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Avocado: Earth’s magical fruit

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PHUKET: Returning back to the island from a holiday in Chiang Mai with five kilograms of Thai avocado is truly a nutritionist’s version of bringing souvenirs home.

This fruit is without doubt at the top of my ‘favorite foods’ list for health and taste. Right now, all avocado fans in Thailand are blessed as the Thai avocado season is in full swing and they have been ripening well.

Despite keeping some of these avocados next to bananas in a box, so far they all have turned out well, taste amazing and are a fraction of the cost of the imported varieties. So it is time to stock up, enjoy them now and freeze as much as possible, guacamole style, while the good times last.

Health Benefits of avocados

What do the clinical studies tell us? A simple PubMed search will deliver a vast array of clinical studies on the health benefits of avocados.

The result of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey [NHANES] 2001–2008 says that: “Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults.

“Avocado consumers tend to consume significantly more of key shortfall nutrients—dietary fiber, vitamins K, and E, potassium, and magnesium—in their diet than non-avocado consumers.”

Good for your heart

The high carb, low fat standard western diet full of breads, pasta, starchy carbohydrates, which is still to some degree recommended by many conventional nutritionists, is in my opinion a disaster for most people. Good fats like those in avocado are essential to health and critical to every diet as agreed by the following finding:

“Studies suggest that avocado-enriched diets have a positive effect on blood lipids compared to low-fat, high carbohydrate diets or the typical American diet.”

Inflammation is slowly getting recognized as being at the root of many diseases like heart disease and the humble avocado could play a significant role in putting out those fires.

“Avocado oil decreased hs-CRP levels [an inflammatory marker], indicating that inflammatory processes were partially reversed,” the same report said.

Will not make you fat

Fortunately many people today have come to accept that a low fat diet is a disaster for health. One reason is that fats make hormones and are an integral part of the cell wall so they are our building blocks.

Fats do not have to make you fat, on the contrary they can help you lose weight by helping fat loss hormones and through simply making you feel full and satisfied after eating, unlike eating sugar and too many processed carbohydrates such as breads, pastas that convert to sugar quickly making you feel hungry soon after eating.

According to a key study, “avocado consumers have higher HDL-cholesterol or good cholesterol, lower risk of metabolic syndrome, lower weight, BMI, and waist circumference than non-consumers.”

Additionally, “the subjects did not gain weight when avocados were added to their habitual diet.”

So if you want to reduce that waistline then do yourself a favor and add an avocado to your meal each day.

Boost brain power

This may be news to many people but David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, revealed the following important information in last January’s issue of Scientific American magazine:

“The brain thrives on a fat-rich, low carbohydrate diet, which unfortunately is relatively uncommon in human populations today.

“Mayo Clinic researchers showed that individuals favoring carbohydrates in their diets had a remarkable 89 per cent increased risk of developing dementia in contrast to those whose diets contained the most fat. Having the highest level of fat consumption was actually found to be associated with an incredible 44 per cent reduction in risk of developing dementia.”

“‘Good’ fats include monounsaturated fats, found abundantly in olive oil, peanut oil, hazelnuts, avocados and pumpkin seeds, and polyunsaturated fats both omega 3 and omega 6, which are found in flaxseed oil, chia seeds, marine algae oil and walnuts.”

So hopefully I have sold you on the benefits of a daily avocado if you were not already a convert.

Some ways to enjoy this amazing high fat fruit

  • Try a breakfast with avocado, a handful of nuts and seeds which have ideally been soaked in water overnight to make them more digestible plus add some fruit for a perfect start to the day.

  • A salad is lacking something without avocado.

  • Avocado makes great salad dressings with the other great fat olive oil plus some lemon, sea salt, pepper, mustard and garlic.

  • Make green smoothies with avocado by adding green vegetables and some other fruit. A pinch of the non-sugar herb stevia will make it even sweeter.

  • Make your own healthy guacamole with cut vegetables as a great appetizer.

  • Or simply a great snack is half an avocado with lemon, pinch of sea salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

— Craig Burton

 

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