Wondered why everyone's saying you should get more Avocado into your diet? Here's the low-down ...

Ok so first up, you know Avocado is a fruit, right? [it might possibly be the case that I didn't until a few years ago, whoops]. A really tasty, creamy, nutrient dense fruit. A fruit that I used to hate WITH A PASSION. A fruit that I knew I had to fall in love with when following a Paleo lifestyle and wanting (amongst other things) to reduce my osteoarthritis pain. I needed a plan …

So, firstly, I added an avocado to a green smoothie. I was really into green smoothies then so I thought why not, I can bury it in the smoothie, genius. Only I was wrong, you can't bury it. Because it's adds such a (lovely) creaminess to the smoothie that you can't ignore it. The taste though, was fine, it was a *massive* breakthrough for me. I've shared the best on here (just search by ‘avocado' above), a few of my favourites are:

From there came my own guacamole recipe and a gorgeous avocado & salmon salad (with a lovely dill dressing).

I use it in salads all the time and I've been experimenting more using it in Paleo cake and cookie recipes also. I'm also a big fan of Avocado Oil for cooking, it has a high, stable smoke point which makes it ideal for stir-fries and baking. And as for smashed avocado with poached eggs .. oh my word it's good!

So, what are the health benefits of avocado?

1. Nutritional powerhouse - Per 100g of avocado (about half a small avocado), you get:

27% of the RDA of fibre 
26% of the RDA of Vitamin K
20% of the RDA of Folate
17% of the RDA of Calcium
14% of the RDA of Potassium (higher than bananas!)
14% of the RDA of Vitamin B5
13% of the RDA of Vitamin B6
10% of the RDA of Vitamin E

2g protein and 15g ‘good' monounsaturated fat (oleic acid, show to reduce inflammation)

It's also a great low carb option - 9g garbs (7g of which is fibre, so only 2g net carbs).

2. Heart health - Increases ‘good' cholesterol, reduce ‘bad' cholesterol and triglyceride levels

3. Anti-oxidants - eating avocado can increase absorption of anti-oxidants by up to 15 times normal rates

4. Improving eye health – as someone who has cataracts running through the whole family, I'm hoping this is right.

5. Relieving symptoms of osteoarthritis – speaking from personal experience, this is absolutely spot on, I have very little pain from arthritis since introducing more avocados (and pineapple and turmeric) into my diet.

6. Improving skin health – reducing skin redness, irritation and protecting your skin from wrinkles.

7. Weight loss – all those good fats keep you fuller for longer and less likely to binge or snack.

8. Reducing the risk of cancer – there is limited research on this one with small test groups but there is some evidence to suggest avocados can reduce your risk of cancer.

If you have any good recipes including avocado, please share them, I'm always looking for new inspiration!