Avo, the unsung hero

Avocados put the green into sushi and guacamole. They nourish faces and hands in soaps and lotions and even, dare we say it, spice things up in the bedroom.

by: SAAGA (South African Avocado Growers Association) | 02 Jun 2008

Because of its bountiful benefits, the avocado is now also regarded as part of the world's elite group of super foods – foods packed with high levels of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and disease-busting phytochemicals.

The avo is not only one of the healthiest fruits around, but probably also the most versatile.

It has made a successful transition from the kitchen to the bathroom and is now a common ingredient in beauty products, including moisturisers and facemasks and more recently in hair care products thanks to its gorgeous, thick nourishing oil.

Avo aphrodisiac
But this little green fruit's power in the bedroom shouldn't be underestimated either.

Thousands of years ago the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs hailed the avo as a powerful aphrodisiac and even called it 'the fruit of the gods'. They revered its ability to increase vitality and general well-being, but more importantly, its ability to increase fertility.

The health benefits of avocados
Avocados are also loaded with monounsaturated fat, which in recent years has come under the spotlight for its positive role in diabetes control. So much so that many international and local nutrition experts and health organisations actually promote a higher monounsaturated fat diet that includes avos.

In the past, avocados have gotten a bad rap for these high levels of fats, leading to the common misconception that they are in fact fattening. This couldn't be further from the truth: while the largest part of an avo's kilojoules comes from fat, this fat is predominantly monounsaturated fat.

Not only is this good fat associated with diabetes control, but also with possibly lowering the 'bad' LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels in blood and therefore helping to maintain a healthy heart.

So, for example, two tablespoons of avo have only 210 kilojoules and four grams of fat – healthier than using butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese or mayonnaise on that delicious lunchtime sandwich.

To find out more about avocados and the avocado farmers in SA go to South African Avocado Growers Association (SAAGA)

WIN WIN WIN with Food24.com and SAAGA.

We will be giving away one avocado hamper to the value of R900 – which includes a big hand painted platter, small hand painted platter and a Carol Boyes utility knife to our lucky winner.

To enter please send your details to Food24.com. The competition closes on Wednesday 11 June, winners will be notified by e-mail.

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