Avocados

Health Benefits of Avocados - From a Health and Beauty Perspective

Avocados
Avocados

Avocados grow on a tall evergreen tree, which is known as the Persea Americana. There are many different varieties of avocados such as Fuerte, Gwen, Hass, Pinkerton, Reed and Zutano. Depending on what variety, they can range from 8 ounces to 3 pounds in weight.

Avocados are picked while they are still hard and green, and as they ripen the pebbly outer skin will turn black and the edible flesh on the inside softens, but remains a yellow-green color. Due to the pebbly skin and the similar shape of a pear, avocados are often referred to as the alligator pear. But they are nothing to be afraid of even though they are high in calories and fat because they do not contribute to unwanted weight gain.

Nutrition Information

You may have heard that avocados are high in potassium, but did you know that they contain up to 60% more than the average banana. They are also high in dietary fiber and loaded with antioxidant vitamins such as lutein, beta-carotene, C and E, and also contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, H, and K, as well as minerals such as copper, phosphorus, manganese, iron and zinc.

Avocados contain all the amino acids that the body needs to build its own protein, which makes them a perfect substitute for meat. Digesting amino acids is also much easier on the body than digesting meat because the body has to first break down the protein before it can use it. A lot of the proteins found in meat are also degraded while cooking and therefore, your body cannot use them. On top of that, meat is high in unhealthy saturated fats which have been linked to many serious diseases.

Avocados have no cholesterol, but they are high in calories and in healthy fats. 1 medium sized avocado contains about 306 calories, and about 91% of those calories come from the fats that are contained in the avocado. This is enough to scare many away from eating avocados, but the truth is that avocados contain the good fats known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are heart healthy fats, which have many health benefits to them.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of avocados are numerous, as they can basically help you to eliminate most diseases when combined with a healthy living food diet. Living foods are raw foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, nuts and seeds that still have all their enzymes intact.

One of the main benefits of avocados is that the healthy fats can help you to better absorb fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Without healthy fats these vitamins cannot be absorbed into the body, as they depend on the fats to transport them throughout the body for absorption.

Cardiovascular Health

Avocados are extremely good for the heart, as the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help to lower the cholesterol levels in order to prevent plaque build up in the vessels and arteries. In addition they will help to maintain the HDL levels, which is the good cholesterol that your body needs. This in turn can help you to prevent high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, which are a major cause of heart disease and stroke.

The potassium in avocados is also effective in helping to regulate the blood pressure as well as the heart rhythm. By eating avocados on a daily basis you can reduce your risk of stroke by 40%. More on the Health Benefits of Avocados for the Heart.

Prevent Cancer

The fats that are found in animal proteins have been linked to colon and other cancers, but there is no link between cancer and the fat that is found in avocados. Quite to the contrary, the healthy fats in avocados can help to prevent cancer by keeping your system clean. This is due to the high amount of antioxidants in the fats, which eliminate toxins at a deep cellular level. Studies have shown that these fats can help you to prevent oral, colon, breast and prostate cancer.

The antioxidants that are found in avocados are vitamin E and carotenoids such as lutein, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. Avocados are also rich in oleic acid which can prevent the mutation of healthy cells, and therefore, are able to reduce the risk of all types of cancers. Read more...

Diabetes

Diabetics usually have higher levels of triglycerides which can worsen the symptoms of diabetes. Avocados can help to reduce these levels so that the symptoms may be reduced as well. In addition the healthy fats in avocados contain an essential hormone known as adiponectin which helps to speed up the absorption of glucose, thus it helps to regulate the blood sugar levels.

Eye Disease

The antioxidants such as lutein and beta-carotene, are essential for good eye health. They can help to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

Arthritis

Antioxidants are also essential for helping to reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis. Gradually overtime they can help to relieve painful joints as well.

Weight Loss

You may or may not be surprised to discover that avocados can help you to lose weight, despite their high calorie and fat content. This is due to the healthy fats which help to make you feel full faster and keep you feeling full longer. Therefore you are less likely to opt for junk foods and other empty calorie foods between your meals.

The fat in avocados contain adiponectin, which is a hormone that helps you to burn fat cells rather than muscle cells. Therefore avocados are essential for weight loss, as muscles can also help you to burn more fat tissues.

Healthy Bones and Teeth

Avocados can help your body to better absorb calcium. As a result your bones and teeth will become stronger, and thus you can prevent cavities and osteoporosis.

Bad Breath

Avocados can help to wash the mouth and remove the compositions that contribute to a coated tongue and bad breath.

Anti-Aging

The high amount of antioxidants help to eliminate free radicals from your body so that you can begin to feel younger from the inside out. They help to clean your body on the inside so that your organs can function better, and thereby prevent age related diseases so that you can live a long and healthy life.

Beauty Benefits of Avocados

Avocados can be eaten as well as applied topically in order to obtain many beauty benefits. The oil is very beneficial for the hair and skin, and is widely used in lotions, cleansers, conditioners and lip balms.

Healthy Skin

The antioxidants in avocados not only clean the inside of your body, but they also work to clean your skin as well. Avocados contain an amino acid known as Glutamine which removes harmful toxins and other wastes from your skin, so that it can remain clean and maintain a healthy shine.

Mashed avocados can be applied to your skin, including your face to help remove dirt, toxins and other residue. Simply apply the avocado and leave on your skin for about 20 to 30 minutes before rinsing off.

Avocado oil is able to penetrate past the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) and deep into the dermis, (the inner layer of the skin) to clean and moisturize your skin. In addition, the oil helps to promote new cell growth, which in turn will soften and moisturize the skin to prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Avocado oil can help to relieve skin conditions such as psoriasis by applying the oil to the affected area.

Healthy Hair

Mashed avocados can also be used as a hair conditioner to reduce frizz and restore a healthy shine to your hair. The oils help to make it softer and strengthen it so that it doesn't break as easy. Massage a mashed avocado into your hair and leave it in for about 20 minutes before rinsing. Then wash with your regular shampoo and conditioner.

Natural Sunscreen

The oils in avocados not only help to protect your skin from the rays of the sun to prevent sunburn, but they can also help to relieve the pain of a sunburn. In addition they clean and replenish your skin, so that the skin cells will remain healthy and not mutate and become cancerous when exposed to the sun.

How to Buy

In order to ensure that you do not buy bruised avocados, buy them while they are still green, and let them ripen in your home. The bruising is normally caused from people picking them up and squeezing them to see how ripe they are. You will know that they are ripe, once the outer shell begins to turn a darker color. To prevent the flesh from bruising, gently squeeze the ends of the avocado to test their ripeness.

How to Eat

Avocados are great to add to just about any dish. The most popular use of avocados is in guacamole with tomatoes, onions, cilantro and fresh lemon juice. But they are just as good in wraps, sandwiches, salads, smoothies or even by themselves. Simply slice the avocado in half lengthwise and gently twist it apart. Remove the pit, and eat it right out of the shell.

Further Reading:

Avocados, A Cholesterol Lowering Food
Avocados are beneficial for the overall health of the body as they are a cholesterol lowering food. They help to lower triglycerides, reduce cholesterol absorption and raise the good cholesterol levels.

The Health Benefits of Avocados For The Heart
A short list of some of the health benefits of avocados for the heart. The healthy fats in avocados can help to reduce high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which in turn can prevent heart disease.

Can Avocados Prevent Cancer
There are several substances that help the avocados prevent cancer: vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. Avocados not only help to clean the body, but they also help to maintain both physical and mental energies.