Forget chocolate, pizza and chips, if there was one, single food I had to choose to live on for the rest of my life, it would genuinely be the humble avocado! I know, I'm strange, but I absolutely love these soft green, delicious fruits. Mostly mashed up and spread on toast with a sprinkling of basil or fresh coriander leaves. Yep, I'm avo addicted!
If you're even close to as avocado obsessed as I am, that can only be a wonderful thing. They're absolutely fantastic for our skin in so many ways. If you're yet to be converted to an avocado addict, my simple tip is to mash one up with a generous squeeze of lime and tiniest pinch of salt - the taste is a game changer. If that still is not enough to convince you, try blitzing it in a high speed blender with a drizzle of maple syrup and generous spoonful of cacao powder. Voila, avocado chocolate mousse! Honestly, if you get it right, you'd never even know there's avocado in it.
Ten Fun Avocado Facts
Okay, let's kick off with ten fun avocado facts for you to impress your friends;
- Avocados are a fruit, not a vegetable
- An avocado contains more potassium than a banana. In fact, the levels are almost double
- Over 3 million pictures of avocado toast were uploaded to instagram EACH DAY in 2017
- Avocados contain heaps of glutathione, which works as an antioxidant to help our immune system function normally
- A 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating one avocado each day could help improve LDL cholesterol levels in overweight people
- Avocados come from the same family as cinnamon
- An avocado tree will take at least five years before it produces fruit
- Avocados were historically called 'alligator pears' because of their tough and bumpy skin
- Need to ripen your avocado in a hurry? Place it in a brown paper bag with a ripened banana or two
- The avocado is an Aztec symbol of love and fertility, and they also grow in pairs on trees. Avocados do not self pollinate, they need another avocado tree close by to provide fruit
Skin Benefits of Avocado
Now that you've got some interesting avocado facts to impress your friends with on WhatsApp, let's get to the serious stuff. How can avocado benefit our skin? Well, the answer is .. in LOTS of ways. Here are my top ten favourite avocado benefits for skin conditions.
1. CONTAINS NUTRIENTS TO NOURISH TROUBLESOME SKIN
When it comes to our skin, avocados are absolutely packed with healthy nutrients. The beta carotene, protein, lecithin, fatty acids, and vitamins found in avocado, all play their part in helping to nourish and protect skin from damaging UV rays, whilst simultaneously boosting our collagen metabolism.
2. HIGH VITAMIN E CONTENT TO STRENGTHEN AND PROTECT SKIN
Avocados are a fantastic source of vitamin E, which comes with its own skin boosting benefits. Vitamin E works to strengthen the body's natural defences against illness and infection, as such it's vital to a well functioning immune system as a powerful antioxidant.
3. GUARDS AGAINST HARMFUL SKIN SUN DAMAGE
Research conducted in 2011, reveals that avocados contain compounds which can help protect skin from UV sun damage and inflammation. Avocados fantastic vitamin C content can also protect skin from oxidative damage caused by the sun and other environmental factors.
4. NOURISHES DRY SKIN AND STRENGTHENS BRITTLE NAILS
Avocados offer a wonderful source of the B vitamin Biotin. Biotin is known to help prevent dry, flaky skin when applied topically, and can also be massaged in to damaged hair and brittle nails to strengthen and protect. If you're struggling with dry and dehydrated skin cells, why not try my Intensive Night Serum, formulated with avocado to offer nourishing replenishment whilst you sleep.
5. CARING FOR OUR SKIN AND OUR HEARTS
Hass avocados, are the most common variety of avocado cultivated in the world. There are currently eight preliminary, clinical studies showing that eating avocado can help support our heart health. Exploratory studies suggest that avocados might also be beneficial in healthy weight management and kind to the impacts of ageing.
6. PERFECT POTASSIUM PROVIDERS FOR BLOOD PRESSURE
We've often been told to eat more bananas to boost potassium, but did you know, an avocado contains almost twice the amount of potassium than that in a banana! Clinical evidence suggests that adequate potassium intake may promote blood pressure regulation in adults.
