• Health Mentors

Avocado - The Big Green Dude

The avocado is the big green dude of the fruit and veggie world!! Technically classified as a berry, this wonderful green fruit is also known as an alligator pear or butter fruit. Its benefits to our health are enormous as it provides a substantial amount of monounsaturated fatty acids #goodfats.

It is becoming more and more clear that “good fats” are essential to our health and keeping weight down. The fat in avocados are beneficial fats and will help you to not feel hungry. They won’t increase your insulin levels and thus your blood sugar will be more stable. Your body will be able to access its fuel from fat cells #lchf.

You may be interested to know the following facts about avocados:

1. They are full of nutrients - containing nearly 20 vitamins and minerals including vitamins C, E, K, B-6 and riboflavin. Mineral-wise, they contain niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. One avocado has approximately 970 mgs of potassium. In comparison, a banana has approximately 480 mgs! Oh, and to top it off, they also provide omega-3 fatty acids and beta-carotene.

2. Avocados contain the highest amount of plant protein coming from a fruit - all of which is bio-available!

3. As avocados contain a natural plant sterol (beta-sitosterol), they can help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

4. There are 2 phytochemicals that avocados contain (lutein and zeaxanthin). These provide antioxidant protection in the eyes and this helps to protect the eyes from light damage.

5. Avocados contain approximately 25% of our daily recommended intake of Vitamin K which is essential for bone health and will aid in preventing osteoporosis by increasing calcium absorption.*

6. Avocados have a high level of folate. Folate can help to decrease the risk of depression by contributing towards preventing the build-up of the amino acid homocysteine (which is known to impair circulation and also transport nutrients to the brain). If there is too much homocysteine, it may inhibit the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the regulators of our mood, our sleep and our appetite, so this is very important!

7. Avocados can help to improve our digestion as they are high in fibre - approximately 6-7 grams for half an avocado. Obviously, this will help to keep you regular!

If you find your avocados are too hard, try storing them with an apple or banana in a brown bag. This will help them to ripen more quickly!

Struggling on how to eat your Big Green Dude? Try spreading it on a cracker, or on toast and using it instead of butter, or you can add it to salad or cooked/cold meats!

Hint: Use avocado oil for cooking. You can also use it for moisturising the skin and hair but always look at the product information for use.

* If you are on any medication for blood-thinning, such as Warfarin, it is important that you do not suddenly begin to eat more or less foods containing vitamin K as this vitamin helps in blood clotting.