Duchess Kate loves avocados – they banish wrinkles, ease stress and boost brain power

Avocado has become a favourite brunch option in recent years, threatening to overtake the classic English fry-up. But it’s not just our taste buds that love them – avocados are smashing it in terms of health.

Even Kate Middleton is a fan – and during her morning sickness struggle with Prince Louis, Prince William was offered an avocado by a sweet lad whose mum was suffering, too.

During a royal visit in 2017, Prince William was offered to give the avocado to his pregnant wife. He then said: “I’ve never been given an avocado before. That’s really sweet of you. Catherine will love the avocado.”

Despite their relatively high calorie and fat content, especially when compared with other fruits (yes, they’re a fruit, not a vegetable), a recent study revealed that women who ate avocado every day for 12 weeks lost “visceral” belly fat.

This is the hidden type of fat that surrounds our internal organs and is more harmful to health than any of the fat we can actually see. And it’s the monounsaturated fats and fibre found in avocados that most likely explain this benefit, according to boffins.

Sound good? Well, here are some other little-known health benefits they offer…

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Heroes for heart health

An avo a day may keep the heart doctor away Why? Because they have been shown to increase HDL, or good cholesterol – the type that protects our heart and blood vessels. Some studies also show a link to lower levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides, which is good news as raised levels of these increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Avocado’s heart-friendly quality is probably down to a combo of monounsaturated fats, fibre and compounds called phytosterols, such as beta-sitosterol, which help to block absorption of cholesterol from the intestine.

Easing blood pressure

Together with reducing salt, eating more potassium-rich foods will help keep your blood pressure within healthy limits. Bananas are often considered the potassium champion – but avocados are equally good. One medium-sized banana and half a medium avocado provide around 330mg of potassium each, though some varieties contain even more. Gem avocados, for example, are larger and richer in potassium with half of one providing 695mg – 35% of the recommended daily intake.

B for brains

Avocados provide folate and vitamins B5 and B6. Low intakes of these B vitamins have been linked to depression, anxiety and stress, while lower intakes of folate and vitamin B6 have been linked to cognitive decline in older people.

Valuable for vision

Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been linked with a lower risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Diets rich in monounsaturated fats have also been found to protect against age-related eye problems.

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Super for skin

You’ll find vitamin E in avocados, an antioxidant that helps to protect cells, including skin cells, from the type of damage often caused by the sun’s UV rays. And taking in good levels of monounsaturated fats has also been linked to having fewer wrinkles. Win-win!

Nutrient boosters

Avocado lovers tend to have better diets overall. One study found they eat more fruit, veg, unsaturated fats, fibre, potassium, magnesium and vitamins E and K than avo-avoiders – and less sugar. The fat in avocados also helps us absorb nutrients like beta-carotene (which the body uses to produce vitamin A), lycopene and lutein. Adding half an avocado to a salad of lettuce, carrot and spinach means adults can absorb almost 14 times more beta-carotene and four times more lutein.

2022 food heroes

Look what’s joining avocado on the superfoods list, according to supermarket chain Whole Foods

Yuzu: Associated with Japanese cuisine, the aromatic citrus fruit is set to gain popularity. But rather than eating the whole fruit, it’s the juice and zest that are commonly used in dishes. High in antioxidants and vitamin C, studies suggest an essential oil derived from the fragrant fruit could be an effective stress reliever.

Hibiscus: Already familiar in teas, this flower is breaking into fruit spreads and yoghurts. It packs a big vitamin C punch and is loaded with antioxidants. The science also points to its benefits for cholesterol and blood pressure levels, while its “powers” as a natural diuretic, removing excess water and sodium from the body, have not gone unnoticed.

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Moringa: A plant native to North India, where it’s traditionally used as a herbal remedy, moringa has a concentrated dose of vitamins and minerals. Already sold in powdered form in health food stores, or as dried-leaf tea, 2022 will see it used in desserts, protein bars and grain blends. Oil made from its seeds is also heart-healthy and could soon join the bottles of almond and walnut oils.

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