Joanne Smith and Kylie JamesDid you know that “avocado” comes from the Aztec word meaning testicle? Different theories exist on whether this refers to the fruit’s gonad-like shape (and that they grow in pairs) or their alleged aphrodisiac qualities. Regardless of which reference is accurate, I highly recommend that people with SCI eat more of them.

People with SCI are at risk of dyslipidemia. Dyslipidemia means the fat (lipid) levels in your blood are either too high or too low. Studies demonstrate that people with SCI tend to have low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol; elevated levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol (which contributes to plaque formation in the arteries); and elevated levels of triglycerides (which also contribute to plaque formation in the arteries). These lipid imbalances increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and inflammation, the latter of which in turn can contribute to pain, digestive dysfunction and lowered immunity. Avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fats, which not only help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol, but their good fats support the cardiovascular system and help reduce inflammation.

This love fruit’s high B-vitamin and potassium content also boosts energy levels and supports nerve and muscle function respectively. Amazingly, per ounce, avocados provide more fiber than other fruits — up to a whopping 12 grams per fruit — to help keep your bowel management programs moving smoothly.

Research shows when added to green salads avocados increase the absorption of two key carotenoid antioxidants — lycopene and beta-carotene — by 200-400 percent. So go ahead and add some testicles to your smoothie, slice them in a salad, or mash them on toast!

Can Avocados Help You Lose Weight?

In one study described on authoritynutrition.com, people were split into groups: “One group was instructed to eat a meal that contained avocado, the other a similar meal without avocado. Then they were asked a series of questions related to hunger and satiety. The people eating the avocado felt 23 percent more satisfied and had a 28 percent lower desire to eat over the next five hours. If this holds true in the long-term, then including avocados in your diet could help you naturally eat fewer calories and have an easier time sticking to a healthy diet. Avocados are also high in fiber, and very low in carbs, two attributes that should also help promote weight loss, at least in the context of a healthy, real food-based diet.”


avocados and SCIAvocados on Toast

1 small avocado
1/3 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. Truffle oil
1 slice whole grain toast

Toast whole grain bread.
Cut avocado in half and remove pit.
Squeeze avocado meat onto toast.
Sprinkle garlic onto avocado.
Drizzle with truffle oil (to taste).

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Joanne Smith and Kylie James are co-authors of the book Eat Well Live Well with SCI and Other Neurological Conditions. For more information on nutrition for neurological injuries, go to www.eatwelllivewellwithsci.com.