Avocados are native to Central America and are now grown in most tropical and subtropical countries. Avocados are known as a rich creamy fruit, which is often mistakenly related to putting on weight. Actually, avocados contain a natural source of monounsaturated fat, which makes it heart healthy - of course, as with all things, everything in moderation! The monounsaturated fats (oleic acid) in avocados helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and maintains HDL (good) cholesterol.

Nutritional Benefits Related to Eating Avocados

  • As mentioned, avocados contain monounsaturated fats. This can also help control diabetes. Research has found that by using avocados as a primary source of fat in your diet, diabetes sufferers can lower triglycerides by up to 20%.
  • Avocados contain a huge source of fibre. One Avocado has up to 10 grams of fibre and may help to prevent certain types of cancer, particularly colon cancer.
  • Avocados help regulate blood pressure as they contain a good source of potassium and are low in sodium. Adequate intake of potassium can help protect you against circulatory diseases, such as blood pressure, heart disease or stroke. An avocado is higher in potassium than a medium banana.
  • Avocados are rich in folate. One avocado a day can provide almost 30% of the recommended daily dosage. Folate is important for heart health. Studies have shown that woman who have folate rich diets have a much low chance of cardiovascular disease, and a lower chance of heart attacks or fatal heart disease. Also folate helps prevent life threatening birth defects of the spine and brain.
  • Avocados are a good source of Vitamin E, which is essential for the normal functioning of the body. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant which protects polyunsaturated fatty acids in cell membranes from free radical attacks. (free radicals are associated with the beginning of cancer and heart disease).
  • Avocados contain good amounts of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant which prevents viruses from penetrating cell membranes and is necessary for the production of collagen. Collagen is needed for the growth of new tissues and cells.
  • Avocados also contain thiamine and riboflavin. Thiamine converts carbohydrate to glucose to fuel the brain and nervous system and riboflavin helps the body to release energy from proteins, carbohydrates and fat.
  • Avocados will aid in the healing of digestive and circulatory problems.
  • Avocados provide more than 25 essential nutrients.
  • Avocados are traditionally used to heal skin problems. Avocado paste can be applied to rashes and rough skin to make it smoother or even be applied to soothe sunburnt skin.
  • Avocados also contains vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, copper, calcium, iron and magnesium.
  • Avocados contain enzymes called chitinases that can cause allergic reactions in people with a sensitivity to latex (this also applies to bananas and chestnuts). Non-organic avocados are processed with ethylene gas that increases these enzymes; organic produce is not treated with ethylene gas and therefore has fewer allergy-causing compounds, but it is still recommended that if you have a latex sensitivity that you proceed with caution.
  • Non organic avocados are also sprayed with petroleum based fertilizers such as neurotoxic malathion.

How to select and store Avocados
  • Avocados do not ripen until picked, so fresh ones will be as hard as rocks.
  • Choose heavy, unblemished avocado that has a slight neck, rather than being round at the top.
  • Avoid any with bruises or soft spots and those with a hollow between the flesh and skin.
  • A ripe, ready to eat avocado is slightly soft but should not have dark sunken spots or cracks.
  • If firm, place in a paper bag at room temperature with a apple or banana, away from direct sunlight and it will be ready to eat in a few days. As the fruit ripens, the skin will turn darker.
  • Never refrigerate avocados until ripe as this will make the ripening process significantly slower.
  • Once ripe, if uncut, they can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.
The brighter the fruit, the more beta carotene (helps prevent cancer) your avocado contains. Using fresh avocados as a spread and as a substitute for butter on sandwiches and toast may help you reduce calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol and remember if you are recuperating from sickness and trying to regain strength, eat an avocado everyday, this will improve your health.

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Why Choose Certified Organic Milk?

Posted on December 7, 2006 by Sarmaad

When you choose organic milk in preference to conventional alternatives, not only are you drinking the most nutritious milk available, but you are also supporting an entire farming process which places emphasis on treating animals humanely and with respect; minimizes environmental impact and also reduces the presence of synthetic chemicals in milk and other foods.

What are the benefits of organic milk?
Did you known that drinking about 500mL (1/2 litre) of organic milk a day provides 17.5% of the required intake of vitamin E for women and 14% for men, and as much beta carotene as a portion of some vegetables?

Research has found that organic milk -

  • Contains 50% more vitamin E ( protects against damage caused by free radicals which cause ageing);
  • 75% more beta carotene (which is converted into Vitamin A in the body. A powerful antioxidant which may reduce the risk of cancer);
  • Has a better ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6;
  • 71% more Omega 3 essential fatty acids (Omega 3 fatty acids plays an important role in lowering inflammatory health conditions, such as heart disease, joint pain and arthritis). They are also very important for supple and flexible joints, healthy growth and strong bones and teeth and also foetal brain development. Omega 3 fatty acids cannot be made from the body and must be obtained from our food source;
  • Contains no pesticides, hormones or antibiotic residues;
  • Contains higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) 2 which helps boost the immune system;
  • Two to three times higher levels of antioxidant lutein and zeaxanthine.
Conventional farms are usually large and are often extremely overcrowded. They aim to harvest the milk in the most cost effective way and they tend to feed and manage the cows in such a way that they push them into production levels beyond their natural capacity. These unnatural and intensive methods can cause stress to the animals and can also cause health breakdowns.

Organic farming however, follows standards that focus on protecting animals, human health and the environment around us. Cows have access to fresh air and green pastures, they eat a natural diet grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, there is a higher use of fresh grass, clover pasture and grass clover silage and there is no use of artificial hormones.

Pesticides and Organics
  • Certified organic farms do not use any artificial pesticides (insecticides, fungicides or herbicides) on pastures where cows graze.
  • In 2001 a government report in the UK revealed that a toxic pesticide called Lindane was found in 8% of non-organic milk. Lindane is a hormone disrupter linked to birth-defects, sexual abnormalities, reproductive failure and breast cancer.
  • The same report revealed that earlier samples of conventional butter had contained traces of the chemical DDT, which can affect the nervous system and is possibly a cause of cancer in humans. No pesticide residue traces were found in any of the organic dairy samples tested.
  • Many believe that the rise in incidents of allergies is due to over exposure to chemicals including pesticides.
  • Fertility problems may also be linked to pesticides as the residue is suspected to be a chemical linked to hormone disruption.
  • Did you know that our bodies contain traces of at least 300-500 potentially harmful chemicals absorbed from the foods we eat?
Antibiotics and Organics
  •  Antibiotics are only used on organic farms when it is completely necessary and only after all natural alternatives have been exhausted. The cow is then quarantined for three months before she is allowed to rejoin the herd. If the cow is not responding to treatment she is removed from the herd.
  • Conventional farms routinely treat cows with antibiotics as a preventative measure, whether they are sick or not! Could this be a cause for the increased antibiotic resistance in humans?
GMO and Organics
  • The feed for organic dairy cows is free from GMOs and solvent extracts and urea.
BSE and Organics
  • Organic cows are never given any animal-derivatives in their feed which was thought to be the source of BSE. No case of BSE has ever been found in an organically born and raised dairy cow.
Remember what goes into the cows mouth gets processed into milk. Organic milk may be more expensive but think about the long term health benefits. As soon as these findings are further substantiated, the price of milk will go down because the demand will go up!

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