By Fatima Costalaurent
Certified IIN Health Coach and EWC Herbalist
Avocados have been part of our world for over 7000 years. They originated in present day Mexico and Colombia. And you’ve probably heard that they are a fruit, not a vegetable, right? Wait a minute, they are not just a fruit, but technically a berry since it has a fleshy pulp and single seed. Amazing!
As you can imagine or have read about before, these rough skinned, extra large berries are packed with nutrients and rife with health promoting properties. Two key nutrients they are rich in, are Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which act as antioxidants for our eyes, protecting them from damage, even UV light damage. They are high in Fiber, which helps keep our bowels moving while toxins are being packaged, in the Liver, by some of their many micronutrients and pushed out of our bodies. They beautify our skin by providing emollients from the inside out and avoiding excess damage from the environment or the stuff we put on ourselves. Also loaded with Beta-sitosterol a plant sterol that helps keep our cholesterol levels healthy. On a previous post we told you about Blood sugar balance and this fruit can enhance your metabolic health by providing healthy fats that tell your brain it’s ok to switch of your appetite and aiding in glucose balance. All these benefits and more come from one wrinkled berry. But did you know it can also be used medicinally?
Most traditional healing systems rely on food as their first line of treatment. In TCM there is a whole branch dedicated to the Tao of nutrition (the universal order of nutrition) or Chinese Medicine nutrition. It emphasizes being in harmony with nature and in touch with our body’s connection to it in order to maintain or regain vibrant health. It’s focused on the balance of Yin and Yang while maintaining proper nourishment. Obviously, Avocados were not part of the traditional Chinese diet, but they have been incorporated to the system, following the principles of energetics, which assigns an energetic quality, (hot, warm, neutral, cool, cold) to each food, which is determined by its particular action on the body. For example, if you eat ginger, you feel its hot energy in your mouth or you might even break a sweat, therefore ginger has a hot energy assigned to it. Then there is taste (sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, salty) which have particular affinity for a certain organ or system in our body, for instance, bitter tastes support digestion and some have descending action, like coffee, which might get your gut moving. So, to heal with food, you must apply the principles of using opposites to clear the imbalance: if someone has heartburn (Heat), you might eat some Bok Choy, which has a cool energy.
Within this system, Avocados are considered to have a Cool energy and a Sweet taste. They nourish the Yin, the feminine energy, which is responsible for things like: deep, restorative sleep, soft skin, lubricated joints, abundance of body fluids, to name a few. It moistens skin, lungs and intestines. And it might help treat things like: Anemia, palpitations, constipation, dry stools, dry skin, dry cough, PMS and menopausal hot flashes. Due to its high Folate, Vitamin E and Vitamin B6 content it’s an amazing ally for women in general and specifically for those trying to conceive.
Here are some recipes you could try to ease Anemia, Constipation or hot flashes:
- Anemia: eat ½ an avocado daily for one month and retest to monitor progress.
- Constipation: make a shake with ½ avocado, 1 banana, ½ cup yogurt, almond milk, 1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder (optional) and drink for breakfast. If you are dairy free, sub the yogurt for coconut yogurt and or collagen peptides.
- Menopausal hot flashes: blend 1 avocado with 1 cup soy milk and 1 date or ½ banana. Freeze and eat 1 scoop daily until hot flashes abate.
Always consult your primary care doctor, before trying anything new.
So, there you have a few more reasons to love this SoCal favorite. Happy Avocado day and don’t forget to add it to your next salad or burrito!