Avocados are bursting with 10 health benefits and are so strongly associated with fertility and aphrodisiacs that the Aztecs would lock up virgin daughters during avocado harvest time to keep them safe. Read the details and check out the infographic below on this wonderful Superfood.
Some people avoid avocados due to their high fat content. Most of us know by now that avocados have the kind of fat that actually helps you lose weight!
10 Health Benefits of Avocados
1. Nutrient-dense fruit
Yes, they are actually a large berry with one seed. One avocado contains approximately 1/3 of the daily requirement of vitamin K and folate, lots of pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.
Avocado has twice the potassium of a banana. It also contains vitamin E, niacin, and riboflavin. That is definitely nutrient-dense!
2. A Source of Healthy Fat
They help increase good cholesterol. Avocados are full of fat, but adding avocados to the diet can increase HDL and decrease triglycerides. They are high in potassium, which supports healthy blood pressure.
“I use a lot of spices, fresh veggies and fruit, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, avocado, soybeans and organic ingredients as often as possible. We need fat in our diets and using the healthier fats is key.” ~ Todd English
3. Help Cure Cancer
Avocados will help your body make more glutathione than many other foods. Glutathione has been found to help prevent some kinds of cancers.
4. Excellent as a First Baby Food
Dr. William Sears puts it as #1 on the top ten list of fruits for babies because avocado nutrition is well-suited for a baby’s growing development.
“Avocado is a wonderful first food for baby. An avocado is smooth and creamy when mashed – a perfect food that will be more readily accepted as baby begins solids. Avocado may be offered as early as 4 – 6 months old. Babies need carbohydrates, and fats as well as proteins for their growth during the crucial first year and even into the second year.
It is a wonderful “good fat” food for baby’s brain and physical development, try an avocado as baby’s first food instead of refined cereals.” ~ Wholesome Baby Food Momtastic. There are baby food recipes on the site too.
5. Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
Avocado slows down digestion which keeps blood sugar from spiking after a meal.
“Avocados are low in carbohydrates, which means they have little effect on blood sugar levels. A recent study published in Nutrition JournalTrusted Source evaluated the effects of adding half an avocado to the standard lunch of healthy, overweight people. They discovered that avocados do not significantly impact blood sugar levels.” ~ Health Line
6. Avocados can Protect Unborn Babies
One avocado provides one-third of your recommended daily intake of folate, which helps form a baby’s brain and nervous system. The USDA recommends avocados as one of the best sources of some of the nutrients needed when pregnant.
7. Improve Eyesight
The high amount of lutein and zeaxanthin in avocados can protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration and improve your vision. One ounce of avocado contains 81 micrograms of lutein.
National Institutes of Health suggests avocado is one of the foods to add to your meals for protection from age-related macular degeneration.
8. Have Low Pesticide Levels
“Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.” Says Environmental Working Group The thick skin of the avocado protects it from absorbing pesticides.
9. Help with Weight Loss
It was found that those who ate half of a fresh avocado with their lunch had a 40 percent less desire to eat for 3 hours after lunch, and a 28 percent less desire to eat 5 hours after as compared with those who ate lunch with no avocado.
10. Good for Sexual Health and Fertility
They are rich in Vitamin B6 and folic acid which regulate sexual hormone functions. Also, Vitamin B6 and potassium boost testosterone production in males. Being rich in heart-healthy fats, the heart will keep beating strong; making sure that blood is flowing to the right places.
Perhaps those Spanish priests were on to something when they banned their parishioners from eating avocados. Avocados were a fertility fruit for the Aztecs and used as an aphrodisiac by the Mayans. Old folklore mentions the Aztecs would lock up virgin daughters during avocado harvest time to keep them safe from farmers who may be sexually aroused from eating too many avocados.
Now you have learned the many ‘Health Benefits of Avocados’, let’s see what else you can do with avocados.
Bonus: Great for Beauty Treatments
The glutamine amino acid in avocados helps cleanse your skin and offers it enough protection against harsh environmental factors. D-manno-heptulose found in avocados has been shown to boost collagen formation. Their specific amino acids and carotenoid anti-oxidants can help reduce age spots and heal scars and burns.
Legends say that Ancient Aztec, Mayan, and Inca women used avocados to beautify their skin and hair. Today many natural skincare products contain avocado oil as one of their ingredients.
If you are interested in natural, fresh applications that you can prepare in your kitchen, give these a try.
Why Your Skin and Hair Love Avocados
- Avocados are high in biotin, a B vitamin sometimes referred to as vitamin H or vitamin B7, which helps keep the skin moisturized and prevents hair from becoming too dry.
- They also contain the antioxidant vitamins A and E which can soothe sunburnt skin.
- Avocado oil is used in the cosmetic industry because it is absorbed by the skin, rapidly and completely.
- The oil also contains sterolins, molecular structures within plant-based oils, which can help boost the body’s collagen production and treat age spots.
- An avocado can weigh from 8 ounces to 3 pounds depending upon the variety.
- Almost 50 million pounds of avocados are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday in the U.S. Holy guacamole!
- Avocado is also called alligator pear.
- Avocado pits yield a milky fluid that turns red when exposed to air. The Spanish conquistadors used this ink in documents that are preserved until now.
- A postman, Rudolph Hass, patented the Hass avocado tree in 1935. The first Hass avocado tree is still producing to this day.
- Avocado became known as the ‘alligator pear’ because of its alligator-type skin texture and pear shape.
- Mexico produces the most avocados, and California is the second highest producer in the world.
