8 Cool Things You Can Do With Avocados
Last Updated: Mar 25, 2016
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Avocados are one of the few foods that dieters of all kinds can agree on: Their uber-healthy reputation comes from the many vitamins, minerals and healthy fats found in its delicious pulp. "Avocados are a nutrient-packed food, with nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients," said Seattle Nutritionist Minh-Hai Alex, MS, RD, CEDRD. "They’re best known for being a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which also makes them a very unique fruit." But elevating a turkey sandwich is just the beginning -- its mild flavor makes it an ideal replacement in recipes that asking for mayonnaise or vegetable oil. But did you know that avocados can also be used to exfoliate skin, improve hair texture and even dye fabric? Learn how to make the most of this superfood’s potential!
EXFOLIATE DEAD SKIN
Both the outside of the peel and the pit can be used to exfoliate skin all over your body. "I use the skin of the avocado to rub into the rough skin on my elbows and feet," says Dr. Icenhower. Another option is to dry out the pit for three days, then grind until it is a fine consistency. Do not add water. Once the pit is the right texture, add it to your facial cleanser in a small bowl. Rub on your face to clear your pores of build up and get an overall healthy glow then rinse.
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When boiled in a pot of water, avocado pits release minerals that create a liquid dye, as vibrant as the commercial products available at fabric stores. The color is a surprisingly edgy pink, varying in tone from dusty sunrise to russet red, depending on how long the fabric is left in the dye. It is easy to make and do; you just need a few avocado pits to get it going. Start by boiling them in a non-reactive stainless-steel pot, letting them simmer for 20 to 60 minutes until the water reaches the hue you want. Soak cotton fabric in the water for as long as it takes to achieve your desired tone. Find full instructions on Cuesa.org.
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MOISTURIZE YOUR FACE
DIY facemasks are an inexpensive way to deeply moisturize your face. "It makes sense that avocado is great to try on skin since it’s a rich source of vitamin E," says Minh-Hai Alex. Simply open an avocado and smash. Adding other ingredients from your kitchen will supplement its effect: Honey is a natural anti-bacterial agent and loaded with antioxidants. Egg whites contain collagen and protein, both building blocks for plump, younger-looking skin. And olive oil helps remove old makeup, plus acts as an intense moisturizer. Combine some or all of these ingredients with the mashed avocado to give your skin a quick pick-me-up.
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WHIP UP A CREAMY SALAD DRESSING
Forget ranch – a creamy avocado dressing is guaranteed to be your new salad topper with extra benefits. "The dietary fat in avocado helps maximize the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, such as the alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and vitamin E in avocado," says Minh-Hai Alex. "This also makes them an especially nutritious addition to salads, because they help absorb the other nutrients in the salad." Blend up an avocado dressing using simple ingredients you probably have on hand, like soy sauce, garlic, honey, lime or lemon juice. The result can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week in the fridge.
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GRIND THE PIT INTO A SMOOTHIE
The avocado pit (or seed) usually goes straight in the compost pile or trashcan. But you may be losing out on another healthful source of micronutrients if you do that. "The pit is rich in nutrients and contains higher levels of antioxidants and soluble fiber than the pulp of the avocado. (It) may help decrease cholesterol and supports healthy digestion," says Minh-Hai Alex. "The research on the clinical use of avocado pits is in its infancy, but if you want to be adventurous and try adding it in to your smoothie—go for it!" Dry out the pit first for three days then break it up into large chunks using a knife. Grind in a high-powered blender until it is a fine powder. Add your favorite smoothie components, and you’ll have a cutting-edge healthy meal.
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MAKE A DAIQUIRI OR SMOOTHIE
Avocados and alcohol? At first glance, a dubious pairing. But this creamy cocktail is ubiquitous in many parts of Mexico, and it's slowly making its way to the United States. It contains all of the nutrients of the pulp, but in a delicious mixed drink that’s decadent and heart-smart at the same time. "Eating the fruit reduces inflammation and is high in fat soluble antioxidants as well as loaded with minerals such as magnesium and B Vitamins," says Colorado naturopathic physician Dr. Bella K. Icenhower, ND. Made using rum, simple syrup, lemon and lime juice, the avocado daiquiri gets even healthier when you sub the cream for coconut milk. Or, try it in a smoothie, which may sound strange at first, but is a great way to add healthy fats to your smoothie. In fact, in countries like Brazil, avocado is generally used in sweets and desserts rather than savory foods.
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CONDITION YOUR HAIR
Avocados are high in fat and Vitamins B and E, both of which are great for damaged hair. The nutrients soak into the cuticles, making hair less dry and susceptible to breakage with the end result being the shiny, soft finish of a professional hair treatment, made at home with a grocery store price tag. Blend avocado with olive oil and lemon juice and leave on hair for 15 minutes. Shampoo and condition lightly, then style as usual.
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MAKE IT YOUR MAYO
Making your own avocado-based mayonnaise will yield a creamy, rich sandwich topping, filled with healthy, plant-based ingredients. Store-bought mayonnaise uses eggs and commercial vegetable oil, which make it high in fat and calories. The same amount of DIY avocado mayonnaise not only has fewer calories and fat, it is a completely unprocessed whole food. Make it using avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt.
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