Avocado is a very nutritious and thankfully common food in most households today. Growing up in country Australia, I hadn’t even seen an avocado up until about thirty years ago. Avocado was not a common food for us. That’s not to say it wasn’t around, just that it wasn’t a typical food in our diet, which was typical of the average ‘Aussie’ at that time. It has certainly become a more popular addition on the grocery list over the last twenty years.
There are over 80 varieties of avocado these days, and the Hass is probably the best known variety. It was discovered in 1935 by Rudolph Hass. A single fully matured tree can produce as many as 500 avocados. That’s impressive! It is thought that the avocado first came from Mexico around 5,000 BC. There have been seeds of the avocado found buried with Incan mummies that date back to 750BC.
With all the numerous fad diets, and particularly over the last two decades, as the ‘fat conscious’ diet fads took over, avocados were cast aside as they are a high fat fruit. Like the egg and cholesterol, a little information can definitely be a bad thing!
Avocados do contain large amounts of fat, the good fats, with around 80% of calories coming from the fat content. There are approx 28gm of fat in an average sized avocado. The fats in avocados are mostly monosaturated fats which are healthy fats and good for our body and our heart. All fats contain the same calorie levels, but the different fats have very different effects on our body. Over half the fats in avocados are from oleic acid – omega 9 fatty acid, as well as having linoleic acid – omega 6, and alpha-linoleic acid – omega 3 fatty acid.
The fats in avocados are very beneficial for any inflammatory states in your body, and will also support the nervous system and heart.
There are many nutrients in avocados, and so we consider them a nutrient dense food, and certainly a food that you can eat on a daily basis.
There are approx. 4gm of protein and 10-14gm of fibre in an avocado. There are more that 14 essential vitamins and minerals, there are vitamins C, B vitamins, vitamin K, folate, vitamin E, calcium, iron, selenium, manganese, copper and zinc, magnesium and potassium to list a few.
One avocado has as much potassium as 2 to 3 bananas. Half an avocado contains around 1/4 of your RDA for vitamin C, and 1/4 of your RDA for vitamin K. They also contain more folate that any other fruit, so a great food for pregnant women, so they can keep their levels of vitamin K and folate up. Also there are quite good levels of B6 in avocados which is know to help reduce nausea associated with pregnancy.
Not only are avocados an excellent food to eat, the oil in avocados is enormously beneficial when used on the skin. Softening and nourishing, it is easily absorbed into the skin giving it more elasticity. It is suitable for all skin types and in particular it is really beneficial for dry skin, and for mature skin. Great to use on your face as a night moisturiser, as it allows the skin to breath while nourishing it.
To get the most out of your avocado, when you cut into your avocado, do make sure you get all the dark green fruit that is closest to the skin. This is where the high levels of caratanoids are. Scrape with a teaspoon to get all that goodness.
Do yourself a favour and eat avocados. Your body will thank you.