The cucumber and the tomato are both fruit; the avocado is a nut. To assist with the dietary requirements of vegetarians, on the first Tuesday of the month a chicken is officially a vegetable. ~ Jasper Fforde
- Archaeologists have found evidence that avocados were eaten in Central America as early as around 10,000 BC.
- In 1519, Fernández de Oviedo, a Spanish conquistador, was the first European to eat an avocado.
- “In the center of the fruit is a seed like a peeled chestnut, and between this and the rind is the part which is eaten, which is abundant, and a paste similar to butter and of very good taste,” Said Fernández de Oviedo.
- In 1550 Pedro de Cieza de Leon wrote in his travel journal that the avocado grew in Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru.
- Then in 1589, there was the first mention in English of the avocado in a publication by an English merchant named Hawkes.
- In 1605 a report that the avocado was cultivated at that time from Mexico to Peru by Garcilaso de la Vega.
“Avocados were first domesticated in tropical America, where they were cultivated as individual seedling trees before the Spanish conquest. The plants did not receive serious horticultural attention until about 1900, when horticulturists found that production of grafted trees was simple and allowed perpetuation of superior seedlings and the establishment of orchards.” Says the Britannica dictionary.
- In the late 19th century, they were planted in California; they were called the ‘alligator pear’. The problem was they weren’t selling.
- In 1968, Marks & Spencer introduced avocados to UK supermarkets as ‘avocado pears’ in 1968. They were not popular.
- Then in the early 1990s, Avocado farmers in California found a way to get avocados on the market. They made guacamole for the Super Bowl and it was very popular.
- In the early 1990s, Avocado farmers in California were seeking new ways to market their products. They decided to target the Super Bowl with guacamole samples and it, of course, was very popular.
- Then in 2013, Gwyneth Paltrow made ‘avocado on toast’ one of the main recipes in her best-selling cookbook ‘It’s All Good’.
Take a look at this avocado infographic, a colourful way to highlight everything the avocado has to offer!
Wow! There are so many health benefits of avocados and they are so delicious. Now time to get them into your meals and snacks. The first thing is to get the right one.
Pick The Perfect Avocados
- An avocado is ripe and ready for immediate use when you gently squeeze it in the palm of your hand and is ready-to-eat when it is firm but yields to gentle pressure.
- You can’t rely on the colour of an avocado to tell you if it is ripe because the Hass avocado turns black or dark green as it ripens.
- Also, there are some avocados that the skin stays light-green even when ripe.
- Avocados with dark blemishes on the skin or over soft and are best avoided.
- Only refrigerate ripe avocados.
- You can refrigerate ripe ones for two to four days.
How to Ripen an Avocado
- Sometimes we have an unripe avocado and would like to be eating it soon. Here are a few tips to ripen it.
- Put it in a brown, paper bag and store it at room temperature until it ripens which can take two to five days.
- If that is too long, put an apple or a kiwi in the bag and that will help it to ripen faster as they give off a natural hormone called ethylene which helps the ripening process.
- Want the avocado ripe faster? If you put more apples or kiwi in the bag they will ripen quicker and your avocados will ripen.
- “Do not microwave your avocados or put your avocados in the oven to try to ripen them faster. If you do, the microwave or oven may soften the flesh of the fruit a little which may make it ‘seem’ ripe, but it isn’t. The avocado will taste unripe and won’t have the creaminess or buttery, nutty flavor we all know and love. Ripening avocados is a process best left to Mother Nature’s timeline. Patience is key (they took 14-18 months to grow, after all!).” Says California Avocado
“If you have nothing but love for your avocados, and you take joy in turning them into guacamole, all you need is someone to share it with.” ~ Jason Mraz
Check out These Tasty Avocado Recipes
Very Healthy Green Salad with Grapes and Avocado – This green salad with grapes and avocado makes a delicious refreshing lunch or as a first course for a bigger meal. It is very nutritious with all the greens. Adding the grapes gives it a sweetness and the avocado a creaminess.
Tasty Vegan Sandwich with Avocado, Cucumber and Pumpkin Seeds – This vegan sandwich is great for a quick simple lunch or snack, some even like it for breakfast. The avocado adds creaminess, while the cucumber is juicy and the pumpkin seeds add a salty crunch. It is so tasty and I like how easy it is to make.
Avocado Tomato Salad Dressing – This Avocado Tomato Salad Dressing is an easy way to jazz up any salad! This is a base recipe that you can alter with your choice of herbs or salty flavors. This is enough for 3 salads. A healthy homemade salad dressing is always the way to go. Those store-bought ones are very often filled with unhealthy ingredients.
Avocado Vegetable Dip – What I like about this raw avocado vegetable dip is that it is full of vegetables; adding the celery makes it crunchy and not so rich as well as healthier for you. There are so many dips available to buy at the grocery store but this is one is healthier with its low sodium content, monounsaturated fat and a good source of lutein, an antioxidant that may protect vision. Best of all it is fresh and tasty. Also, I sometimes enjoy this mixture on mixed green salads.
Quinoa Arugula with Avocado Salad – This is a yummy and nourishing quinoa arugula salad for any season. It is full of good protein from the quinoa and the pumpkin seeds. It is a whole meal in one bowl.
Delicious, Beautiful Avocado Grapefruit Salad – Grapefruit is a very good fruit for the winter with all the vitamin C in it and it has fat flushing benefits.
Learn more about some of the healthiest vegetarian foods you will always want to have in your pantry or growing on your deck.
READ: Superfoods – Over 100 of the Healthiest Foods You Should Have in Your Diet and learn more about the variety of Superfoods we think you should have in your diet.