Avocados have broken out of the bowl—they’re no longer found only in guacamole! The bumpy-skinned fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit) has taken America by storm. The sales of Hass avocados, which make up more than 95 percent of all avocados consumed in the United States, soared to a record of nearly 1.9 billion pounds (or some 4.25 billion avocados) in 2014—four times as many as sold in 2000.
Fast food restaurants are now offering them with their sandwiches, avocado bars are cropping up in the west, even President Obama has tweeted about them, and this morning (at a time when television is frustratingly overfilled with elections, violence, crime, and the Chicago Cubs), as I watched a bit of the news before starting this post, the lowly guacamole was right up there in the morning news! There's a national avocado shortage right now and people are freaking out because they love their avocados so much.
So I thought it was good timing to get on the bandwagon and share my own thoughts and findings about one of my favorite foods. Yes, I love avocados, and have been using them for much more than just guacamole for a couple years—although guacamole is one of my favorite things!
10 Health Benefits of Avocado
In an earlier post I wrote about 10 health benefits to avocados. Let me briefly list them here:
- Benefits in pregnancy. Avocados are a natural source of folate which contains folic acid and is important for the development of a healthy fetus. Synthetic versions of folic acid are recommended for all women who are planning to get pregnant; eating avocados is a simpler and tastier option!
- Avocados are brimming with ‘good’ fats. You may have heard that you should avoid avocados due to their high fat content. This is not quite the case. While they are very high in fat (and calories) these are monounsaturated fats or ‘good fats’. They assist good heart health and help to lower blood pressure. The monounsaturated fats found in avocados can also help to reverse insulin resistance which can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
- Fantastic source of Vitamin E. Avocados are the fruit with the highest level of Vitamin E (yes avocados are a fruit!) Vitamin E is an essential vitamin and helps to maintain overall health. Vitamin E also has positive effects on heart disease, stroke, cancer prevention, and development of cataracts and is widely claimed to have anti-aging properties.
- Source of dietary fiber. Avocados contain both soluble and insoluble fiber meaning they help to reduce cholesterol levels by preventing re-absorption, help to maintain bowel function and can assist the body to avoid blood sugar spikes after meals.
- You know exactly what you’re getting when you buy an avocado. At the time of writing there are no genetically modified avocado crops. Avocados have such a thick skin that the inner fruit is protected from pesticides making the cost of organic avocados something you can easily bypass.
- Avocados are a ‘brain food’. Dr. Daniel G. Amen considers them one of the best brain-healthy foods that you can consume to help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Omega 3 fatty acids as well as Vitamin E are naturally occurring in avocados and have been clinically proven to stop Alzheimer’s disease from progressing and possibly even reversing the very early stages.
- Better nutrient absorption. Adding avocado to a meal has been found to increase the amount of carotenoids absorbed from that meal by up to 5 times. Carotenoids include beta carotene and lycopene which are important nutrients for good health. This increase is through to be due to nutrients and enzymes in avocados that reduce stomach inflammation and inflammation in the small intestine’s mucous lining. So you not only get the powerhouse of nutrients contained in the avocado but you get greater benefits from the foods you choose to eat with it.
- May aid in stroke prevention. The high folate levels that are beneficial to pregnant women may also play a part in reducing the incidence of stroke. Those who eat diets that contain a lot of folate have been shown to suffer stroke far less than those who eat less folate in their everyday diet.
- Reduction of cholesterol. One study has shown a 17% decrease in cholesterol levels for participants who ate increased amounts of avocado for just one week. Researchers believe this is due to beta-sitosterol which has previously been found to assist in lowering cholesterol levels.
- Protection for your eyes. Eating avocados can increase your levels of Lutein which protects against macular degeneration and the formation of cataracts. Further research is needed to determine exactly what it is that may assist in eye protection.
But there are many more benefits to eating avocado than those ten listed above. Let’s look at a few more:
- Good digestion—they soothe the intestine and help to keep it running smoothly. The fiber in avocados helps to ensure the smooth passage of food through the intestinal tract.
- Dental Care—consuming avocados helps to prevent bad breath, and have been connected with preventing oral cancer.
- Skin and Hair Care—the nutrient-dense benefits are fantastic for enriching skin that is dry, chapped or damaged.
- Healthy Eyes—the carotenoids in avocados protect your eyes against cataracts and eye diseases related to aging.
- Healthy Heart—they help to prevent atherosclerosis and reduce hypertension.
- Arthritis—the anti-inflammatory properties and wide range of phytochemicals, flavonoids, carotenoids, phytosterols, fatty alcohols, and omega-3 fatty acids make avacodos one of the best foods for getting rid of inflammation in tissues, joints, and muscles.
These are just a few of the reasons why Americans are eating billions of this tasty fruit every year. Of course one of the biggest reasons—at least in my thinking—is the scrumptious taste and flavor of avocados.
