If you’re like me, you might not remember seeing a lot of avocados in Canada when you were growing up, but the thick-skinned green fruit has become fairly ubiquitous in North America over the last couple of decades. Most of us have heard that while they may be high in calories, avocados are very healthy because they’re full of “good fat.” Here are a few nutritional facts about avocados and some ideas on how you can work a little more avocado into your life:
Avocados are full of monounsaturated fat
These are those so-called “good fats” and they’re what make avocados so creamy and delicious. Monounsaturated fats have been shows to have all kinds of good effects on your body. Studies show that they can reduce your cholesterol level, lower your risk of heart disease and breast cancer, and even encourage weight loss.
Avocados contain carotenoids and help you process them too
Avocados are a source of lutein, a carotenoid that helps your body protect itself against certain eye diseases. This is good in itself, but if you eat avocados with other carotenoid-rich foods like sweet potato, carrots, or spinach, the monounsaturated fat in the avocado will help your body better absorb those carotenoids, which are fat, rather than water, soluable. So, chop some avocado up and put it in your next spinach salad or serve your next bowl of guacamole with carrot sticks instead of chips.
Avocados are a good source of fibre
Despite that creamy texture, avocados are a good source of dietary fibre. Like other good sources of fibre, this gives avocados an added edge in combating heart disease.
Avocado can act as a fat replacement in cooking
If you’re trying to cut down on animal fats in your diet, look into what recipes will work with avocado used in place of butter or cream. Avocados can be used in place of cream cheese as a spread on bagles, or in deviled eggs as a substitute for mayo, as well in salad dressings, puddings, cream pies, and mousses. And that trendy phenomenon of avocado toast? It’s usually just mashed avocado with some rock salt and, if you’re fancy, a poached egg on top.
The fat content in an avocado also has great moisturizing abilities, making it an ideal natural beauty product. Spread it directly on dry patches on your skin (wash it off after 10 to 15 minutes), use it as a facial mask, or make a DIY hair mask by mashing avocado with olive oil and raw egg.
Don’t forget the guacamole!
Guacamole is such a treat and it’s so easy to make. I usually mash a couple of avocados and add a little bit of chopped onion, a dash of chili powder, and salt, lime juice, and cilantro to taste. That’s all you need to make a party-worthy dip that lets the flavour of the avocado really shine.