Health Benefits of Avocados
Did you know that California produces 90% of the nation’s avocados? About half of those come from San Diego, making us the Avocado Capital of the U.S. Avocados are a big part of San Diego’s identity. They grow easily in our warm climate, pair well with our outstanding Mexican food, and help us to eat healthy! Southern Californians love avocados so much that we’ve dedicated a half marathon to them. The 4th annual Avocado Half Marathon & 5K is happening in Murrieta on May 5th.
Fun Facts about Avocados
- Avocados are sometimes called alligator pears because of their shape and the texture of their skin.
- They originated in south-central Mexico.
- The avocado was first introduced to California in 1871 in Santa Barbara.
- Seven varieties are commercially grown in California, and 95% of avocados produced in California are Hass.
- While we may think of avocados as a mostly savory food, other cultures eat them in desserts. Brazilians put them on ice cream and Filipinos blend them with sugar and milk for a sweet drink.
Health Benefits of Avocado
You may have heard avocados described as a “super food.” But what does that mean? While they are high in fat, it’s monounsaturated fat—a “good fat.” Avocados are naturally free from sodium and cholesterol, unlike trans or saturated fats that can increase your risk of heart disease or stroke.
Avocados are also a nutrient-dense food, which means that they have a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are good for us. Vitamin C helps with general health, growth, and development, vitamin K promotes bone strength and blood clotting, vitamin E is good for your skin, hair, and heart, and vitamin B6 boosts your immune system. Avocados also have potassium, which keeps cells, tissues, and organs functioning and can help to lower blood pressure, as well as magnesium, which is good for your muscles and energy levels. In addition to all this, avocados also help your body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients (like vitamins A, D, K, and E) better. Who knew all the nutritional content hidden in an avocado!
Avocados also have carotenoids, which may reduce your risk of cancer. Carotenoids are also good for eye health and for your skin. Your skin can look and feel better just from eating avocados, but you can apply avocado to your face as a topical beauty treatment.
Nutritious and Delicious Ways to Eat Avocados
We love guacamole, but there are so many other ways to enjoy avocados! Try these tips to bring more avocados into your diet.
- Use them as a spread. Avocados are healthier than traditional condiments like butter, cream cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, or salad dressing. Their creamy consistency makes them perfect for spreading on toast, sandwiches, and burgers.
- Eat them plain with lemon juice and a little sprinkle of salt.
- Avocados pair well with eggs. Halve an avocado, put an egg in each half, and bake them for breakfast.
- Upgrade your hummus by mixing in some avocado.
- Ditch unhealthy chicken salad by using mashed avocado instead of mayo.
Avocados are one of the best foods to fill your diet with because they’re good for your taste buds and your body – so take advantage of all those avocado benefits! For more tips on healthy eating, check out additional nutrition articles by Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups. Or check out local healthy restaurants serving up your favorite avocado dishes.