Avocados are a super-nutritious, wonderful food. They are actually a fruit and not a vegetable, and these delicious, creamy fruits have great benefits for health.
In comparison with any other fruit, avocados contain more protein, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, B vitamins, Vitamin E and vitamin K. These nutrients, along with their high content of oleic acid, make the avocado a powerful antioxidant that has been found to protect against heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer.
Although avocados are one of the few fruits that contain fat, they contain mainly heart-protective monosaturated fats. These are simple fats that are high in the antioxidant Vitamin E and are actually beneficial for health, unlike artificial trans fats or hydrogenated fats.
Adding naturally fatty foods such as avocados to the diet has been found to increase nutrient absorption from foods. In fact, eating an avocado with another salad or vegetable results in the body absorbing four times more lutein, eight times more alpha-carotene, and 13 times more Beta-carotene, which are all excellent nutrients for eyes.
The healthy fats provided by avocados also help to improve mood and keep you feeling happy. These fruits are rich in tryptophan, along with vitamin B and folic acid, which helps the body turn tryptophan into the feel-good chemical serotonin. Scientists have also found that people are more relaxed and feel less pain after eating a high-fat meal.
Avocados are an excellent source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that neutralizes the damaging effect of toxins in the body and boosts resistance to infection. Vitamin E is also an important nutrient for fertility; it has been found to improve sperm quality in men and balance hormone production in women, leading to increased fertilization rates.
Mashed avocado is an ideal food for anyone who is unwell or recovering from an illness, especially children. It is easy to digest, and is a rich source of natural antibiotic and antifungal chemicals.
Along with their numerous benefits for a healthy body on the inside, avocados also help to improve and maintain healthy skin on the outside. Their natural oils and vitamins A and E are antioxidant, and therefore prevent premature aging of the skin and the formation of wrinkles. When applied externally, a purée of avocado mixed with live yoghurt makes a fabulous face mask for cleansing and nourishing. It will increase the amount of collagen in the skin, helping to keep it looking clear and youthful.
Avocados have a smooth, buttery texture and mild, creamy taste, and are best eaten when ripe. An avocado is ready to eat when it is soft to the touch. To ripen a firm avocado, store it at room temperature for a few days. Stop an open avocado from turning brown by sprinkling it with lemon or lime juice, and leaving the stone in.