If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one thing with you, what would it be? Before you answer, you should read this post about the amazing avocado. Because it might just beat out that survival kit or boat you had in mind.
The avocado is the bee’s knees when it comes to nutrition and skin and hair care. Chock full of nutrients, it’s practically a (healthy) meal in itself. It’s also quite versatile and fits in with so many different dishes. Plus, the oils will do wonders for your skin and hair when it comes to moisture and repair.
Read on to find out why you should consider bringing it with you if you’re ever actually stranded on that island.
History and Facts
The avocado tree is native to the Western Hemisphere, found in Mexico all the way down to the Andes Mountains of South America. It’s been around a long time. There’s even evidence of avocados being used in some way or another dating back as far as 7,000 years ago.
The avocado is the berry fruit of the avocado tree and despite being green, not sweet, and commonly used in salads, is not a vegetable. It’s been given numerous fun names over the years: alligator pear, butter pear, midshipman’s butter, and avocado pear.
The most common type of avocado you find at the grocery store is the Hass (rhymes with “class”) - not Haas, as it’s commonly misspelled. The Hass avocado originated in California in the 1920s and was originally grown by a guy named Rudolph Hass. He grew this particular type because it was the creamiest and tastiest avocado around. Everyone seemed to agree, and it became a huge hit.
The Benefits of Eating Them
If any food deserves its title of “superfood,” it’s most definitely the avocado. Just check out the nutrition profile and you’ll clearly see why. It’s high in so many nutrients – fiber, B vitamins, good fats, vitamins C, E and K, folate, potassium, and copper. All these goodies help it score high marks for its many health benefits.
The fiber content alone is quite impressive. One avocado can provide up to half of the recommended daily amount. Fiber helps lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, keeps your gut healthy, helps keep you regular, and helps you feel fuller longer.
What makes the avocado so thick and creamy are the healthy fats it contains. It’s not light on calories due to these fats but they’re mostly the monounsaturated type, which helps boost your “good” HDL cholesterol and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol.
And if you’re looking to replenish your potassium, look beyond the banana. Eat an avocado instead because it has about three times as much of this key electrolyte.
You really can’t go wrong by adding this fruit to your diet!
The Benefits for Your Skin
Because it’s so rich in nutrients, the oil of the avocado is an ingredient we at Nurture My Body feature in lots of our products (such as all these).
Why do we love it so much?
For one, the fatty acids of this fruit make it an excellent emollient, which means it’s great at smoothing and softening the skin. It’s also a fantastic humectant because the oils hold in moisture and prevent it from escaping.
With an abundance of vitamins C and E working as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, avocado oil is also great at repairing skin and fighting oxidative damage caused by the sun.
You might be surprised to know the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of avocado also make it good for acne prone skin.
And thanks to the healthy fats in avocado oil, it’s also great for using on your hair to strengthen, repair and moisturize it.
How to Store an Avocado
The avocado fruit is what they call “climacteric,” which means that it doesn’t ripen while still on the tree. They’re picked from the tree when mature, but not ripe yet. This is why many of the ones you find at the grocery store are as hard as baseballs. But don’t worry, you can buy them in their stone-like state anyway and then ripen them at home.
The trick is to store the avocado in a bag. For even quicker ripening, throw in a banana or apple with it. The avocado and these other fruits all emit ethylene gas, which is what causes the ripening to happen.
When it’s ripe, you can then just eat it up, or stick it in the fridge.
But what if you don’t eat the whole thing at once? What do you do with an unused half of an avocado? Always keep the skin on and the pit embedded in the half you’re saving because the areas that are covered will stay good longer.
As you probably know, the fruit will turn brown wherever it’s exposed to air pretty darn quickly. All is not lost though if only the top turns brown. You just scrape off the brown top and happily enjoy the rest.
Simple Ways to Eat Avocado
I have yet to mention one of the very best things about the avocado: they’re creamy and delicious! And they’re so easy to incorporate into your diet. Adding them to smoothies or putting them on top of salads, chilis, rice bowls, burgers, soups, tacos, and many other dishes are common ways to get them into your belly.
And there are plenty of incredibly easy “recipes.” Here are a few to try:
- Guacamole (mix with onion, garlic, cilantro, tomato, lime and jalapeno)
- Avocado toast (smashed on top with any toppings you want)
- Chocolate avocado mousse (blend avocado with a little milk, honey or another sweetener, raw cocoa powder, vanilla, and a pinch of salt)
- Avocado pasta sauce (blend with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt & pepper)
Grow Your Own
Did you know you can grow an avocado tree in a pot at home? You may already know the starting method of sticking toothpicks into an avocado pit and partially submerging the bottom in a glass of water. The roots should grow in about 4 to 6 weeks, and it can then be planted in a container.
But don’t expect to be harvesting the avocado fruit any time soon. It’s not impossible to grow avocado fruit but it can take many many years to get there even with the ideal care and conditions. (Hint: they need lots of light and water.)
If the avocado isn’t part of your regular diet (and your skincare) already, it probably should be. It’s hard to beat it in terms of what it can provide for your health. Grab one or two the next time you go grocery shopping and start integrating where you can. You’ll be happy you did!