For radiant summer-ready skin and bundles of energy, bring out your avocados…

FI-health and beauty- avocadoAs spring rolls around, avocados come into season, and everyone seems to go a tad crazy for this special alligator pear. Eateries begin adding it to their dishes, supermarkets start stocking them by the crateful and we in the office can be found daydreaming about the delicious dishes we are planning on devouring. As a self-certified avocado connoisseur, I can assure any sceptic that with their creaminess and ease of preparation, avocados can bring a deliciously unique flavour and a wealth of goodness to any dish, with hardly any work at all.

The avocado tree

Technically a fruit, but treated more like a vegetable (like tomatoes), avocados are rather renowned for having a high fat content. Whilst we don’t recommend eating them by the barrelful, they are still good for you – inside and out.

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So, we’ve been told avocado is now good for us. But why? Here comes the science…

Despite having something of a bad reputation due to their fat content (rather like our friend coconut oil), there’s no denying that avocados are good for you, are here’s why.

Avocados contain a diverse range of fats, mainly the monounsaturated kind. Modern research into types of fats has revealed that the monounsaturated oleic acid fat which is abundantly present in avocado (and also found in olive oil) reduces one’s risk of heart disease and helps with the running of the cardiovascular system.

In 2013, scientists discovered that Americans who ate avocados had, overall, a better quality diet and higher nutrient levels than those who didn’t. Whilst it’s difficult to say whether these people were healthier solely because of the avocado, we can optimistically call it a gateway food to a happier and healthier lifestyle.

On a strange (and serious) note, people who have a severe allergy to latex should take care when eating avocado for the first time as they may experience a reaction.

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What most people don’t know is that an avocado actually contains more potassium than banana. 

We love avocados

They also contain a broad range of other nutrients, known for helping lead a happy and healthy lifestyle. In terms of your daily recommended intake, if you were to munch your way through an average sized California Hass avocado (160g), you’d be consuming:

• 43% of your fiber – a much researched nutrient most known for helping you feel fuller for longer.

• 33% of your copper – a mineral which builds strong tissue, produces energy and maintains blood volume levels.

• 25% of your vitamin B6 – some of the many benefits include red blood cell production, a healthy brain and nervous system, liver detoxification and metabolising carbohydrates.

• 21% vitamin C – one of the most popular vitamins, it keeps the brain healthy, and is also necessary for producing collagen, without which we would literally fall apart.

• 22% of your vitamin E – a very powerful antioxidant which helps protect against damage. Researchers also believe that aging related diseases are associated with a lack of vitamin E in ones diet.

• 37% of your vitamin K – assists with blood clotting.

• 22% of your potassium – a healthy kidney and blood pressure maintenance are the benefits of consuming this mineral.

• 45% of your pantothenic acid – necessary for breaking down and storing fats and, most importantly, energy production.

If that’s not enough, there’s also lutein, which is good for your eyes, and folate, which is crucial for cell repair and especially important during pregnancy.

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Face Mask
Thanks to its potassium and vitamin B and E content, avocado isn’t just great for devouring, it’s also great to slather on your skin to keep it supple and moisturised. Mashed up avocado can be left on the face for approximately 15 minutes, for a fresh and rejuvenating face mask which also helps to calm puffy eyes. Afterwards, rinse your face with warm water and bask in the glory of your beautiful face. This face mask is particularly beneficial if you’ve spent the day in the sun as it is great at boosting the body’s collagen production and soothing sunburnt skin. Unlike products you’d find in a bottle, avocado oil is rapidly absorbed by the skin and doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue.

Avocado face mask

Scalp Treatment
Similar to coconut oil, avocado oil is also great for nourishing dry hair. Although my hair is rather dry due to the amount of heat that I apply to it, I also suffer from a rather dry scalp. Rather than purchasing industrial strength shampoos and conditioners, which work by removing the flaky layer of your scalp, I prefer a more natural approach, to repair rather than remove. Before washing my hair, massaging avocado oil into my scalp helps soften up the skin and drastically decreases the amount of dandruff. Then, after waiting 30 minutes for the avocado oil to have worked its magic, I simply wash my hair as normal. Et voila, a beautiful head.

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Avocados contain anti-inflammatory properties due to containing carotenoids.

Avocados are native to tropical America and avocado is the name of both the fruit and the tree which they grow on.

Avocados can be brown, green, purple, red, and maroon.

Avocado oil promotes collagen production, which keeps skin moisturised and wrinkle free.

 

Avocado infographic

More from this series:
Food for health and beauty part 1: Coconut oil 

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