Super foods: avocado
Judith Woods looks at the health-giving benefits of some of our most common foods. This week: avocado
What's so super about it?
Avocados are brimming with essential nutrients, including potassium, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a so-called nutrient booster; when eaten with other foods, avocados enable the body to better absorb cancer-fighting nutrients, such as carotenoids, found in vegetables that include spinach and carrots.
Eating avocados has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and they are a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, including oleic acid, which offers significant protection against breast cancer.
The potassium content in avocados regulates blood pressure and helps guard against heart disease and strokes, as well as aiding digestion and helping the body flush out toxins.
The combination of B6, C and D, riboflavin and manganese found in avocados helps maintain a strong immune system. They are also a good source of vitamins A and E, which help protect against cancer. Avocados are high in omega-3, which reduces the risk of heart disease and lecithin, a type of fatty acid crucial for healthy nervous tissue.
Does avocado boost brainpower?
It won't increase your IQ, but it will help you make the most of what grey matter you've got. The potassium in avocados helps fight fatigue and depression, both of which reduce your ability to concentrate.
Will it make me look gorgeous?
Yes. Avocados are naturally high in fat, but it is mostly healthy, monounsaturated fat that is essential for plump, youthful skin. They also stimulate production of anti-wrinkle collagen, which, together with vitamin E, makes them the best food to eat for a healthy complexion.
How many calories?
High calorie. A large avocado can contain as many as 400 calories.
A Mars Bar has 230 calories, but it's not nearly as good for you.
How many do I need to eat?
For a mood-boost, eat a small avocado every day for a week or so. Otherwise, eat a half or whole avocado several times a week.
How should I eat it?
If you are on a diet, eating avocado scooped out of its skin will satisfy cravings for high-fat, unhealthy foods. Add avocado to salads, to maximise your nutrient intake.