The disease fighters to add to your pantry
HOLY GUACAMOLE! NOT ONLY DO AVOCADOS AND GINGER PACK A PUNCH IN THE FLAVOUR ARENA. THEY’RE SOME OF THE MOST INCREDIBLE DISEASE FIGHTERS TOO
When it comes to superfoods, avocado and ginger are at the top of the pile. There’s virtually nothing they can’t help with. Gingerol and shogaol, which give ginger its typical “zing”, stimulate our digestive juices, have germ-killing properties, and detoxify the blood, mucous membranes and gut. Avocado is just as powerful – it has an exceptionally high nutrient density, is 25 per cent “good fat”, and is a source of almost 20 vitamins and minerals.
PROTECTS THE EYES
Avocado contains two carotenoids (plant pigments) important for eye health: lutein and zeaxanthin, which act as antioxidants, meaning they protect our cells from harmful influences. As such, avocado prevents the onset of age-related eye damage. Daily consumption of the fruit also protects the eye’s sensitive tissue from sun damage – but that doesn’t mean it can replace sunglasses. In addition, the superfruit reduces the risk of suffering from cataracts or age-related macular degeneration, according to research from Tufts University in the US.
HELPS WITH EXCESS WEIGHT
Avocado is high in dietary fibres – and these help us lose weight. According to a study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, 30 grams of fibre a day results in more successful dieting
(an average-size avocado contains around 12-14 grams). Avocados also keep you full for a long time, thereby preventing hunger pangs.
NORMALISES BLOOD LIPID LEVELS
Researchers from Pennsylvania State University have found that consuming an avocado a day has a positive effect on cholesterol, because the unsaturated fatty acids and high fibre content help dramatically reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides. The ‘avocado diet’ lowers LDL levels in the blood by 13.5mg/dl, while low-fat foods can only do this by 7.4mg/dl. This prevents arteriosclerosis and reduces the risk of heart attack.
PROMOTES MUSCLE DEVELOPMENT
In order for our body to build up muscle, it needs protein, as well as a whole host of amino acids like arginine, threonine, leucine, valine and isoleucine, all of which are found in avocados. Without these organic compounds, muscles break down. The body also uses these acids for a number of other processes, and the need for them is even greater during times of stress or injury, so eat an avocado a day in those phases.
Avocado has proven its power in fighting certain tumours, such as oral cancer, skin cancer and prostate cancer. A study conducted by Ohio State University found that its plant compounds systematically detect precancerous cells and inhibit their growth or even destroy them. Scientists from the University of Waterloo in Canada have also found that a certain fat known as avocatin B specifically attacks cancer cells in acute myeloid leukaemia. Plus, while it destroys mutated blood stem cells, it protects the healthy ones so that intact blood cells can continue to form.
GETS RID OF BAD BREATH
Bad breath is commonly triggered by digestive or stomach problems and often goes hand in hand with bacteria in the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat or digestive tract. This is where anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant flavonoids can come in handy, as they fight bacteria in the mouth, stomach and gut.
Eat avocados for a strong, healthy skeleton. The reason? It contains a comparatively high concentration of a number of different “bone vitamins”, which are only effective if taken together. For example, calcium is responsible for bone hardness and firmness, but can only be adequately stored in the skeleton if there is magnesium to lock it in the bones. B vitamins like folate (B9) prevent metabolic waste product homocysteine from breaking up the collagen network in the bone and thus destroying it in the long term.