Rich and creamy and subtly-flavoured, the avocado is without a doubt one of nature’s most luxurious foods. Here are eight reasons why you should make it part of your daily diet.
- Avo for the Heart
Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1, a 2018 study found that those who eat avocados (compared to those who eat an avo-free diet) had higher levels of good HDL cholesterol. This is likely due to the high amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in avos. Avos are also naturally cholesterol free, an added bonus in heart health.
- Avo for healthy Blood Pressure
It’s a double-win for blood pressure when eating avos. Firstly, avocados contain potassium, a mineral that when included as part of healthy diet contributes to normal blood pressure. In addition, avocados are also naturally free from sodium which we know, may increase the risk of high blood pressure if consumed in excess.
- Avo for the Eyes
Published in the scientific journal Nutrients 2 in 2017, researchers in America found that people who ate one avocado a day over six months had higher levels of lutein in the blood. Avos are a source of lutein, a phytochemical that accumulates in the eye. Lutein, along with another phytochemical called zeaxanthin, has been found to be protective against a common eye disorder in the elderly called age-related macular degeneration.
- Avo for the Brain
In the same study mentioned above, people who ate an avo daily also had significant improvements in their memory, cognition and problem-solving abilities. The lutein in avos, along with monounsaturated fats, fibre and other bioactive compounds, make this creamy fruit particularly attractive for a healthy brain.
- Avo during Pregnancy
A mother’s diet during pregnancy plays a crucial role in influencing the growth of her baby and a healthy birth. Avos are a nutrient-dense food consisting of a unique combination of dietary fibre, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin K and folate, all important as part of a healthy diet for both mom and growing baby.
- Avo for the Gut
The fibre in avos is a unique combination of ¾ insoluble fibre and ¼ soluble fibre. Our gut needs different types of fibres to keep it healthy, each of which has different jobs in the gut. Soluble fibre acts like a mop and helps absorb fluid in the gut, forming a soft, gel-like substance that helps the stool to easily pass through the gut. Insoluble fibre acts like a broom, roughly sweeping through the length of the gut to remove waste. But fibre does far more than just keep us regular and may play a role in preventing colon cancer, lowering cholesterol, and even helping with weight loss.
- Avo for your Waistline
Avos can be helpful as part of a successful energy-controlled diet for weight loss. Researchers have found that the monounsaturated fats in avo give a quicker feeling of fullness which reduces overeating. The richness may also help make the diet more appetizing, reducing the temptation to binge on foods high in energy from sugar and bad fats.
- Avo for your Hair and Skin
Avocados are high in a B-vitamin called biotin which contributes to the maintenance of normal hair and skin. Nourish your hair and skin from the inside out and have avocado as a spread on toast, as a dip for fresh finger veggies or diced into salads this summer.
Add an avo to brekkie for something delish to start your day.
Re-invent the classic croissant by adding slices of avocado with grilled halloumi cheese and slow roasted vine tomatoes.
Quick breakfast flatbread with guacamole dip
For the flatbreads
- 350g self-raising flour
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil)
- 1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
- 350g Greek yoghurt
For the guacamole
- 2 avocados, peeled and chopped
- ½ red onion, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 2 spring onions chopped
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or chipotle powder
For the flatbreads
- Add all the flatbread ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix together with a spoon, then use clean hands to pat and bring everything together.
- Dust a clean work surface with flour, then tip out the dough.
- Knead for a minute to bring it all together (this is not a traditional bread recipe with yeast , so you don’t need to knead it for long – it will be soft and if very sticky add a little extra flour).
- Put the dough into a floured-dusted bowl and cover with a plate, leave aside for 10 minutes.
- Whilst the dough is resting make the guacamole and heat a griddle pan on the stove.
- To make the flat breads, dust a clean work surface with flour, divide the bread dough into six equal pieces and roll out each piece on the floured surface.
- Brush the hot grilled pan with a little oil and place bread pieces on the pan.
- Cook for 2 minutes and flip over, they should be light golden brown and cooked through.
- Serve hot with guacamole.
For the guacamole
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, mashing with a fork if a smoother texture is required.
- Serve in a bowl with flatbread.
Avo and blueberry muffins with dukka topping
Makes 8 giant muffins
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ripe avocado
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 cup Greek yoghurt
- 1 cup blueberries
- 150g pecan nuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons dukka
- Pre-heat oven to 180°c, and line muffin tin with paper liners.
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat the remaining ingredients together except the blueberries, pecan nuts and dukka.
- Pour the avocado mixture into the flour and stir to combine – do not over-mix, gently stir in the nuts and blueberries.
- Spoon into the paper liners and sprinkle with dukka.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until well risen and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove and cool on a wire rack.