Read more about the incredible, edible avocado below, then scroll on for an easy face mask recipe you can whip up in minutes…
By now, I think most of us can agree: Avocados are awesome. Few fruits or vegetables have experienced such a dramatic PR shift over the past two decades, in fact, the rise of the avocado can only be compared to that of the “incredible, edible” egg. Once believed to be the basis of bad health, avocados spent a solid decade unfairly blacklisted from our plates. Imagine all the guacamole we were missing out on! Now, avocado toast is as commonplace in our diets as a bowl of cereal once was, and for good reason: Avocados are nutritional powerhouses. They satisfy without sugar, keep us feeling full, and best of all, the healthy fats they were once maligned for are now understood to make our skin glow and hair shine from the inside out. Today we’re celebrating these unique fruits by diving into what makes them great.
What exactly are avocados?
Botanically, the fruit of the avocado tree (aka the avocado) is a large berry with one large seed and is thought to have originated in the Tehuacan Valley in Puebla, Mexico up to 15,000 years ago. The fruit ripens on the tree, but only matures when separated, either by being harvested or dropping naturally, so plan ahead and choose hard avocados at the grocery store — these are most likely the freshest and will likely ripen after a few days on your countertop. It’s no secret that avocados have experienced a boon in popularity over the past several years (the per capita consumption in the US increased from 1 pound to 7 pounds in the span of six years) — so much so that it’s difficult to believe they were once victim to bad PR due to their high levels of healthy fats.
What are the benefits of avocados?
The low-fat diet craze of the ‘80s and ‘90s painted avocados as fat bombs akin to hamburgers and, well, anything else that featured any semblance of fat, healthy, natural, or otherwise (remember how everyone stopped eating eggs at one point? Same thing). At the time, it was thought that fat content in food equaled fat in the body, it wasn’t yet understood that different types of fats exist with different functions and different effects on the body. Trans fats and refined polyunsaturated fats? Those are the ones to avoid, most often found in processed foods, but the monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, nuts, and — you guessed it — avocados, has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and could even help with weight management. Rich in monounsaturated fats, avocado is thought to help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially helping to reverse insulin resistance, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and reduce the risk of stroke. Avocados are also rich in fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K, which impact metabolic function and keep skin looking healthy. The high levels of fibre present in avocados also contributes to all the benefits listed above, along with keeping the gut healthy and aiding with digestion. Avocados are one of the richest sources of protein of any fruit, with the lowest sugar content, making them ideal for smoothies and post-workout nutrition, as they won’t cause blood sugar to spike and keep you feeling full and satisfied through to your next meal.
How to I use avocados?
A better question: How don’t you use avocados? Whether applied topically as a moisturizing hair or skin mask or tossed into a smoothie, avocados lend themselves to pretty much all areas of life! Let’s start with breakfast, shall we? Toss them into the afore mentioned smoothie as a satisfying, low-sugar alternative to your usual smoothie banana. Add some avocado to a savory bowl of oats, or use a scoop of guacamole in place of cheese in your next omelette. Lunch options? Sure, you could do everyone’s favorite, avocado toast, or you could roast a sweet potato and toss some avocado on top with a bit of homemade salsa (pro tip: make your own salsa, it’ll cost you pennies per serving and is to much better). Dinner? Add some avocado to salads or in place of cheese wherever you may usually use cheese. Don’t forget dessert! Avocado is easily whipped into chocolate mousse with the addition of cocoa powder and a bit of coconut sugar. For outside nourishment, mash ripe avocado together with a few simple ingredients for a super moisturizing hair or face mask. Not sure where to start? Try the simple recipe below to rejuvenate summer-parched skin:
Avocado-Honey Face Mask
Lactic acid in yogurt gently sloughs away dead skin while avocado and honey moisturize summer-parched skin
1 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tsp raw honey
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix/mash together until well blended. Use a brush or your fingers to apply mixture to face, avoiding the eye area. Relax for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with cool water and pat dry. Follow up with your favorite oil or moisturizer.
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This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.