Avocados: Heart-Healthy Aphrodisiac!

Photo: Joseph A. Garcia

Avocados, a staple in Mexico, Central and South America were considered an aphrodisiac by the Aztecs, who called the pear-shaped fruit ‘ahuacate.’  Avocados were first grown in the US early in 20th century.

In the 1920’s farmers changed the name to avocado because ‘ahuacate’ was difficult for Americans to pronounce. Worse yet, it is the Aztec word for testicle. As it turns out, the ancient Aztecs may have been onto something!

Few would argue that good health is essential for good sex. Food affects how we feel and function and one of the best ways to build sexual health is through good nutrition.  Avocados contain many nutrients considered essential to sexual health, such as vitamin E,  sometimes called the ‘sex vitamin,’ because it is believed to promote the production of sex hormones, which support attraction, mood and desire. Avocados are also rich in vitamin B6 and potassium, essential for the body to produce sex hormones.

It’s true that avocados are high in fat, however most of the fat in avocados is monounsaturated like that found in olive oil, which can actually help lower blood cholesterol.1 Avocados are a good source of potassium and folate, nutrients important to circulation and heart health and good circulation is essential for erectile health.

Avocados are rich in phytonutrients including cholesterol lowering beta-sitosterol2 and the antioxidant glutathione.  Evidence suggests that beta-sitosterol may also help prevent certain cancers, including prostate cancer.3

The avocado is a fruit that is often thought of as a vegetable and adds a creamy texture and rich green hue to dips, salads and sandwiches.

Chunky Avocado Salsa combines diced avocado with colorful tomatoes, red bell peppers and chilies. Researchers have found that avocado enhances the absorption of phytonutrients in carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables, such as bell peppers and tomatoes.4

**Individuals with a latex allergy should avoid avocados as they may experience a reaction (sometimes severe), caused by the similarity of allergens in avocados and natural latex.

Chunky Avocado Salsa

This delicious dip gets its zip from tasty and convenient Mexican Stewed Tomatoes and is lower in fat than traditional guacamole.
6 Servings

2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium scallions with 2” green, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1 stalk celery, chopped
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup diced jicama
1 (or 2) serrano pepper, chopped (to taste)
1 ripe large Hass avocado, diced
Juice of one lime
1 (14
½ oz. can) Mexican stewed tomatoes, diced
½ cup fresh or frozen white corn
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Hot Pepper Sauce, to taste

In a medium bowl, combine garlic, scallions, celery, bell pepper, jicama,* chilies, avocado and limejuice. Add tomatoes, corn, cilantro and hot pepper sauce.  Serve immediately.

*Jicama is a round root vegetable with mild flavored, crunchy white flesh. Simply peel away the brown skin and dice.

Chunky Avocado Salsa

Nutrition Analysis per serving: One cup
Calories 85, Protein 2g, Carbohydrate 13g, Fiber 4g, Total Fat 4g,
Sat Fat .5g,  Cholesterol 0 mg, Calcium 30 mg, Sodium 262 mg.

Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV. Her latest book is The Skinny on Soy.  Follow Marie on Facebook and Twitter


Sources:

  1. Lopez Ledesma, R; Frati Munari, A C : Hernandez Dominguez, B C : Cervantes Montalvo, S : Hernandez Luna, M H : Juarez, C : Moran Lira, S (1996 Winter). Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia. Arch-Med-Res. 27 (4): 519–23.
  2. Avocado Fruit is a Rich Source of Beta-Sitosterol Duester, Karen C.  J Am Dietetic Assoc (April 2001) 101 (4): 404-405
  3. Von Holtz RL, et. al., beta-Sitosterol activates the sphingomyelin cycle and induces apoptosis in LNCaP human prostate cancer cells. Nutr Cancer 1998;32(1):8-12.
  4. N. Z. Unlu, T. Bohn, S. K. Clinton, and S. J. Schwartz Carotenoid Absorption from Salad and Salsa by Humans Is Enhanced by the Addition of Avocado or Avocado Oil
    J. Nutr., March 1, 2005; 135(3): 431 – 436.