By Bridget Lappert—If you’re anything like me, when you say, “Mexican food,” I say, “Guacamole!” That used to be the extent of my avocado consumption but, after reading about the countless health benefits of this small green fruit, I’m a believer in its many uses and try to use it as much as possible. Plus, I’m always trying to find multiple uses for a single item to save money and get crafty!
The avocado has been a part of the human diet for thousands of years. Some nutritionists claim that it contains everything a human needs to survive. The fruit is native to Central Mexico and can be found in close to 500 varieties, seven of which are grown commercially in California. The most common variety is the Hass avocado, patented August 27, 1935 by Mr. Rudolph Hass.
Here are five benefits that may have you running to your local avocado farm.
1. Prevent Liver Damage
Avocados have a long list of health benefits; one research team in Japan found they can significantly protect your liver. In one study, laboratory rats were fed avocado and 22 other fruits. The rats were then given D-galactosamine, a potent liver toxin that interferes with cell synthesis and results in cell death. The rats fed avocado suffered the least amount of liver damage.
2. Be Beautiful
In addition to their nutritional value, avocados are great for DIY skin care! Avocados can soothe dry or sun-burned skin as well as nourish and give your hair a glossy shine. Here’s a couple ways to do it:
Make a Hair Mask
• Mash the insides of one ripe avocado
• Add a tablespoon of honey and two tablespoons of olive oil
• Mix until creamy and apply to your hair
• Leave for twenty minutes and then wash out with a gentle shampoo
Make a Face Mask
• Mash the insides of half of a ripe avocado
• Add a half of a tablespoon of honey
• Add one tablespoon of all natural plain yogurt
• Mix ingredients together until smooth
• Wash your face gently with warm water and pat dry
• Apply a thin layer of the mask and allow it to sit for at least fifteen minutes
• Rinse with warm water and pat dry
3. Improve Your Blood Pressure
Did you know that avocado pits have health benefits too? Studies have shown that the avocado seed has loads of health benefits, including helping people with hypertension.
Those pits might seem rock hard, but any high-speed blender should be able to grind them up. Try putting the powder in a fruit smoothie or fresh juice to help regulate your blood pressure.
4. See Better
If you’ve ever seen a baby formula commercial, you’ve probably heard about lutein. Lutein is a carotenoid antioxidant that helps protect against eye disease. Yes, avocados contain this antioxidant, but they also help you get more of these nutrients from other foods. Carotenoids are soluble in fat so eating carotenoid packed foods like fruits and vegetables along with fat-rich avocados helps your body absorb the carotenoids.
5. Cook Healthier
Avocado oil has a similar makeup to that of olive oil and can be directly substituted for it in healthy recipes. You can find avocado oil at Vitamin Shoppes or even at Walmart! Try replacing olive oil or corn oil with avocado oil in your favorite recipes for a healthy alternative.
This piece originally appeared on Inspiyr.com.
Bridget Lappert is the Founder of Broke but Bougie, where she leads a team of women sharing with the world how to live the cashmere life on a cotton budget.