We all know that guac is extra. But trust us, it's definitely worth the additional cash—and not just because it makes a mega burrito.
The skin of an avocado might be a little bumpy and wrinkly, but the fruit known as the "alligator pear" maybe your best ally when it comes to keeping a clear complexion, luscious locks, and a trim figure.
Avocados are nutritionally dense—high in omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K1, and vitamin B-6, 71 percent of the fats in avocado come solely from monounsaturated fatty acids. Sure, it makes the buttery, pale green fruit a little more calorically dense, but the beauty benefits of the vitamins and minerals more than make up for a few extra calories.
Here are just a few of the ways this miracle fruit can keep you looking picture perfect.
Glowing skin that repairs itself
Antioxidants, those super compounds that protect cells by neutralizing external factors like sun damage and internal factors like poor nutrition, are the body's first line of defense against damage. Skin, in particular, relies heavily on antioxidants to look and feel nourished and youthful, and the best way to power up on antioxidants is to eat them. Vitamins A, C, E and lycopene are all considered antioxidants that can help revive and protect your complexion from the inside out, and they're found in abundance in avocados and other fresh fruits and veggies.
According to Vanderbilt University, these antioxidants protect against free radicals that weaken and damage skin cells, contributing to skin looking more aged and worn. Worried about particularly nasty sunburn from this summer that resulted in lingering freckles and spots? Upping your antioxidant intake can reverse damage and even help protect skin from future damage—but that doesn't mean you can skip the sunscreen!
A naturally moisturized and dewy complexion
Culturally, the word "fat" isn't often synonymous with beauty. The good-for-you fats in avocado are out to change this stereotype, though. It's time to put down the nonfat yogurt and start believing in the power of healthy fats! Integrating these nutrients into a balanced diet can treat and correct acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis by creating a healthy and strong barrier around skin cells, as a University of Connecticut study discovered. Plus, omega-3 fatty acids and other monounsaturated fats can decrease inflammation in the body, a condition that often causes skin issues to crop up.
Plus, omega-3s could prove even more essential to skin than we currently realize. One Australian study suggests that an intake of omega-3 fatty acids might even be linked lower risk of developing skin cancer, which could have something to do with the protection that fatty acids offer skin cells.
Thicker hair without Rogaine
Some 95 percent of men experience hair thinning and loss in their lives—but instead of resigning themselves to a shiny-headed fate, they can try eating more avocado. The water-soluble vitamin niacin is integral to circulation and maintaining the structure of blood cells, which carry nutrition and oxygen throughout the body. Predominately found in animal products, avocado is a vegan-friendly source of niacin that can help hair grow longer and thicker.
Eating avocado increases your odds of living a healthier life overall
Turns out that those who opt for avocado in their salads, sandwiches, and tacos are more likely to eat a more balanced diet and be healthier in general. In fact, those who noshed on the high-fat food were 50 percent less likely to develop metabolic syndromes that could result in obesity or diabetes. It's unclear why adding avocado has these effects, but it could be because avocado consumers are filling up on good fats and fiber, leaving them less hungry for junk food.
Guacamole lovers have long said that avocados might be the perfect food, and we have to agree: With all of this fruit's beautiful benefits, you have every reason to load up on extra avocado!
Photo credit: Paul Delmont