10 Amazing Things You Might Not Know About Avocados
From toast toppings to game day guac, avocados have long been a favourite with families across Canada. Recently, however, these delicious green treats have exploded in popularity, thanks in part to their much-publicised health benefits.
Even though they’ve become the poster-child for healthy eating, there’s probably a good chance that you’ve never given them much thought. That’s all about to change though as we give you a crash course in avocado history. From fun facts to incredible health benefits, here are 10 things you didn’t know about these nutritional superstars.
Avocados are actually fruits
You may be tempted to think of them as vegetables thanks to their green colour and savoury flavour, but did you know that avocados are actually classified as fruits? In fact, in botanical terms they can technically be classified as a single-seed berry (or sometimes a drupe) that are similar to blueberries.
Our love affair with avocados has been going on for millennia
Archaeologists have found fossil evidence that humans in Mexico were eating an undomesticated variety of avocados going back a staggering 10,000 years. Cultivation of the tree can be traced back as far as 5000 BC in Peru. The avocado eventually made its way to North America in the 1800s and the rest is delicious history.
They contain more potassium than bananas
Potassium is one of the most important minerals in our diets. It’s vital for just about every cell in the body, but it’s particularly crucial when it comes to keeping things like your nerves, muscles and heart in tip-top condition. Typically people turn to bananas to pump up their potassium levels, but amazingly avocados are an even better source of this all-important mineral with almost twice as much potassium per serving.
They’re packed full of nutritional goodness
You’ve probably heard that avocados are good for you, but exactly how healthy are they? “Very” is the simple answer. That’s because avocados contain more than 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Not only are they a great source of vitamin E (which helps boost immunity), vitamin K (which strengthens bones) and lutein (which is good for your eyes), but they also contain high levels of riboflavin, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are building blocks of a healthy diet.
They help keep our hearts healthy
Some of those aforementioned nutrients also play a key role in keeping our hearts healthy. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat, which unlike the saturated fats
you’ll find in meat and dairy, is actually good for your heart. What’s more, avocados are also rich in phytosterols, a type of nutrient that can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
If you’re looking to incorporate avocados into your diet as a healthy option, then check out this recipe for Avocado-infused Naan Bread for example, a delicious treat that’s as good for your body as it is your tastebuds.
They’re full of fabulous fibre
Think about high fibre foods and your mind probably jumps immediately to rough greens and coarse grains, not the smooth creamy interior of your average avocado. But despite their mouth-pleasing texture avocados are actually incredibly high in fibre. That’s great news for your gut because eating foods that are high in fibre can help to keep you regular and maintain a healthy digestive tract, which in turn enables your body to excrete toxins and battle diseases such as colon cancer.
They’re delicious in desserts
Think avocados are just for savoury dishes? Think again. Yes, avocados are just as delicious for dessert as they are for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And we’re not just talking about smoothies either. Thanks to their high fat content avocados are ideal for baking, offering a healthy alternative to traditional high fat dairy ingredients like sour cream. Don’t believe us? Check out this mouth-watering recipe for Avocado Cake with Marzipan Icing, a healthier version of a traditional sour cream bundt cake that your family will fully enjoy eating.
Avocados may actually help you to lose weight
Need another excuse to eat avocados? How about the fact that they might actually help you to lose weight? Yes as amazing as it may sound a 2013 study found that people who ate avocados as part of their meal felt 23% more satisfied than those who didn’t. In simple terms that means that avocados will make you feel more full, helping to cut down on the kind of between-meal snacking that is commonly associated with weight gain.
And make you look more vibrant too
Introducing avocados into your diet won’t just leave you feeling great on the inside, it could actually make you look healthier too. Thanks to their high vitamin C content, avocados can help reduce inflammation, accelerate healing and soothe dry skin. As if that isn’t amazing enough, research has also suggested that the avocados can boost your body’s collagen production. That means that like those incredibly expensive serums you see advertised on TV, the humble avo can help to reduce the telltale signs of aging.
They taste great warm
Whether they’re mashed up for breakfast, blended into smoothies or served with a side of chips during your favourite sporting event; if you eat avocados then the chances are that you have enjoyed them raw. It’s easy to understand why really. After all, there are few foods out there that are so delicious in their natural state as these green goodies. However, as any avocado aficionado will tell you, one of the best ways to enjoy these brilliant berries is warm. The problem is that they are notoriously tricky to cook. That’s why we’ve put together this stunningly simple recipe for Baked Avocado Tempura, a flavour-filled dish that brings the best out of these deliciously delicate ingredients with a minimum of fuss.
Looking for a few ideas to help you incorporate avocados into your family’s diet? Check out our recipe section which is crammed full of quick, easy and delicious recipes designed to fit easily into your busy lives.