The avocado is to Southern California as pasta is to Italy – they just go together. Southern Californians love for avocado has grown rapidly over the years, and for good reason! These green little treats once referred to as alligator pears due to their rough and bumpy exterior, are ridiculously healthy and serve a variety of purposes. These include: assisting in the creation of delicious recipes, beauty hacks and providing an astonishing number of overall health benefits. If you’ve been a skeptic about this green fruit, allow me to convince you otherwise.
A Happy Heart is a Good Place to Start
Let’s talk about how avocados can make your heart happy. Avocados are naturally cholesterol and sodium free. They’re also made up of good unsaturated fats, which can lower bad cholesterol levels, improve heart health, and greatly impact the growth and development of the central nervous system and brain in adolescents. If you’re looking to manage your weight better avocados can help with that too! They make up 8 percent of your daily recommended value (DV) fiber from a single serving and contain less than one gram of sugar, meaning avocados are a great source of food for those struggling with Type 2 Diabetes. Feeling a little down? Have an avocado! Avocados are known to increase serotonin levels in the brain, making you feel happier. And who would deny themselves happiness? Especially when it’s so easily obtainable!
Let’s Get Pretty
Avocado isn’t just for eating! In fact, a lot of beauty tricks can be accomplished using all bits of the avocado. Avocado oil makes a fabulous substitute for makeup remover! And don’t worry about wiping that excess oil from your face, blend it in and use it as an eye serum. There is plenty of vitamin A and E in avocado oil that acts as a super nourishing eye treatment. Interested in having that smooth and fresh face? Combine half an avocado with honey and leave it on your face for 10 minutes before washing it off and you’ll see – and feel – the difference almost immediately. You can also create an easy at home face scrub using avocado, honey, olive oil and brown sugar. Add a drop or two of peppermint oil and suddenly you have an exfoliating lip scrub. The possibilities are endless really, but one of my favorites has to be the avocado hair mask. Just combine some mashed avocado with olive oil, leave it on your hair for approximately 20 minutes and you’ll have stronger, and longer hair, over time thanks to the vitamin biotin found naturally in avocado.
It’s Not Easy Being Green
Avocados truly seem like a superfood, don’t they? But, believe it or not, they were not always held to such a high standard. One of the main issues was that they could only be grown in very specific areas of the country, and therefore, their lack of being widely available caused them to be too expensive to use as an everyday food. Another, perhaps sillier problem, was their name. As previously mentioned, avocados used to be referred to as alligator pears, and the association between comparing a menacing and unattractive swamp creature to a fruit did not bode well with the American people. So, the California Avocado Growers’ Exchange tried to push for a more exotic name change and opted with avocado, originating from Aztec word ahuacacuahatl, or roughly translated, testicle tree. Poor avocados haven’t had the easiest time slowly making their way to foodie fame. Then in the 1980’s nutritionists started telling Americans to cut down on their fat intake. Well, this, in turn, gave avocados a bad rap again. Even though the fat found in avocados is the good type of fat for you! Flash forward to present day and we now know just how beneficial these “alligator pears” really our for our minds, bodies and overall betterment.
But, enough of the avocado lecture, let’s talk about some of the tasty recipes that can easily be made in the comfort of your own home, like the Breakfast Banana Mango Avocado Green Smoothie or the Smashed Chickpea, Avocado, and Pesto Salad Sandwich. Give these recipes a shot and watch the improvements made to your overall well-being. Our favorites include Avocado Stuffed Pesto Shells followed by Healthy Avocado Brownies for dessert.