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The Skinny on Avocados

Despite the fact that I regularly have access to samples of new hair products that companies want me to recommend, my favorite deep conditioner remains half of a very ripe avocado, pureed with one tablespoon of olive oil and applied to dry hair. I don a plastic shower cap and then a baseball cap over the whole ensemble, and then I head out to walk my dog for an hour and generate some heat to improve penetration of the oils into the hair. (No, no, please don't run into me on the street on Hair Conditioning Day. Well, if you do, at least now you will know why I smell so fruity.) After an hour, I shampoo out the goop, and my naturally dry, curly hair is soft and shiny.

Here are some other great benefits of avocados:

Breast Cancer Protection
Avocado, like olive oil, is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies.

Eye Health
Avocados have more of the carotenoid lutein than any other commonly consumed fruit. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts, two disabling age-related eye diseases.

Lower Cholesterol
Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a compound that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. In one study, 45 volunteers experienced an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocados for only one week.

Heart Health
One cup of avocado has 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. Studies show that people who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower incidence of heart disease than those who don't. The vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione in avocado are also great for your heart.

Stroke Prevention
The high levels of folate in avocado are also protective against strokes. People who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower risk of stroke than those who don't.

Better Nutrient Absorption
Research has found that certain nutrients are absorbed better when eaten with avocado. In one study, when participants ate a salad containing avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes lycopene and beta carotene) than those who didn't include avocados.

Glutathione Source
Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, an important antioxidant that researchers say is important in preventing aging, cancer, and heart disease.

Vitamin E Powerhouse
Avocados are the best fruit source of vitamin E, an essential vitamin that protects against many diseases and helps maintains overall health.

And you? How do you like your avocados?



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