THE LITTLE GREEN GEM

AVOCADO – technically, this little green gem is a fruit but whether you call it a fruit or vegetable, eating more avocados can have many health benefits, including a healthier heart, better skin, helping you lose weight and treating or avoiding serious health problems such as diabetes and arthritis. Not to mention they are delicious and can be used in many recipes.

avocado 

Cardiovascular Health
Avocado is a great source of monounsaturated oleic acid which is shown to both reduce dangerous low-density lipoprotein cholesterol at the same time as increasing the more beneficial high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Avocados contain a rich variety of heart nutrients including vitamin E for preventing cholesterol; folate for reducing dangerous homocysteine levels in the blood; potassium for regulating blood pressure; phytosterols for reducing cholesterol absorption; and dietary fiber to control blood sugar levels. 

Skin Benefits
The fats in avocado are also beneficial for improving your skin tone. They are vital for maintaining good moisture levels in the epidermal layer of your skin that make it look and feel soft and healthy. Omega-9 fats can help reduce skin redness and irritation and are involved in repairing damaged skin cells. Also, its antioxidant carotenoids and vitamin E protect your skin from wrinkles and other visible signs of aging with which helps guard against photo-aging from sun exposure. It also has vitamin C which is aids in the creation of elastin and collagen for maintaining your skin’s elasticity and firmness.

Weight Loss
Many people would be surprised that a food high in fat and calories would be considered good for weight loss. However research shows that monounsaturated fatty acids are used as slow burning energy than stored as body fat. This slow burning energy and the feeling of satiety or satisfied fullness that you get from eating an avocado is one of the reasons they are known for reducing hunger and appetite.

Diabetes
Having more monounsaturated fats in a diet is also beneficial for reducing high triglyceride levels and may help improve insulin function and blood glucose levels. Other health benefits of avocado that can help with the condition include its vitamin C for strengthening blood vessels and capillaries and improving immune function for diabetics. The high levels of potassium in avocados are another important nutritional factor for diabetics due to its role in maintaining a healthy heart and regulating blood sugar.

Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a painful disease of joint inflammation and soreness that affects millions of people. The anti-inflammatory avocado is one of the few foods consistently reported to reduce arthritic pain. Avocados contain high levels of monounsaturated fats, phytosterols and antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin C and a variety of carotenoids that may help with reducing the inflammation that leads to arthritis as well as just muscle soreness in athletes.

Try using a mashed up avocado instead of mayonnaise on your next sandwich, chop it up on a salad, slice it up as a snack or check out this great Summer Chicken Salad recipe.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
2 cups (cooked) chicken breasts, shredded (you can use a rotisserie chicken as well)
2 medium avocados, diced and mashed (I used a potato masher)
Juice of 1 medium lime
1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Shred the chicken apart until you have 2 cups of chicken shredded – set aside in large bowl; Dice the avocados into medium-sized pieces and mash; mix with 2 T of the lime juice; season with salt & pepper to taste; add green onions, cilantro, and yogurt – mix well; add chicken and gently mix only until coated with dressing. Serve right away or chill for a while before serving. (This could be served alone, inside pita bread, tortilla, sandwich bread or inside crisp lettuce cups)

Avocados – the possibilities are endless and the benefits are priceless.

 

Paula Jamieson

Certified Fitness Trainer & Fitness Nutritionist

 

 

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