The Avocado. Probably one of the most beloved fruits (yes fruit!) in this nation. Packed with almost 20 different vitamins (ex: C, K, E, B-6) and nutrients (ex: folate, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium), this fruit is a game changer for your overall health when incorporated regularly into your diet. Avocados are also the only fruit that provides us with heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Not only is it beneficial for us internally, the oils help replenish dry skin and hair when applied topically. In this blog post, I am going to explain to you why you should love the avocado- which you likely do already. And if you don’t, we might need to have your head and tastebuds checked!
First and foremost, the avocado is one the most nutritious fruits that we have access to. As I explained above, it is packed with different vital vitamins and nutrients that provide support to our heart, brain, and other major organs. Did you know that the avocado contains more potassium than a banana? An increased intake of potassium in your diet has been proven to decrease blood pressure and lower stroke risk by 24% (1). It also is a great source of daily fiber. A 3.5 ounce serving of avocado contains 7 grams of fiber, which in turn can help increase satiety and prevent blood sugars from spiking. A study conducted in 2002 (this was only performed on rats) showed a decrease in appetite and body weight along with interfering with liver fat metabolism in the group given avocado (2). Avocados also help with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, specifically vitamins D, K, E, and A. Remember our blog post “Vitamin D—What’s all the hype about?”? The avocado can aid in absorbing vitamin D and ensure it’s not wasted through your gastrointestinal tract. Lastly, avocados contain vital antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin) that have been proven to drastically decrease the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Even more of a reason why those living closer to the equator (sun-cataracts association) should incorporate this fruit into their everyday routine.
Now onto the most talked about reason why everyone loves the avocado—its heart healthy benefits. Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)—specifically oleic acid (refer back to our blog post “Fat: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”). Oleic acid reduces cardiovascular inflammation, something that can be measured by a blood test called C-reactive protein, or CRP. A systematic review and meta-analysis study released in April 2018 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found 18 eligible studies (481 participants). The conclusion revealed there were no significant differences between the triglycerides or LDL (low-density lipoprotein—aka lousy/bad cholesterol) but HDL (high-density lipoprotein—aka protective/good cholesterol) increased. The authors of this systematic review/meta-analysis (which in the evidence-based practice world are the “go-to” studies) suggested that the association between the intake of avocado and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk should be confirmed with well-conducted prospective observational studies or long-tern trials (3).
In addition to the benefits of the vitamins and nutrients and its heart-healthy qualities, avocados may help protect against certain types of cancers. Certain studies have only been provided via test-tubes and laboratories (4, 5, 6), but they do bring up the possibility that the avocado might have benefit in preventing prostate cancer, reducing genetic disposition to breast cancer, and reducing side effects of chemotherapy. I do, however, want to reiterate that the are only test-tube studies and nothing has been performed as of yet (to our knowledge) on actual patients.
As I mentioned before, avocados are packed with fiber, thus making it a desirable fruit to consume while trying to lose weight. It is about 75% of insoluble fiber, meaning that it has the ability to keep you feeling fuller longer and reduces glucose/sugar spikes. This, in turn, keeps your glycemic index balanced. In a survey conducted between 2001-2008 (information was published in 2013), patients who consumed avocados regularly tended to be “much healthier” than those who did not. “Much healthier” referred to a lower body mass index, less belly fat, and higher HDL (7). Now, this doesn’t mean that the avocado is that “magic pill” for weight loss. It means that, along with a healthy diet and consistent exercise routine, the avocado can possibly help with your journey to a healthier you!
With all of these benefits why wouldn’t you want to incorporate the avocado into your diet on a regular basis?! The creamy texture of the avocado gives it the ability to be blended into smoothies, smashed into guacamole, and diced and processed into chocolate muffins (yes I said chocolate muffins!). Erin & I incorporate avocados into our diets on the daily daily, even more so now that we are on our 2nd Whole 30 reset. The avocado is a staple in the Whole 30 reset, providing fatty-fullness while replenishing the body with the vitamins and nutrients needed to recover from detoxing off of gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, alcohol, and legumes. Below is a list of some of Erin and I’s favorite ways to incorporate the avocado into our daily routines.
Guacamole (recipe passed down from my mom!)
- 5-6 avocados
- 1 medium on-the-vine tomato
- 1/2 white onion
- 1/2-1 tbsp of onion powder (depends on taste)
- 1/2-1 tbsp of garlic powder (depends on taste)
- 1/2-1 tbsp of chili powder (depends on taste)
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- Remove shell and seed from avocado and cut avocado into slices or small sections
- Mash avocado up until a thick paste. Make sure there are no huge chunks left.
- Dice up tomato and onion. Mix into avocado.
- Sprinkle in various powders and lemon juice.
- Mix all together until powders and lemon juice are blended.
- Eat up! Usually lasts about 3-5 days (if we haven’t eaten it all yet!)
Sliced over salads and in wraps
- 1-2 slices of your choice of toast (I actually will substitute sliced sweet potato instead!)
- 1 medium avocado
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- Place toast into toaster. Crisp to liking.
- Mashed up avocado (once shell and seed are removed)
- Pour in lemon juice and mix in.
- Spread avocado onto toast
Avocado egg cups
- 2 avocados
- 4 eggs
- Small amount of black pepper
- 1 tbsp of chopped chives
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Slice avocado in half (long ways) and remove seed. Remove about 2 tbsp of avocado just enough for egg to fit in nicely.
- Place avocados in baking dish (try to stay tight!)
- Crack egg into avocado trying best to have yolk enter first then egg white.
- Bake between 15-20 minutes, depends on size of avocado and egg.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle pepper and chives over for garnish.
If price is something you worry about with the avocado, I completely understand! I try and find the best prices and deals when shopping for avocados and don’t worry about it being organic (“The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen”). I have found the best deals at BJs Warehouse ($4.99 for 5) and Target (0.99 an avocado). Publix has them marked as 5 for $5, but BJs and Target are my two go-tos when purchasing avocados for the week.
So, have I convinced you that the avocado is something you need in your life everyday?! I sure hope so. Erin and I love this fruit and don’t know where we would be without it—probably miserable and sad! But in all seriousness, this fruit is a key source of important vitamins, nutrients, and fats that help nourish and heal our bodies from the inside out. Hopefully you begin incorporating this fruit into your meals—and if you don’t like the avocado, we may need to re-evaluate our friendship =)
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Hope you guys have a great week!
Continue to Follow Your Gut,