Avocados: Good for You Inside AND Out!

I load up on avocados every time I hit the grocery store. That’s because I can’t wait to turn them into luscious guacamole, fresh avocado mayo, creamy shakes, and wicked-good avocado fat bombs. In fact, here’s a confession: I love avocados so much that I’d eat them all the time even if they weren’t nutritional powerhouses. Luckily for me, they are! In fact, they’re absolutely packed with fat-burning, skin-smoothing, anti-aging power. Today, I want to share some of the amazing things that avocados—and the avocado oil that’s made from them—can do for you. Here are eight of the nutritional super-powers of this awesome fruit.
  1. Avocados help fight cancer.
Avocados are rich in chemicals called carotenoids, and research shows that these chemicals can inhibit the growth of prostate cancer and lower breast cancer risk. Additionally, the oleic acid in avocados reduces inflammation, helping to protect you from cancer as well as other diseases of aging. By the way, cancer-fighting drugs made from avocados may someday be saving lives. In a preliminary 2015 study, researchers found that avocatin B—a lipid isolated from the seed of the avocado—can attack leukemia stem cells directly, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
  1. Avocados are good for your heart and blood vessels.
Are you worried about your cholesterol? Researchers at Penn State recently reported that adding an avocado to your daily menu can lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Avocados are also rich in potassium, which lowers your blood pressure—and that can help reduce your risk for heart attacks and stroke.
  1. Avocados can help you lose weight.
One trick I teach dieters is that eating a few bites of avocado can ease cravings. And science backs me up: One study found that people who included half an avocado in their lunches reduced their desire to eat by 40 percent over the next three hours. That may be one reason why people who eat avocados tend to be less prone to metabolic syndrome than people who avoid this fruit. They also weigh less, have a lower body mass index, and have less belly fat.
  1. Avocados boost the effects of other nutrients.
Avocados are nutritional dynamite, providing you with nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients and a dose of healthy fat. But that’s not all; they also make other good foods work harder for you! Research shows that adding either avocado or avocado oil to a salad increases your absorption of carotenoids 5- to 15-fold.
  1. Avocados and avocado oil promote young, beautiful skin.
Once you reach your 20s, you lose about 1 percent of your collagen each year—and that translates into saggy, baggy, wrinkly skin. Adding avocado oil to your diet can help you fight this aging process by increasing your skin’s soluble collagen content. Want still more beautifying and healing power? Avocado oil makes a great (and inexpensive) topical skin cream. In addition, topical avocado oil is good for healing wounds. And you can make a smoothing, refreshing face mask by adding a little honey to half a mashed avocado and putting the mixture on your face for 20 minutes.
  1. Avocados help keep your eyes healthy.
Avocados are loaded with the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help to protect against sun-related eye damage. In addition, they help to keep the macula of the eye healthy.
  1. Avocados are good for your brain.
A recent study tested the effects of avocado on cognition in older men and women. Researchers gave participants either one avocado, one potato, or one cup of chickpeas every day for six months as part of their diets, and found that only the avocado group showed improvements in sustained attention. They conclude that “dietary recommendations including avocados may be an effective strategy for cognitive health.”
  1. Avocado oil is awesome for your hair.

The nutrients in avocado oil moisturize your hair, making it shiny and helping to prevent breakage. Simply massage a little warm avocado oil into your hair and leave it on for a few minutes before shampooing—or apply a small amount with your fingers after you wash and towel-dry your hair, and then rinse. Clearly, if you want to look and feel great, avocados and avocado oil should be part of your health and beauty regimen. Fortunately, the avocado habit is an easy one to get into—and it’s not just healthy, it’s delicious as well. And speaking of delicious, right now I’m off to make a yummy, avocado-rich Cobb Salad for lunch. Here’s the recipe from my new book, The 10-Day Belly Slimdown—give it a try, and I think you’ll love it. It’s a great way to kick off your avocado habit!  

COBB SALAD

Prep time: 5 minutes • Makes 1 serving

  • 2 to 3 cups torn lettuce (any type)
  • 2 to 3 ounces cooked chicken (you can substitute sugar-, nitrate-, and nitrite-free deli turkey breast)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ½ cucumber, diced
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, diced
  • ¼ to ½ avocado, cubed
  • Juice of ½ lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Celtic or pink Himalayan salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and toss. The egg yolk combined with avocado and lemon juice will create a creamy, flavorful dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: Although Cobb Salad ingredients are usually arranged on a plate, tossing everything together creates the dressing for this salad. Easy!

Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!