Sometimes nature can be a little too perfect.
Mother nature seems to have made sure some foods look like the body part they’re good for.
For example, if you’re looking to improve brain function, walnuts are the way to go.
If it’s a decent erection you want, experts recommend eating bananas.
So it’s perhaps no surprise that pregnant women are being advised to eat more of that oh-so pregnant fruit – avocado.
Avocado is a superfood that shows no sign of letting up. In fact, the known benefits of eating this fruit just keep racking up.
Avocados are full of good fats, high in dietary fibre and a great source of folate. Folate is especially important during early pregnancy, because it can reduce the risk of birth defects.
You can find out more about folate rich foods here.
Study Recommends Eating Avocados During Pregnancy
A new study, published in the journal Nutrients, looked at the role of avocados in the diets of pregnant and lactating women.
According to the study:
“Avocados are unique among fruits and vegetables in that, by weight, they contain much higher amounts of the key nutrients folate and potassium, which are normally under-consumed in maternal diets.
“Avocados also contain higher amounts of several non-essential compounds, such as fiber, mono-unsaturated fats, and lipid-soluble antioxidants, which have all been linked to improvements in maternal health, birth outcomes and/or breast milk quality“.
Currently, US dietary advice applies only to those aged two years and above. However, it is known that maternal diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding can have a huge impact on the health of both mother and baby.
Official dietary advice for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers will be issued by 2020.
The new study analysed existing research into the health benefits of avocados to determine whether they should be included in the new dietary guidelines.
The study authors concluded:
“Avocados are a unique nutrient-rich plant-based food that contain many of the critical nutrients for fetal and infant health and development. They fit within the guidelines for a Mediterranean-style diet (that is, they contain MUFA, fiber, antioxidants, and are low-glycemic), which is known to be beneficial for disease reduction in most populations, including pregnant and lactating populations.
“Based on this review, avocados offer a range of beneficial nutrients that can make a substantial contribution to a nutrient-rich diet, when offered as a staple food for the periconceptional period, as well as during pregnancy and lactation”.
How Many Avocados Should I Eat Per Day?
Reproductive specialist and nutritionist Doctor Andrew Orr says, “You actually can’t eat too many of them! They are full of good fats (omega oils), protein, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and more. They’re great as a meal on their own, in green smoothies, desserts, dips… I love using them for breakfast!”
He adds, “On a traditional Chinese medicine level, avocado is nourishing to both the womb and the baby. Avocado should definitely be eaten during pregnancy – and it’s a great food for fertility too“.
Five Delicious Ways To Eat Avocado
Now you know that avocado is good for you and baby, you might want to try to include more of this wonder fruit in your diet. Here are five quick and easy ways to enjoy avocado:
#1: Avocado On Toast
This is a super simple breakfast idea that will fill you up, give you a boost of vitamins and keep you away from the sugary cereals lurking in your kitchen cupboards.
Simply mash or slice the avocado on toast. Opt for wholegrain bread, which has a lower GI and contains more fibre. Or skip the bread altogether (especially if you have gestational diabetes or want to avoid it) and add avocado into any of these healthy breakfast ideas.
#2: Avocado Salad
Avocado is the perfect ingredient in your summer salad. A salad is a great lunch option. It will boost your intake of vitamins and minerals throughout the day.
You probably already have a list of salad staples, including tomato, cucumber and leafy greens. Adding avocados to the mix will make that salad even healthier.
The soft texture of the avocado tastes great in salad, especially alongside crunchier salad foods, such as celery and radish.
#3: Roasted Avocado
If you’re looking for healthy dinner options that taste good and fill you up, then look no further.
Avocado might not seem like the type of food you can roast, but try it once and you’ll never look back. It tastes great on top of a jacket sweet potato.
Simply peel and chop the avocado and place in a roasting tray, along with some vegetables such as red onion, olives and cherry tomatoes. Put a blob of coconut oil on top, and then roast, at 180 degrees, for about 25 minutes.
Serve with your jacket sweet potato and voilà, a hassle-free and healthy dinner for you to enjoy.
It wouldn’t be possible to write a list of avocado dishes without including guacamole. This tasty dip is easy to create and full of goodness. Simply mash up an avocado, then add some lime and salt to taste (or skip the salt altogether). Serve with vegetable crudites, breadsticks, crackers or tortillas.
#5: Baked Egg In An Avocado
For a delicious, nutritious breakfast, or just as a snack, baked eggs in avocados pack a nutritious punch! They are loaded with protein to keep you full and your blood sugar levels stable, as well as good fats to nourish your brain. It just doesn’t get any better than this!
Remove the stone, and place the avocado halves on a baking tray. To make sure they are stable and won’t tip over you might need to slice off a little skin from the bottom. Scoop out a little avocado flesh if you need to make the hole a little bigger.
Crack two eggs into a bowl, making sure the yolks don’t break. Gently spoon the yolks into the centre of the avocado halves, then add egg white until each hole is full. Bake at 220C (425F) until the eggs are cooked, which will be around 15 or 20 minutes. You might like to season with salt, pepper, chives or anything you like. You can also top them with some bacon or salsa. Enjoy this creamy, delicious treat!