Food that calms you down: Avocado

Avocado-board

By Kjokkenutstyr (Avocado on Board – Flickr) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I’m kind of sad about this post, but before I explain why let me ask you something. Amongst all the people currently reading this post who honestly likes avocados? Let me say right off the bat I don’t. I can’t remember when exactly was the first time I ate an avocado, I just remember that I was a teenager. My mother decided to buy an avocado for the first time ever, saying that it was extremely healthy and that we should try it out. She cut it up into pieces, put them in a bowl and told my father and me to eat. I already didn’t like the look of it but I told myself, “Maybe it tastes good,” and I took a bite out of it. The best way I could describe the experience is strange, it had no real taste, more like a hint of a taste but not really, it had a strange texture which I can’t describe properly. Suffice it to say that I didn’t like and I still don’t like avocados, heck I don’t even like guacamole (which is made of avocado).

So why did I tell you all of this? I just wanted to explain why I am sad about this post, because even though I don’t like avocados, they are a food which you can eat to relieve stress. Sigh. Okay now that I have gotten that out of my system, let me tell you how it works.

I mentioned in one of my previous posts how your health is important and the state of your body can affect the state of your mind (put link here). In other words, a good way to keep your mind healthy is by keeping your body healthy, this is where avocados come in. Avocados are rich in B Vitamins and a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) which help keep our brain cells healthy. There was also research conducted into how avocados can help reduce weight which was published in the Nutrition journal. The study showed that those who ate half an avocado with their lunch reported feeling 40 % less hungry than they normally did 3 hours after their meal. The same study also found that avocados are good at regulating blood sugar levels. It is safe to assume that this combination of satiating hunger and regulating blood-sugar can help keep our moods steady, even when we are faced with stressful situations.

According to registered dietitian Patricia Groziak, MS, RD, with the Hass Avocado Board, avocados contain 25 milligrams per ounce of a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. Regular consumption of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols has been seen to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels (good for brain circulation).

Avocados are also rich in other health boosting nutrients like potassium, vitamin E, and Folic Acid.  Foods containing high levels of folate may help to decrease the risk of depression as folate helps to reduce homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. Excess homocysteine can also interfere with the production of the serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep and appetite.

So it appears that eating an avocado regularly can really help keep stress in check and help us handle stress better. As much as I hate to say it, it looks like I need to eat more avocados. If any of you out there already love avocados I just want you to know I envy you. Anyway let’s all try eating more avocados and let them work their magic with our stress, I mean if it actually helps I would consider eating more avocados, wouldn’t you?

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