Avocado has come to dominate the internet, not unlike cute cat videos. Avocado food trend is making waves on social media. It started with the avocado toast trend going wild, and now you see it in soups, salads, sushi, smoothies, popsicles, the list is endless it seems. All kinds of brands are jumping on the bandwagon, probably most notable are beauty brands.
So how did the avocado advance from guacamole to being beloved both by foodies and skin care devotees alike? Perhaps surprisingly, one of the reasons is because it can be made into photogenic foodporn. It has a beautiful golden green hue with soft malleable texture.
Now back to the topic, it’s because an avocado tasty and versatile. It can be used both in savoury and sweet dishes. And then it’s also a healthy super food, packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and much more.
So people can indulge in it without guilt. Even better, they can just focus on the more on the immediate health benefits of the fats and proteins for workouts and physical appearance, and don’t need to linger on the long term stuff such as cancer prevention.
A little bit about the fruit
Avocado refers to both the tree and the fruit. The tree belongs to the Lauraceae plant family, which also includes cinnamon and laurel. It’s an evergreen, tropical tree. Its area of origin is in Central America. This would be Mexico where it also got its name – and you’ll probably never look at it the same way again.
It’s said that the Aztecs liked everything about it – its size, shape, leathery appearance of its skin, and how it grows in pairs. They called the fruits “ahuacatl” which means testicles. When the Spanish conquistadors, they pronounced it “aguacate”.
Later, when United States imported the fruits, it underwent another change. The marketers had a tough time trying to sell the fruits. It’s hard to say “aguacate”. So, following the original meaning of “ahuacatl”, the marketers called it, “alligator pear” and “avagota pear”. From “avagota” it’s not so far to avocoda and that’s were it settled.
Some people say avocados are a vegetable and some classify them as fruits. Science puts them into the berry class with a single large seed. Although you have to keep in mind that how science labels a berry as a fruit derived from the ovary of a single flower is totally different from how or what common people call a berry. So for science, a banana is a berry but a strawberry is not. Just so you know.
There are many varieties of avocado with different sizes, colour, and texture. Once ripe, the edible portion has a creamy butteriness. The creamy flesh is light or golden green in colour.
Characteristics and properties
Avocados got their nickname “alligator pears”, for their green, scale-like skin and pear shape. But it’s more apt to call them super food (just like kale or plum) for they’re an excellent source of nutrients and have been linked to several health benefits.
Just one third of an avocado (about 50g) contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. It’s probably most famous for being an excellent source of good fats. It’s mostly a mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
This means it’s the kind of fats that nutrition specialists recommend we should be eating. Research has found that monounsaturated fats are beneficial for heart health
Polyunsaturated fats are essential. Essential nutrients are important for your body to function, but it can’t make them itself. This kind of fat is used to build cell membranes and the covering of nerves.
The fat in avocados can help you better absorb fat-soluble antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin D, E, and K.
As a whole, avocados are a good source of vitamins K, E, and C. And then they contain
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B9 (folate)
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
As a source for potassium, folate, and fibre, avocado contribute to the cardiovascular system and is equally important for muscle strength and nerve function.
Aside from vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and fibres, avocados also have bioactive compounds including carotenoids. These are antioxidants, along with vitamin C and E, they can protect against the effects of having too many free radicals which leads to oxidative stress. This is linked to many ailments.
9 reasons it’s great for your skin
With its healthy mixture of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, it strengthens your skin’s natural lip layer. Avocado replenishes the level of the fatty acid in your skin.
Avocados bring a buffet of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamins B, C, D, and E. And of course carotenoids that your body converts into vitamin A. This profile means, avocado can help
- Reduce age spots
- Heal damaged skin and scar tissue
- Soften and moisturise
- Prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL), that is prevent dry skin
- Ward off oxidative stress and slow ageing
- Reduce redness and relieve irritation
- Increase the levels of collagen in the skin
- Reduce sun damage
- Prevent sun damage
The last point may seem surprising. Research has found evidence that vitamin B3 (niacin) can protect your skin from damage caused by exposure to the sun. It might even help repair DNA, though that was on a mouse model.
So, how to use it?
If you want to go the DYI route, you can always make a face pack out of avocados. Otherwise, you can opt to add avocado oil as one of the last steps in your routine. Or add a few drops to your favourite moisturiser or body milk.
If this is also not up your alley, there are countless products formulated with avocado or avocado oil. From cleansers, and cream to masks and SPF.
What is avocado oil?
Why did I only mention avocado oil in how to use avocados in your skin care routine? That’s because if you don’t want the messiness of DYI face packs, you can use avocado oil.
But unlike other plant oils such as macadamia nut oil, it’s not made from the large avocado seed but from the pulp. So, everything that’s being said about avocado applies to its oil too.
The oil is also used in cooking just like olive oil. Both for skin care and in cooking, it’s best to look for an organic, cold pressed and unprocessed oil, so that you can get the most benefit.
Avocados undeservedly merit all the attention of food and beauty bloggers around the world. They bring a myriad of health benefits. And, when applied to your skin, it makes even the driest complexion vibrant.
There are endless recipe ideas for preparing avocados. Just a quick idea here: They’re a great addition to a healthy sandwich and you don’t need to add butter to get a creamy texture.
If you like to have face packs made with fresh avocados or other recipes with avocado oil, tell me in the comments below.