Whilst relatively high in fat and calories, avocados are one the best foods you can eat. Not only are they delicious but they are also jam-packed with nutrients like Vitamin E, iron, potassium and niacin.
Native of Central America, the main varieties of avocado include:
The Hass with a thick, dimpled green skin and rich, creamy smooth flesh.
The Fuerte is longer and thinner than the Hass. It has a smooth green skin, which peels away easily when the fruit is ripe and whilst the flesh is a lighter colour than the Hass, it is just as tasty and good for you.
There is also the pear-shaped, smooth-skinned Ettinger and more spherical Nabal.
Numerous studies have found that including clean foods, like avocados, in your diet can help decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. It can also help your complexion glow, hair shine and give you more energy and a healthy body weight.
Other reasons for eating this green goddess include:
Avocadoes contain mono-unsaturated fat, which helps slow digestion and prevents blood sugar levels from dipping after a meal.Mashed avocado on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise or butter is a really easy, delicious way to add this fruit to a meal and stave off those afternoon slumps that have you diving for a bar of chocolate.
Many people do not know this but an avocado can provides almost a quarter of the recommended daily intake of folate. This B vitamin plays a key role in a healthy pregnancy, so if you are planning a family or expecting a baby, it’s a good idea to include avocados in your diet.
Despite its rich, creamy texture, avocados are actually high in fiber and contain around six grams per half fruit. Eating foods that contain natural fiber can help to prevent bloating and constipation, help maintain a healthy digestive system and can even lower the risk of colon cancer.
We have talked about folate for babies, but it is also associated with lowering the risk of heart attacks and heart disease. We should all aim for healthy hearts and if there is a history of family heart problems, or you are at risk of heart disease, adding avocado to your diet is an extra smart move.
Avocados are a brilliant source of lutein, a carotenoid that works as an antioxidant and helps guard against eye disease. The goodness doesn’t stop here however because avocados can also help you better absorb vital nutrients from other foods you eat. Carotenoids are soluble in fat rather than water, so when you eat carotenoid-rich foods like fruits and vegetables with monounsaturated-fat-rich avocados it is easier for your body to absorb the carotenoids. A super-easy way to do this is to add avocado to your salads and smoothie.
Next week we will look at some delicious recipes using avocados so watch this space.