Also Known as Alligator Pears

These Fruits Kick some Plant A#!

Avocados are in fact fruits, native to the town Puebla in Mexico. We are most familiar with the Haas avocado, comprising 80% of avocados throughout the world. They are one of the only fruits with monounsaturated fats, the good kind, that can lower cholesterol and help stave off heart disease. Each fruit averages 5 servings or 5 grams. In just one serving (1 gram) you get nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Not only that, but avocados help you to absorb the nutrients from other foods as well.

Typically one of the first questions asked regarding a vegetarian or vegan diet is in reference to legitimate protein sources. Well here you go folks! Avocados are an excellent source of plant-based protein. In a study conducted by Polansky and Murphy, avocados ranked number 1 in protein content, having anywhere from 2 to 10 times the amount of protein compared to 26 other fruits and veggies. To top it off, this fruit is a complete protein, containing all 9 of the essential amino acids. You get a major bang for your buck with this mean green plant.

Keep that 20/20
Avocados can help keep your eyes healthy with it’s high concentration of lutein, a potent carotenoid or antioxidant. One avocado can have up to 400 micrograms of lutein and allows you to absorb more lutein from other foods. This powerful antioxidant is found in high concentrations in the macula of our eye, the part responsible for vision. Start incorporating this fruit into your diet now and you just might be able to see what you’re eating later.

Weight Loss
Believe it or not the avocado can help you drop some pounds, particularly those stubborn ones around your middle. The monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) actually contribute to fat burning. In addition, the fat content of the avocado will have you feeling full while the creamy texture won’t make you feel deprived of rich foods.

Protect Against Cancer
From your mouth to your breast to your prostate, various components of the avocado have been shown to aid in cancer prevention. Much like olive oil, avocados are high in oleic acid which has been proven to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. With oral cancer in particular, the avocado seeks and destroys both cancerous and pre-cancerous cells, while leaving the healthy cells untouched. The free radical fighting antioxidant vitamin E, helps protect the body from damage which can lead to many diseases including cancer.

Lower Cholesterol
Back to those favored MUFAs. I’ll admit that it seems counterintuitive that fat could help lower cholesterol, but over and over studies have shown that healthy monounsaturated fats decrease your LDL (the bad cholesterol) and help to increase the HDL (the good cholesterol). By inhibiting its absorption in the intestine, the high levels of beta-sitosterol found in avocados lower your cholesterol levels.

Other than guacamole, an avocado’s true destiny, we like to incorporate avocados into our salads, sandwiches and even pastas. Look for some avocado based recipes tomorrow!

Avocados are great beauty aids and are even used in cosmetics around the world. Try mixing any of these ingredients together to make an enriching face mask: avocado, plain yogurt, banana, honey, egg yolk. I don’t recommend using all of these together but play around with various combinations and change it up to get multiple benefits.