ADD AN AVO – THE ULTIMATE MEAL TOPPING
Locally grown avocados are in season right now so be sure to #AddAnAvo to any meal, any time of the day. Perfect your pizza, burger or sandwich by topping it off with thick slices of avo, or smash it up and add an avo as the crowning glory to your grilled steak or chicken breast…mmmm! And honestly, what is the point of a salad if it doesn’t have generous avo chunks resting atop fresh lettuce?
Eight reasons to add an avo
The avocado is without a doubt one of nature’s most luxurious foods: rich and creamy and subtly-flavoured. Adding an avo to any meal, any time of the day, not only tastes delicious but here are eight reasons to add an avo as part of a healthy diet.
Love an 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.
Love an 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 a 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.
Love an 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.
Love an 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.
Love an Avo During Pregnancy
A mother’s diet during pregnancy plays a crucial role in influencing the growth of her baby and 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.
Love an 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, gelish mush 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.
Love an Avo for your Waistline
Contrary to these perceptions, avos can be helpful as a 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. Fortunately, incorrect perceptions linking avocados to weight gain are changing; in a follow-up survey in 2018, only 16% of respondents believed avocados to be fattening.
Love an 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.
Web page: www.avocado.co.za
- Mahmassani HA, Avendano EE, Raman G, Johnson EJ. Avocado consumption and risk factors for heart disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2018;107(4): 523–536. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqx078.
- Scott TM, Rasmussen HM, Chen O, Johnson EJ. Avocado Consumption Increases Macular Pigment Density in Older Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Nutrients.2017; 9, 919. Doi:10.3390/nu9090919
South Africa boasts several different avocado varieties, including the popular Fuerte and Hass. But there are many other delicious cultivars to tuck into, such as Edranol, Ryan, Pinkerton, Reed, Maluma Hass and Lamb Hass.
Half avocados and toss gently with cherry tomatoes, grilled sweetcorn, kidney beans, chopped chives and sweet red peppers. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice and freshly ground black pepper.
Top your health bread sandwich with avo, hummus, pesto and lemon for a quick and tasty snack.