Ways to Use Guacamole on Your Body
Don’t think that the only way you can use guacamole is as an ingredient in a food item. There are dozens of ways to use avocados that you can find online. Here's a few.
- Avocado Face Mask—avocado is rich in fatty acids and makes a great natural moisturizer for dry of unbalanced skin. With winter coming on, this would be a great time for you to add this face mask to your winter beauty regimen. You can find the recipe here.
- Avocado Hair Oil—avocado oil can seal in moisture, get rid of the frizzies, and prevent split ends in your hair. It is rich in vitamins and protein. Try making this Avocado Hair Oil to use after washing and conditioning your hair. Apply a few drops and comb it through. You’ll love the smooth, soft, hydrated feel of your hair.
- DIY Avocado Foot Scrub—it’s not only the fruit of the avocado that is useful, you can make an exfoliating foot scrub using the peel and ground up pit. Maybe your feet are rough and calloused from summertime barefoot walking. Or maybe you have alligator soles year round and need to soften them. Try this DIY Avocado Foot Scrub recipe.
- Get rid of the bags under your eyes—Have you tried expensive creams and lotions and are still left with those ugly bags under your eyes? Simply peel an avocado, remove the pit, and slice quarter-inch crescents. Just lie down for about 20 minutes while placing a slice under each eye. (Don’t forget to use the remaining slices in your favorite recipes.)
- Avocado Baby Food—avocados are often called one of nature’s perfect foods because they are said to contain everything a person needs to survive. They are a great first food for baby due to their texture and creaminess. I gave my kids avocado long before many other “baby-appropriate” foods, and they loved them, and still do. You can find all the information you need for introducing avocados to your baby here.
The Many Ways to Eat Avocados
You knew I’d get to the good part about eating them. There are so many ways to use avocados in recipes that I can’t begin to cover all of them. You can do your own research online—believe me, you won’t be disappointed!
I want to give you a list of some food options, and then I’ll share three of my favorite recipes with you.
- Make vegan mayonnaise (or just use avocado in place of mayo.)
- Bake cheesy skillet pizza bread
- Make Banana Avocado Pudding
- Freeze it into popsicles
- Bake an egg in it
- Grill it
- Stuff it
- Make low-carb, dairy-free mint chocolate chip ice cream.
- Make guacamole hummus
- Blend it into pesto
- Use it as a base for cold soup
- Substitute it in creamy salad dressings
- Make frosting
- Turn it into cheese-less cheesecake
- Mix it in mashed potatoes
- Use it in risotto
- Eat avocado pancakes for breakfast
- Make fried avocado tacos
Now I want to share three of my favorite ways to eat quacamole.
Jackie’s Guaciled Eggs
I was trying to figure out something to bring to a pot-luck one time, and I thought deviled eggs would be very Paleo-friendly, and even those who weren’t sticking to a specific food plan would enjoy it. In comes my idea for Guaciled Eggs!
- 8 Boiled eggs – cut in half lengthwise and yolks removed. Here a post I did on my sneaky way to peel those annoying farm fresh eggs.
- 3-4 TB lemon juice
- 2 TS of dried mustard
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- About 1/4 cup of Guacamole (I use Wholly Guacamole or make your own)
I threw the egg yolks in the food processor and added the guacamole. I pulsed it a few times to combine and then added the lemon juice until it was the consistency I wanted. Then I threw in the spices, scooped the mixture in the egg whites, and added some paprika on top! It was delicious!!!
Fudgy Avocado Brownies
If you love chocolate as much as I do, then you are going to want to make these creamy, rich, decadent, thick, gooey, appetizing, exquisite, dense, heavenly, savory, succulent, sumptuous, yummy, fudgiest, chocolately brownies EVER! This is not my own recipe, but I highly recommend you try them. You will love them. Besides delicious avocados, you will use dark chocolate, coconut oil or butter, almond flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, and eggs. You can even top them with the avocado frosting recipe you can find online in the list above. This delicious recipe can be found here.
Baked Avocado and Egg
OK, I know the avocado brownie recipe was just a little bit hyped! You probably won’t make them every day. But this recipe for a breakfast dish using avocado and egg is something that would start you out with a healthy, delicious breakfast any day you try it. They are easy to prepare, and you can bake them while you are getting school lunches made or completing your morning chores.
- 1 avocado (per two people)
- 2 eggs
- 2 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
- A sprinkle of your favorite spicy spice (We love red pepper on ours)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- A little feta cheese (optional)
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut each avocado in half, removing the pit. Crack an egg into each avocado hole. If the hole looks too small, scoop out a bit of the fruit before adding the egg. Season each half with spicy spice, sea salt and pepper. Put the halves in a glass baking dish and bake approximately 15 minutes. Check to be sure the egg is done the way you prefer before removing from oven. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and feta cheese, and dig in.
If you’ve never tried eating avocado any way but in guacamole then it’s time you got creative. It’s one of the healthiest and tastiest things you can do for you and your family.
Holy Guacamole—Soooo delicious
- Natural Blaze