The humble avocado is one of the mightiest green things on the planet and Sarah Hutchings shows why you need to smash it into your diet.
Head to any trending café and you’ll spot avocado on the menu. Loved for its creamy taste, soft texture and health-enhancing properties, it’s no surprise that the humble avocado has become a cornerstone of the modern diet. The avocado’s meteoric rise to A-list celeb status in the nutrition world has been nothing short of incredible. Some people have gone so far as to declare that they’re one of the only foods that we could live off. Seems a bit extreme to forego all the other delicious things we can eat, but we get the gist: avocados are really, really good for us.
So, what makes the avocado so great? Well, as it turns out, that’s a very long list; avocados are made up of 73 per cent water, 15 per cent fat, 8.5 per cent carbohydrates (mostly fibre) and two per cent protein. Half an average-size avocado contains around 110 calories. Here are six other reasons to love avocados.
- They’re rich in nutrients: Avocados boast an astounding 20 vitamins and minerals, are free from gluten, sodium, sugar and cholesterol and offer not only fibre but protein – something almost unheard of in fruit.
- They’re loaded with potassium: Avocados boast twice the potassium of bananas. Increasing potassium intake has been shown to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension, thus decreasing the risk of stroke.
- They’re a great source of healthy fats: Almost 80 per cent of the calories in avocados come from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence. The majority of the fat in avocados is the heart-healthy monounsaturated kind, more specifically oleic acid, which is also the main component in olive oil. This type of fat is all good news. Not only has it been linked to reduced inflammation, making it ideal for arthritis or osteoporosis sufferers, it also lowers cholesterol levels, decreasing your chances of heart disease.
- They help you absorb nutrients: Here’s another great thing about the kind of fat found in avocados: it helps you absorb nutrients from other foods. You see, when it comes to the nutritional content of what we eat, the amount of iron, vitamin A, calcium, etc. a food contains is only one part of the puzzle. We also need to be able to absorb the nutrients properly and take them where they need to go in our bodies, and this is often the trickiest part to get right. One study proved that by adding avocado or cold-pressed avocado oil to a salad or meal, we can absorb anywhere between 2.6 and 15 times more antioxidants, meaning that not only is avocado highly nutritious in its own right, it also spreads its magic by increasing the nutritional value of other plant foods. Impressive, right?
- They’re incredibly versatile: There are endless ways to introduce or increase the amount of avocado in your diet, both sweet and savoury. Slice them on to toast, chop them in a salad or dollop mashed avocado over tofu tacos. They’re also surprisingly delicious mixed with cocoa powder and feature in some seriously gooey and delicious desserts.
- They’re a great beauty treatment: Really can’t stand the taste of them? Fair enough. These superheroes can be beneficial in other ways too – mash them up and apply to your face and hair for a deeply hydrating treatment. In simple terms, few things rival the avocado when it comes to healthy eating. Get some on your plate, in your salad, on your hair and in your lives now.