Avocado is a fruit quite unlike any other, in appearance, texture and flavor. Originating in the tropics of Central America, nowadays avocado is cultivated in large scale in Mexico, Chile, and the United States, but its popularity is global due to its delicious flavor and nutritional value. Avocado is widely regarded as a delicious addition to salads or sandwiches, but the fruit offers so many fantastic health benefits, it would be a shame not to also make use of some of these other uses for avocado that you may not have tried yet:
1. Avocado spread
Avocado is high in monounsaturated fats, which are considered 'good' fats that can help balance cholesterol levels; plus, avocados do not contain cholesterol as they are from a plant source. The smooth, creamy texture of the fruit means the pulp can be mashed and spread as a heart-healthy alternative to butter, cream cheese, or mayonnaise.
2. Face mask
Avocado is an excellent source for both vitamins E and C (ascorbic acid), which is rare; these are important for skin health and carry antioxidants properties. Studies have found that the topical application of mashed avocado to the skin can help nourish and hydrate it, as well as contribute to the reparation of UV sun damage in the skin to minimize the appearance of aging.
3. Baby food
Avocados contain numerous vitamins, and they're also a significant and little-known source of potassium, containing a 60% higher content than bananas. Potassium is essential for healthy cell, tissue, and organ functioning in the body, and it builds proteins for healthy growth. In terms of nutrients it is therefore an excellent choice for baby food, especially as the fruit's soft texture means it can be easily mashed and fed.
4. Avocado desserts
The mild, almost creamy flavor of avocado means the fruit lends itself to desserts just as well as savory dishes. Although previously unheard of in North America or Europe, avocado desserts are becoming popular, especially as an ice cream or icing flavor, a fruit salad ingredient, and even as a pie filling for this reason. Avocado may also be a good dessert alternative to chocolate or cream for weight-loss; its fiber content creates a feeling of prolonged satiety, and studies have shown avocado to have a healthy energy density that could assist with weight loss when the fruit is consumed on a regular basis.
5. Hair treatment
Avocado oil is taken from the pulp of the fruit, and it is more penetrating than many commercial oils. Its high content in vitamins and antioxidants makes avocado a very hydrating fruit, and can have a rejuvenating effect when applied as a treatment to dry, damaged hair.
The high vitamin and mineral content of avocado, its versatility in terms of texture, its flavor, and its medicinal properties characterize the fruit as something of a super food. In order to choose ripe avocados, pick out the ones that yield to gentle pressure in your hands. Look for ways to increase your avocado use, whether this means topically on your skin and hair, or incorporating it into your diet, in sweet or savory form.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency, Healthy Hair Care and the Environment
- Columbia University, Avocados are fatty - are they healthy?
- Government of Canada, Harvest of the Month
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects, 2013