7. PREVENTS AND MINIMISES SKIN SCARRING
This study from 2013 looked at the benefits of avocado oil against petroleum jelly as a natural option to treat wounds. Research revealed that avocado offered a rich source of oleic acid and essential fatty acids which worked together to promote an increase in collagen synthesis and decreased numbers of inflammatory cells during the wound-healing process. My Scar Minimising Oil is a natural blend of avocado, rosehip and vitamin E oils, designed specifically to help prevent and reduce the appearance of scars.
8. FULL OF COLLAGEN BOOSTING VITAMIN C
Avocados are one of the few foods that contain significant levels of both vitamins C and E. The two work together well, with Vitamin C playing an important role in recycling vitamin E to maintain strong levels of antioxidant protection. In addition, when topically applied to the skin in a serum like this one, Vitamin C can encourage new collagen to grow. It also helps maintain our existing collagen and protects the precious proteins from damage.
9. PROTECTS AGAINST AGEING
As we get older, skin often shows the first visible indication of tiring. Topical application, or plentiful consumption of some fruits and vegetables have been recommended to protect against ageing. Our skin is frequently subjected to damage through exposure to UV light and it's thought avocados may be able to help combat this damage. Avocados boast highly bioavailable lutein and in studies, it's this nutrient that's thought to protect us.
10. ENHANCES WOUND HEALING ACTIVITY
Another important antioxidant in avocados is zeaxanthin. Several preclinical studies on the effects of zeaxanthin suggest that avocados may protect skin health by enhancing wound healing activity and reducing UV damage. Research revealed that oral and topical administration of this antioxidant provided significant activity in the skin.
How Should we be Applying Avocado?
Whilst some of the research quoted above references the topical application of avocado oil, other studies cite oral consumption. It seems both eating avocados and massaging avocado oil into our skin can offer incredible benefits.
I would recommend incorporating at least two or three avocados into your diet each week if possible and applying a topical oil containing avocado to scars and areas of dry skin.
Avocado Recipes For Soothing Skin
The beauty of avocado is it's delicious to eat and wonderfully cooling when applied to the skin. Making an avocado mask is simple and can boost skin brightness with all of the benefits above. It's always best to make this recipe fresh right before applying it, as it doesn't take avocado long to go brown and lose its bright green freshness.
- Half a ripe avocado
- 1 tablespoon of rolled oats finely ground
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon local or manuka honey
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 2 drops of your favorite oil (optional)
Add all the ingredients to a blender and combine until smooth. If you don't have a blender in your kitchen, you'll need to buy colloidal oatmeal (which is already powdered) and combine all the other ingredients smoothly by using the back of a fork
Apply the avocado face mask and relax for fifteen minutes allowing it to fully absorb. Rinse off with lukewarm water and pat skin dry with a soft towel
Now apply your favourite moisturiser or avocado serum
When it comes to eating avocado, nothing beats a simple avocado toast recipe. I've had friends question whether I don't find this delicious breakfast a bit bland, but if that's the case, you're doing it wrong! Adding the tiniest pinch of salt and a good squeeze of lemon to mashed avocado is a game changer. It brings out the flavour and takes away any bland or overly sweet taste. I love to add chopped, fresh basil, parsley or coriander leaves too.
If you're looking for a healthy bread option to add even more skin-boosting vitamins to this breakfast, check out the options at Seedful, which is gluten free and crammed full of skin soothing nuts and seeds.
Top your toast with seeds, herbs and a sprinkling of black pepper for even more benefits!
Avocado Chocolate Mousse
I'm going to challenge you to make this recipe for your friends and ask them to guess the primary ingredient! I guarantee most people won't be able to suss it's avocado. This is also a brilliant way to ensure kids are eating more of the good stuff. It's a fantastic disguise. This recipe makes 4 deliciously rice little pots.
- Flesh of 2 ripe avocados
- 60g cacao powder
- 3-4 tbsp plant-based milk
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pinch or two of salt
- 50ml maple syrup (more if you need it super-sweet)
Add everything to a high speed blender and blitz! It's important to use a really decent blender for this recipe as that's what's going to create a super smooth mousse. Using a bog standard chopper can sometimes result in a grainy texture or bits of avocado chunks. Once blended, test the taste and consistency. This might depend on how ripe your avocados are. If your mixture hasn't blended properly, add a little more milk a spoonful at a time.
For extra decadence, serve in four small glasses with grated chocolate and a cherry on top!
Are you an avocado lover or loather? Let me know in the comments below.