Avocados: Inspiring Nutritional, Mental, & Emotional Balance
Avocados inspire balance. The wide range of nutrients — from vitamins to amino acids to fatty acids — create nutritional balance; the high mineral content (particularly magnesium) soothes the nerves and creates mental balance; and to top it all off, the harmonizing effect it has on the mood engenders emotional balance. In this manner, I like to think of the avocado as the ultimate in adaptogens — it works in various ways to counteract stress on the mind, body, and mood.
...the ultimate in adaptogens — it works in various ways to counteract stress on the mind, body, and mood.
Nicknamed the “alligator pear,” and also known as “aguacate,” the avocado is native to South and Central America, where it was considered by the Aztec culture to be a fertility fruit. Although actually a fruit, the avocado is commonly classified, and prepared, as a vegetable. In any case, this nutrient-rich super-food delivers all kinds of nutritional and therapeutic values. Let’s take a closer look.
Therapeutic & Healing Powers:***
The source of the avocado’s therapeutic benefits is its full spectrum and plentiful supply of life-giving nutrients. It’s rich in all kinds of vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that support the inner workings of the immune system and promote your overall wellbeing.
When it comes to minerals, the avocado has been blessed with high levels of iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium. The iron content makes it good for the blood and helpful in the prevention and treatment of anemia; the copper content works in conjunction with iron in the production of red blood cells and ensures that both minerals are properly absorbed; the magnesium is soothing to the nerves and helps keep bones strong; and the potassium, among other things, is helpful in maintaining healthy plasma, joint, and spinal fluids.
Meanwhile, the avocado is also a concentrated source of immune boosting nutrients. It’s rich in vitamin C and vitamin E, two powerful antioxidants that increase your resistance to disease; it’s a great source of flavonoids, which protect the body from damaging free-radicals; it’s packed with both soluble and insoluble fiber, two nutrients that help prevent heart disease and many cancers; and it has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which helps prevent unnecessary aging and illness.
Finally, I’ve found avocados can help balance blood sugar and are healing to the metabolism. While the avocado provides a generous source of fat, it’s important to point out that they are healthy fats that, in moderation, can be supportive to your metabolism, immune system, and overall health.
In addition to the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients listed above, avocados are also a good source of essential fatty acids, amino acids, and many B vitamins.
Selection and Care:
To determine if an avocado has the ideal soft, smooth texture on the inside, it’s necessary to evaluate the outside: Avocados tend to ripen first at the tips, but are thoroughly ripe when the central, thickest portion yields ever so slightly to pressure. Unripe avocados stored at room temperature will gradually ripen. Avoid avocados with brown spots or blemishes. Once sliced, avocados quickly perish. Store unused portion, pit and all, in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Optimal Use and Combining:
Because the avocado has such a pleasingly mild flavor, it combines well with many foods. It accents leafy green garden vegetables, counterbalances the zing of tomato-onion salsa, and makes an excellent guacamole dip for celery and carrot sticks. A corn tortilla filled with fresh vegetables, sprouts, and avocado slices is a nutritious lunch. For even more protein, combine avocados or guacamole with beans in a burrito or soft taco. Finally, their creamy, pliant texture has earned them the nickname “vegetable butter,” and they can be used as a spread on toast or a baked potato.
***This article is not intended to treat or diagnose any type of health condition or disease. Any nutritional considerations for any health complication should be discussed with your physician or healthcare provider.