I heart avocado. To say that we ‘occasionally’ rendezvous may be a bit of an understatement. It is more like a full-blown romance that is indulged daily.. but before you recline in horror at the (gasp) high fats the avo brings to the table, rest easy my friend, as it lovingly brings nothing but GOOD fats to my life, and yes, there is a difference between good and bad fats.
Just like a well matched lover, Avo goes with everything, from my grain- free breakfast of poached eggs, asparagus, slow roasted rosemary tomatoes, to my salmon and salad lunch, or perhaps a little on the side to a grass-fed steak.. hmm bliss.
Ok so I may or may not have just indulged in the most magnificent breakfast where Avo played a shining guest role, hence my after glow blabber.. but there are many amazing nutritional facts to back up why you should include avo (or any good fats such as nuts and seeds) in every meal for maximum nutritional benefits.
We need to consume fats, and wherever you find fat – all three types will be present: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated but just in different amounts. In plant foods such as avocado the majority of fat is the healthy kind: 60% monounsaturated fat and 12% polyunsaturated fat. Half an avocado contains 18g of the beneficial monounsaturated fat.
Healthy fats help carry fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin E and K and colorful carotenoid pigments such as beta-carotene. But for those watching their waist healthy fats also help released hormones in the intestine, which may signal fullness, controlling appetite.
Polyunsatuted oil contains ‘essential’ fatty acids, those that the body is unable to provide. The functions of these little bad boys includes: promote healthy, youthful skin and hair; support proper thyroid and adrenal activity and thus bolster immunity and are required for normal growth and energy; promote healthy blood, nerves and arteries; and are crucial in the transport and breakdown of cholesterol.
On the flip side, deficiencies in the Essential Fatty Acids can lead to skin disorders that are quite common in our western world such as eczema and dry, scaly skin. Other common imbalances are dry hair and loss of hair, nail problems, gallstones, irritability, liver problems, varicose veins, low body weight.. you get the idea.
You would think that these state of deficiencies would rarely occur today due to our over consumption of vegetable oils – but many of these oils contain rancid forms of these fatty acids especially when heated and exposed to oxygen.
Other abundant sources of unsaturated fatty acids are: Almonds, Flax Seeds, Hazelnuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds and Walnuts & of course.. Avocado, Milo, Olive, Quinoa, Soybeans, Brown Rice, Corn and Oats.
Not convinced yet?
Half an avocado contains 13mg of vitamin C – which is 32% of an adult’s RDI. Vitamin C is an amazing antioxidant, which aids in protecting cells from free radical damage (and to help keep your collagen in skin firm and elastic which is always a good thing!). If you are vegetarian then vitamin C is needed to absorb iron from plant food.
Thinking of getting pregnant? Women need to consume at least 400 micrograms of folate per day (Half an avocado contains 144 micrograms of folate 36% of the RDI for folate) in the lead up to (and 3 months after) conception.
As you can see, the benefits are numerous so you would be mad no to including a little avo in your diet, if you are new to this fruit, try it with a good squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper on your spinach toast (see breakfast recipes) and enjoy the benefits!
Want more info on its nutrient content break down per 100 grams? Check out http://www.avocado.org.au/nutrition/nutritional_info_panel.aspx