As most of my patients know, I believe that good nutrition is an integral part of a healthy life, and I frequently make dietary recommendations based on Traditional Chinese Nutritional theory to complement acupuncture sessions or Chinese Herbal formulas. And, as can be expected, I get a lot of questions about what I eat, what I don’t eat, what I myself do, nutrition-wise. And so today’s blog will share about my all-time favorite food, one of the staples of my diet: Avocado.
Aside from being delicious, avocado is a fruit that is packed full of nutritious fats, oils, and vitamins. It is high in copper, which helps the body to produce healthy red blood cells. It also contains high quantities of lecithin, a fat that is essential to the body’s cells. Lecithin has been used medicinally to treat memory disorders, high cholesterol, anxiety and depression, and liver disease. Avocados are good sources of protein, fiber, potassium, and vitamins C, K, folate, and B6. Perhaps one of the best health benefits of avocado is that it is a wonderful source of healthy fats. The oils in avocado are easily digested and promote heart health.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), all foods have inherent qualities that are as innate to their existence as their shape, color, smell, or flavor. Avocados are a cooling food in TCM, making them ideal for summer eating. Avocados are lubricating by nature, particularly to the lungs and the intestines. This means they can be used therapeutically for a chronic dry cough or chronic constipation. Avocados are also sweet in nature, which makes them nourishing to our body’s energy systems. They specifically are nourishing to the yin and blood energies in our bodies – this makes them a great food for anyone suffering from menopause, irregular menstruation, insomnia, leg cramping, memory problems, or anxiety. Avocados also “harmonize” the liver energy in our bodies. The liver is in charge of smoothly circulating energy – and through its actions on the liver system, avocado can help with symptoms of stagnation such as tight neck and shoulders, frustration or irritability, headaches, symptoms of stress, and fatigue. Because it works on both the liver and the blood, avocado is a wonderful therapeutic food for most women’s health issues.
Topically, the oils from the avocado moisten and strengthen the skin (which is why avocado is frequently used in skin care products.) Because of its cooling nature, it can be applied topically to eczema, rashes, and other red or dry skin disorders.
So eat up! Cut up avocado and include it in a summer salad. Whip up some home-made guacamole for your next social event. Or my favorite, spread avocado on hearty toast in the morning for a nutrition-packed way to start your day. Your body will thank you.