The Versatile Avocado

Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014

Written by Bonnie Huang, AHN Student

The avocado - a bit of a health wonder. It’s considered a fruit, but it’s also a fatty one, unlike most fruits we know, so how good is it for us? And what ways are there to eat avocados?

Although avocados are high in fat, they contain mostly “good” fat – monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is associated with lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol. It can also help reduce inflammation in the body.

Avocados contain 9.9g of monounsaturated fat, 1.8g of polyunsaturated fat, and 2.1g of saturated fat per ½ an avocado. 

Research has shown that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat, while still consuming the same amount of calories, is more effective in lowering heart disease risk than by simply lowering total fat intake.

The mono- and polyunsaturated fats in avocados are the “good” fats that are associated with improved blood lipids, and are beneficial for heart health.

Avocados also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect against cataract and macular degeneration (beneficial for the eyes).

They are also an excellent source of:

  • Potassium
  • Folate – a B vitamin that maintains cellular DNA
  • Vitamin E
  • Fibre

Avocados are a creamier type of fruit. They’re soft, but unlike a peach. While one way to eat it would be to scoop it out from the skin or peel and eat the whole fruit, it may be more enjoyable to try some other ways of eating it!

Some alternate ways of enjoying avocados

  • Use as a spread on top of toast (to replace butter or margarine
  • Slice it up and put into a sandwich (to replace cheese)
  • Use as a garnish by chopping it up and adding to black bean soup or tacos
  • Dice it up with chopped red onion, tomatoes, cilantro and fresh lime juice to make a salsa
  • Mash it up with a hard-boiled egg or canned tuna/salmon to make an egg or tuna/salmon salad (to replace mayonnaise)
  • Grill it
  • Crack an egg on top of a half-cut avocado and bake it at 375oF for 15-20 minutes

Try these quick recipes!

Vegan Mayonnaise

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • Sea salt

Banana Avocado Pudding

  • 1 frozen banana
  • ¼ frozen avocado
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Avocados are also excellent for the skin when applied directly onto the skin. They contain:

  • Vitamin E – good for skin appearance and complexion
  • Sterolin – good for softening the skin and reducing the incidence of age spots
  • Antioxidants – support suppler skin, and good for dry, aged or sun-damaged skin

Beauty Ideas

Face Mask

  • ½ ripe avocado, 1 egg, 1 tbsp Greek yogurt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tbsp coconut oil (optional – provides extra hydration)
  • Leave mask on for 5-10 minutes, never letting mask fully dry on skin
  • Mask should be used immediately as it does not store

Foot Scrub

  • ½ avocado, ½ cup sugar

There are many uses for avocados, both in eating and maintaining a regular skin regimen. Hopefully the above ideas inspire you to give them a try!

References

Avocado & Good Fats: Take Your Heart's Health to Heart

The Globe and Mail - Are avocados good for me?

Med-Health - Avocado Oil for Skin

News Archive