Feels like everywhere we turn someone is shouting about the benefits of the pear-shaped fruit (yes, it's a fruit!). And while we already know we're huge fans of the taste - trying out a few new avocado recipes whilst feeling smug that they're green, and therefore definitely good for us - we were pleasantly surprised to see just HOW healthy and all-round awesome avocados really are!
From slapping them straight on our skin for a glowing complexion, to measuring the calorie and fat content when it comes to watching our waistlines, here we explore everything there is to know about avocados, and exactly how they can benefit your health, beauty and general wellbeing...
1. They can help anxiety sufferers
Of course, no food is a substitute for proper support and treatment, but people with anxiety can benefit from eating more foods containing vitamin B, which avocados are rich in. Produce that contains these vitamins release neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, helping to boost your mood.
2. They are high in fat (but good fat)
There's a reason avocados are labelled a superfood! Avocados are confusing in that they technically contain a high amount of fat - but these are good fats, known as monounsaturated fatty acids, which contain a huge amount of health benefits - mainly in the form of oleic acid, also found in olive oil, which is known to offer significant protection against breast cancer.
3. They're a great diet aid
Half a medium avocado contains 138 calories and it also counts as one of your five-a-day. A medium avocado contains 230-280 calories, whilst a large avocado can contain up to 400 calories. However, if you're on a diet, tucking into an avocado will help to reduce any cravings for high-fat, unhealthy foods that have absolutely no health benefits. Good old guacamole is a great start, but adding avocado to a salad rather than scooping it up with crisps will give you an even higher boost of vitamins and nutrients!
4. They help to lower cholesterol
It's been reported that a massive two thirds of adults in the UK have high cholesterol - one of the main risk factors for heart disease. But in a recent study of people with moderately high cholesterol levels, those who ate a diet high in avocados had significant reductions in cholesterol after just one week. The monounsaturated fat avocados contain not only reduces bad cholesterol, but also lowers your risk of stroke and heart disease.
All this is making us hungry - try some avocado recipes now!
5. They make you beautiful!
This marvellous monounsaturated fat isn't just crucial for lowering cholesterol, the risk of strokes, cancer and heart disease - it's also essential for plump, youthful skin! These fats, along with vitamin E, which avocados are also a rich source of, stimulate production of anti-wrinkle wonder collagen - making them the best food to eat for a healthy complexion.
6. They're just the best ingredient
It's safe to say that even after all these amazing health benefits, the main reason we can't get enough of avocados is that they're just so damn tasty! Whether you're watching your weight and want to use them as a butter replacement (avocado on toast might just be what weekend mornings were made for), or if you want to try something different like these baked avocado fries or some avocado pancakes, you'll never get bored or feel any diet guilt with avocado.
7. They make a great homemade face mask
With celebs such as Victoria Beckham reportedly slapping them on their skin, it's fair to say avocados make a great homemade face mask! Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, avocados are moisturising without clogging pores, plus they also contain vitamin C - a natural skin brightener! You'll need just three ingredients for your face mask: Half an avocado, a teaspoon of honey (organic if possible) and a teaspoon of plain yogurt. Just mash the avocado, add the yogurt and honey until mostly smooth, and apply a thick layer to clean skin. After 10-15 mins, remove with a hot flannel and hey presto - happy skin!