against eczema and other skin ailments
- Prevents dehydration of the skin and protects it from external influences
- Nourishes skin problems
- Protects the skin from aging
- Stimulates the growth hair and maintains hair health
- Protects against UV rays