The Healing Power Of The Humble Avocado

This delicious, creamy super food is just too good to ignore. Very affordable and easy to access, avocado has over 25 nutrients which have an infinite scroll of benefits for your skin, hair and general health. The fruit is also a healthy substitute for butter in puddings.

Indeed, this super food is a must-have according to most nutritionists. According to Dr Daniel Gahungu, a general practitioner at Polyclinique de l’Etoile in Kigali, not only is it delicious and healthy, avocado is also jam-packed with fibre, plant sterols, magnesium, copper, folate, protein, potassium, vitamins B6, E and K and they are proven to help you lose weight, keep your heart healthy, your breath fresh and a God sent for your hair and skin.

Dr Joseph Mucumbitsi, the chairman of the Rwanda Heart Foundation, says eating avocado can be beneficial for heart health as it helps reduce cholesterol, the main cause of atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease, which causes heart attacks.

“The oleic acid found in avocado can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, commonly referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which protects against heart disease,” he says.

Mucumbitsi also says avocado has more of the cholesterol-smashing beta-sitosterol (a beneficial plant-based fat) than any other fruit, and since this fat reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food, it makes the fruit an excellent cholesterol buster.

He adds that beta-sitosterol has an apparent ability to block the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol absorption from the intestine, resulting in lower blood cholesterol levels.

The medic also says that according to an Australian study in women, it emerged that eating either half or a whole avocado fruit per day for a month succeeded in lowering cholesterol levels, but at the same time most people in the study lost weight.

Experts say avocado is a big deal in people who would like to lose weight despite the high-fat content. They also note that monounsaturated fatty acids found in the fruit are used in the body as slow burning energy rather than stored as body fat which gives a feeling of fullness that can also reduce hunger and prevent you from eating more.

Dr Osama Said Abdelwahed, a consultant surgeon at University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), acknowledges that many fruits are beneficial for our skin health, but avocado stands out.

Abdelwahed explains that eating vegetables and avocado more often can help one have a healthy digestive system, which enables food to move faster through your intestines and also helps the body to absorb water to help prevent constipation.

He adds that the fiber in avocado helps prevent the recurrence of inflammatory bowel disease and slows the progression of diverticulitis, a condition in which small pouches on your intestines become inflamed.

Abdelwahed also says that avocado also nourishes ones skin and slows ageing.

Due to its antioxidant properties and high content of vitamin E, avocado protects the skin from signs of ageing and also guards against photo-ageing from sun exposure.

He also adds that vitamin C found in the fruit helps the body produce elastin and collagen for maintaining the skin’s elasticity.

“Avocado can be used to regulate hair growth and prevent hair loss. Avocado oil is easily absorbed into the hair follicles and makes the hair shiny and supple. The omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins make the hair shiny, rescuing split ends and help moisturise the scalp,” he adds.

Gahungu also adds that eating avocado daily can make all the difference for a newly-born child and its mother.

“Avocado is great for babies as it contains monounsaturated fats, which play an important role in their growth,” says Gahungu.

Gahungu says the impact is even greater for babies before and even as they are teething hence making it a real super food for the mother and the child.

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