Spotlight On: Avocado

Ingredients, Skin Care

About the author:  Natalie K. Bell is the former magazine editor of The Pitt News.  She has nearly five years of experience in print and communications.  She loves big sun hats and good grammar.  For more, please visit our About page.

It may just look like green goop on your tortilla chip, but avocados have been touted by many as a super food. A super food is one that’s jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients that promote health. But, anyone who’s followed the tennis match that’s been the egg debate or watched the Atkins diet be dethroned by the Paleo diet, which promises to be dethroned by another diet, knows that foods become trendy.


If the Internet is to be believed, avocados boast a hefty resume of health and beauty accomplishments, from getting rid of cellulite to getting the perfect skin. But what are the components of an avocado and is this fruit — yup, it’s a fruit — do as much as people say it does?


The Calorie Conundrum: Is it even worth it to eat them?

English: Avocados at a market.
Avocados are 300 calories each – about 15% of your daily calorie intake. Eaten in moderation, they have more benefits than detriments.

This fact is impossible to dispute and one to get out in the open right away. Avocados aren’t light— packing around a 300-calorie punch and 90% of that is made up of fat — which convinces many people to avoid them all together (Avocado and Human Nutrition, Avocado, the Misunderstood Fruit). That’s about 15 percent of your daily calorie intake, and half, if not more of your fat intake (Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005). Keep in mind, these are the numbers for an entire avocado, eating half or even a quarter will make those numbers seem much lower.


But, fear not, guacamole-gobblers, the benefits might outweigh this negative. Avocados can help manage high blood pressure levels (Effects of avocado as a source of monounsaturated fatty acids on plasma lipid levels). For this reason, a moderate- and not a low-fat diet has been found in studies to be recommendable to attain weight loss and also lower cholesterol (The American Journal of Nutrition). So if a diet is what’s deterred you from avocado eating, consider whether it might be worthwhile to include it — in moderation, of course.


Skin Deep: What are the benefits of eating avocados?

Deutsch: Cellulite am Oberschenkel
As great as avocados are, they won’t get rid of  cellulite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Will they get rid of cellulite?


As much as many women — myself included — would like to hope for a miracle cure for cellulite, there isn’t one.  It’s natural for women to have it and according to MP Goldman in Cellulite: a review of current treatments, “Cellulite can best be described as a normal physiological state in postadolescent women — a state that maximizes adipose retention to ensure adequate caloric availability for pregnancy and lactation.”


That said, while avocado along with a diet rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates, like avocados, can help eliminate waste and diminish fat storage and production, they won’t magically make cellulite go away (Diet, exercise fight cellulite). The less subcutaneous


What else do they do?

Avocado 91311
Avocados are rich in antioxidant vitamin E – and are pretty yummy! (Photo credit: Tom Dubé)

Avocados are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that can help cut the chain of free radical reactions (Encyclopedia Britannica). It’s essentially awesome in helping to work against UV exposure damage and save your skin (Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology).


But that’s not the only way avocados help out with protecting skin.


They’re also aid in carotenoid absorption if consumed with high-carotenoid fruits and vegetables (The Journal of Nutrition). Carotenoids are wonderful antioxidants that seek out peroxyl radicals and help to stop lipid peroxidation (Carotenoids). They’re photoprotective for the skin, which means they aid in protection against UV damage. Eaten in high enough doses, carotenoids can lessen the risk of melanoma (The Role of Phytonutrients in Skin Health).


The Bottom Line


Avocados have a lot going for them. Though they’re high in fat and calories, they can be part of a moderate-fat diet to help lower cholesterol. They have vitamin E and also help absorb carotenoid — both of which seek out free radicals and help with UV damage. Unfortunately, even super fruits have their limitations and it’s a myth that avocado can save you from your cellulite.  Still, it’s worth incorporating into your diet.

Products with Avocado

NOW Avocado Oil is sensational for hydrating dry body skin right after a shower. Just apply it while your skin is still slightly damp to lock in moisture.
  • NOW Foods Avocado Oil ($14.43,  Not suitable for the face, this moisturizing oil is great for hydrating slightly-damp skin right after a shower.
  • Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($31.90,   Best for those with little or no undereye wrinkles, crow’s feet, dark circles, or undereye puffiness – maybe best reserved for those in their teens to early 30’s.  (Or later if you’ve taken great care of your skin!) This treatment is a preventative, antioxidant-rich, hydrating one.
  • Sea of Spa Black Pearl Moisturizer ($34.10,  Designed for those with dry to very dry skin, this moisturizer hydrates well.  Do not use it with other products, as the moisturizers act as occlusive agents that can trap other ingredients into the skin.  Instead, just cleanse and apply, only when your dry skin is your #1 concern.


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