Why Your Brain Loves Avocados!

Sliced avocado

It was some considerable time ago that avocados leapt into the superfoods chart thanks to the impressive levels of a group of monounsaturated fats that have been shown to provide important anti-inflammatory benefits to our body systems - particularly the cardiovascular system. All manner of new and exciting superfoods have hit the charts since then (goji berries, macqui berries, watermelon seeds, chia seeds, chaga mushrooms - the list goes on) but research into the health benefits of the now-perhaps-overly-familiar avocado continues and this is extremely good news!

A recent study conducted at Tufts University found that the consumption of fresh avocado is an effective way to increase lutein levels in the eyes and brain. Lutein is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant plant chemical which is found in fruits and vegetables and avocados are a rich source. Researchers found that one medium avocado per day increased lutein levels by 25% in the eyes and progressive improvement on tests that evaluated memory, processing speed and attention levels in the control group (40 healthy adults over the age of 50) leading to a meaningful proposal that the consumption of fresh avocado daily may lead to increased macular pigment density and improved cognitive function in healthy older adults. This study also revealed that lutein levels in the eye more than doubled in subjects that consumed fresh avocados compared to those that took a supplement.

I find myself getting somewhat distressed when people shy away from eating avocados on a regular basis believing them to be fattening because they are rich in fats - nothing could be further from the truth! Not only are they an excellent source of health-enhancing monounsaturated fats and anti-inflammatory and protective plant chemicals, they are also rich in soluble fibre which helps stabilise blood sugar levels, facilitate good digestion and bowel regularity and aid weight control, they are a good source of energy-generating B vitamins and immune-boosting vitamin C, they are rich in essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron and copper and they offer a worthy supply of folate for pregnant women which is crucial in the prevention of birth defects. They also have the highest protein levels and lowest sugar content of any fruit and the richness of fat makes them a filling, delicious and nutritious part of a meal or simply as a fast and fabulous snack.

Here are the links to a few of my tasty avocado recipes that offer their unique combination of nutrients and a great deal more:

Stuffed Avocado

Lemon Ginger Chicken

Soft Boiled Eggs with Sweet Potato and Avocado

Crab, Salmon, Avocado, Fennel and Apple Salad

Sunday Night is Pasta Night!

Pasta gets a lot of flack when it comes to weight loss but if you get it right and ensure that the 'sauce' is a great mix of protein and fats and the starchy pasta plays second fiddle rather than being the main player, 'pasta night' doesn't have to go when you are trying to lose weight!

Here is a recipe that can be quickly thrown together with ingredients that are likely in the fridge/cupboard and is super tasty! Just click on the recipe image to save or print off.