Avocado (also referred to as alligator pear) is one of the most versatile paleo fruits in the planet. It is used as a meat substitute in salads and vegetarian sandwiches. It is the main ingredient of the popular Mexican dip guacamole. It is used as filling for Americanized versions of sushi, such as California Rolls. There are avocado-based desserts, milkshakes and ice cream. OK, ok… most of this is not paleo but one thing is sure – Avocado is 100% paleo!
Adding to the avocado’s versatility are its numerous health benefits, which are the following:
- High in nutrients – Avocado contains huge amounts of 25 nutrients, including vitamins A and C and iron and potassium. It is also rich in the antioxidants lutein and glutathione.
- Keeps the heart healthy – Avocado is a good source of vitamin B6 and folic acid. These two substances prevent heart disease by decreasing the body’s homocysteine levels (homocysteine is a known heart disease trigger).
- Keeps blood pressure in check – Potassium prevents hypertension by decreasing the level of sodium in the body.
- Reduces free radicals in the body – Avocado contains phytonutrients such as polyphenols and flavonoids. These substances eliminate toxins and free radicals from the body.
- Keeps your eyes healthy – Lutein helps prevent several eye disorders, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- Lowers blood sugar – Avocado is high on monosaturated fat (“good” fat), which lower the body’s blood sugar level.
- Prevents birth defects – A cup of avocado is equivalent to about 23% of the recommended daily folic acid intake. Pregnant women should therefore eat avocados regularly to prevent birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.
- Prevents stroke – Aside from preventing birth defects, folic acid also decreases the risk of stroke.
- Prevents cancer – The oleic acid in avocado helps reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer.
- Eliminates bad breath – Avocado’s high fiber content acts like a “broom” which sweeps away impurities from the intestinal tract (bad breath is actually caused by a toxin-laden intestinal tract).
- Improves the body’s nutrient absorption – Eating avocados enables the body to absorb five times more carotenoids (fat-soluble nutrients that have been proven to reduce the risk of cancer) like beta-carotene and lycopene.
- Takes care of the skin – Avocado oil hydrates dry skin and relieves psoriasis (an autoimmune disorder that makes the skin thick, scaly and red).
There are many ways of enjoying avocado. Below are some suggestions:
- Add avocado slices to omelet or scrambled eggs. Avocado slices will make your cholesterol-laden omelet or scrambled eggs healthier.
- Create a healthier substitute for mayonnaise by mixing together mashed avocado, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Instead of snacking on hamburgers, go for avocado slices wrapped with turkey or roast beef slices.
- In a bowl, combine cubed avocado, chopped onion, cilantro, jalapeño, tomatoes and a squeeze of lime juice. Stuff this mixture in rolled-up paleo tortillas.
- Add a scoop of guacamole to your pinto bean chili with ground beef.
- Make your green salad healthier by adding diced avocados and mangoes to your green salad with tomatoes, shredded carrots, broccoli and bell peppers.
- An avocado smoothie is a tasty and healthier alternative to colas, slushy milkshakes and fudge-laden sundaes. In a blender, mix together cubed avocado, pitted cherries, mango, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, banana, ice cubes and coconut water. Blend until smooth.
- Make your egg-white omelet healthier by adding avocado slices, sautéed peppers, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini and sprouts.
- Want a healthy spicy salsa for your fish or chicken? Mix together diced avocado, papaya, cilantro and green chili. Spread over your fish or chicken.
- Want an elegant and healthy lunch? Combine shredded crabs, cubed avocado, salt and pepper. Serve over baby greens.
- Want a healthy breakfast? Make a paleo/kale burrito that is filled with scrambled eggs, wilted greens, salsa and avocado slices.