Avocado is not only a delicious fruit but also an excellent functional food, useful for our body and with multiple properties.
Avocado is a tropical fruit belonging to the Lauraceae family, a species from Central America already cultivated in 500 A.D and now it is easily found also in the Italian market, with valuable nutritional properties, which is particularly suitable for nutritional plans aimed at well-being and slimming.
Let’s discover together the benefits of avocado and some quick recipes to take advantage of this excellent nutrient.
Properties and benefits of avocado
A healthy diet and lifestyle can help prevent and counteract the progression of important pathologies related to advancing age. Avocado is a healthy food and the vitamins, minerals and good fats present inside it help to prevent various diseases and keep our body in an optimal state. Here is a list of the best benefits and properties of avocado:
- Rich in nutrients. Avocado is an important source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as magnesium and potassium. It contains high levels of monounsaturated fats, so-called good fats, which do not make you fat but are good for your health. Eating healthy fats promotes skin regeneration, improves the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, and supports the immune system.
- Beneficial for the heart and kidneys. The high amount of potassium present in avocado guarantees the regularity of the heartbeat and the balance of fluids in our body. The latter is also important for the proper functioning of the urogenital apparatus.
- Great for eyesight. Avocado contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals present in the eye tissue. These provide antioxidant protection to minimize damage, protecting our eyes even from UV light. Monounsaturated fatty acids found in avocados also support the absorption of other fat-soluble antioxidants such as beta-carotene. Consequently, the presence of avocado in our diet can help reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration typical of senescence.
- Useful to prevent osteoporosis. Half avocado provides about 18% of the daily value of vitamin K. The latter is often neglected but is essential for bone health. Taking a sufficient amount of vitamin K safeguards the health of our bones by optimizing the absorption of calcium.
- It combats the risk of depression. Avocado is a good source of folate and recent studies have found a connection between low levels of this nutrient and depression. In fact, folate helps to prevent the accumulation of homocysteine, a substance that can compromise the circulation and the supply of nutrients to the brain. Several studies have linked the excess of homocysteine with cognitive dysfunction, depression and the production of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, the neurotransmitters that regulate mood, sleep and appetite.
- Good for digestion. Avocado is rich in fiber. Eating foods containing natural fiber can help prevent constipation, maintain the integrity of the digestive tract, and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- Natural detoxifier. Adequate fibers promote regular bowel movements, which are crucial for the excretion of toxins through bile and feces. This helps the body maintain a healthy bacterial balance. In addition to reducing the levels of inflammation along the digestive tract.
- Barrier against chronic diseases. Monounsaturated fatty acids present in avocados can be useful in the prevention of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Proper fiber intake can reduce the risk of stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and some gastrointestinal diseases, and can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity and increase weight loss for people with obesity.
Recipes with avocado
Avocado can be integrated into our healthy diet in a variety of ways. Soft avocados, for example, produce delicious guacamole, while those that are less soft are great to slice and add to a salad or sandwich.
Here are some ideas to use avocado more often in our healthy diet:
- Make classic guacamole with avocado, onions, lime and coriander
- Add thin slices of avocado and wild salmon on toast: the famous avocado toast!
- Pair it with scrambled eggs for a super energetic breakfast
- Blend it with a little olive oil and lemon juice and replace it with mayonnaise in salads
- Integrate it into smoothies or centrifuges for a source of good fat
- Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and taste it directly from the peel.
There are so many ways to use avocado, don’t be afraid to experiment!
Avocado: useful tips
To know how ripe an avocado is, you need to gently press the peel. If it is completely hard, the avocado needs to ripen further, while if it gives in to the pressure it is ready to be consumed.
If you are looking for a way to keep your avocados fresh for as long as possible, refrigerate them until you’re ready to enjoy them. If you want them to ripen more quickly, keep them in a paper bag with an apple.
Avocado is just one of the many functional foods useful for our body. Each person, however, needs an ad hoc food plan focused on its own characteristics and nutritional needs. Book your free nutritional consultation with our expert nutritionists!