You have just heard the words Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease from your doctor for the first time. To make matters worse, he said you have it and that it’s a chronic disease. This means you are going to have to learn to live with it for the rest of your life. However, it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. By making some simple changes, you can continue to live a full and normal life.
To help you make sense of Crohn’s Disease and the treatment thereof, we’ve put together a guide to answer all the important questions you might have. We will also explain why food, and specifically avocado, should be your main weapon to fight the disease. You will learn how something as simple as ordering an avocado box can go a long way in relieving your symptoms and maintaining good health. Here’s how an avocado delivery can change your life.
The Avocado – Superfood Against Crohn’s Disease
Yes, the avocado deserves to be singled out. More and more patients with Crohn’s disease are talking about the benefits a diet high in avocado is having on their overall health. One of them is the blogger Ragamuffin, a “neuroscience and chemistry addict” with a PhD who has been writing about his battle between following an academic career and living with Crohn’s disease.
“Soluble fiber and easily digested raw fats are the best friends a Crohnie can have – and the avocado exudes these,” is how he sums up the benefits of avocado on his diet.
“The reason why it (avocado) is always one of the first solid foods I reintroduce after a flare is a widely known secret my pediatric nutritionist shared with me: vitamin A.” Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant. Avocados contain carotenoids, the precursors to vitamin A. A study where avocado was included in meals containing other carotenoid-rich foods, showed that two to six times more carotenoids were absorbed as a result of the added avocado. It also enhanced the conversion of specific carotenoids, specifically beta-carotene, into active vitamin A.
Ragamuffin considers avocado to be the most helpful food following a flare. It not only helps with the absorption of nutrients, but the water-soluble fiber in the fruit transforms in a fermentation process which gelatinizes and helps roughage move along in the digestive tract (Rose et al, 2007).
Ragamuffin is not the only one reporting about the health benefits of avocado. More and more studies are confirming the fact that the fruit contains a myriad of nutrients that are extremely good for you.
The fruit in an avocado box is nutrient dense. One cup cubed avocado provides more than 20% of the daily recommended dietary allowances (RDA) of the following: Pantothenic Acid (42%), Fibre (40%), Vitamin K (35%), Copper (31%), Folate (30%), Vitamin B6 (23%), Potassium (21%), Vitamin E (21%) and Vitamin C (20%).
Healthy Fats The texture alone is an indication that avocados are high in fat. In fact, fat accounts for about 80% of the total number of calories in an avocado. The good news is that it’s mostly monounsaturated fat – almost 15 of the 22 grams of fat found in one cup of avocado is monounsaturated. This type of fat is proved to have a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels, improving cardiovascular health.
In addition to the high percentage of monounsaturated fats, there are other unique fat qualities attributed to avocados. They provide us with a wide range of phytonutrients, including phytosterols. These are a special group of fats with important anti-inflammatory benefits. Imagine arriving home from school and have your avocado delivery, with all its superfood properties, waiting for you.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is one of two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The other is ulcerative colitis. IBD causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, with Crohn’s disease affecting any part of the tract from the mouth to the anus. According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Association of America (CCFA), the disease was named after Dr. Burril B. Crohn, a leading gastroenterologist who described the disease for the first time way back in 1932. Today, an estimated 10 to 70 people out of 100,000 are living with Crohn’s disease, although some studies in North America have shown a prevalence of as high as 200 per 100,000 people. In general, IBD affects approximately 1,6 million Americans. People between the ages of 20 and 40 are most likely to be diagnosed with Crohn’s, although children and teenagers may also develop the disease. In fact, it is estimated that at least 80,000 of IBD patients in the U.S. are under 18.
What Causes Crohn’s Disease?
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is still unknown. What is important to know is that there is nothing that you did or didn’t do to get the disease. It is also not contagious. Specialists at the University of Maryland Medical Center sites research that blames a faulty immune system response that is triggered by a virus or bacteria. Furthermore, genetics have been proven to play a role, with about 25% of people with Crohn’s disease having a relative also suffering from it. Lastly, a diet high in saturated fats and processed foods may lead to Crohn’s disease. In many cases, a combination of different factors leads to the development of the disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease symptoms are based on the location and extent of the inflammation in the digestive tract. That means they differ from person to person. However, the most common symptoms are abdominal pain and diarrhea. Other typical symptoms may include:
Nausea and Vomiting
Anemia (low red blood cell levels)
Floating stools (as a result of poor digestion of fat)
Getting a proper diagnosis from a medical doctor is crucial if you suffer from any of these symptoms. Your doctor will most likely start with a thorough physical examination and take blood and stool samples to test for Crohn’s disease. The blood tests may show anemia, while your stool can give an indication of rectal bleeding or infection of the rectum or colon. It may also be necessary for one of the following procedures: colonoscopy (to take pictures of the colon), capsule endoscopy (to take pictures of the digestive tract), barium enema (looking at the large intestine with an x-ray) or CT scans.
Treating Crohn’s Disease
The bad news is that no cure for Crohn’s disease has been found up to date. The good news is that many people with Crohn’s disease live active lives by controlling their symptoms with different treatment options. Treatment is based on three pillars: (1) minimizing inflammation, (2) bringing about and maintaining remission, and (3) preventing complications.
Conventional treatment usually includes drugs, biologic therapies (boosting the immune system) and an emphasis on nutrition. But while treatment is often a matter of trial and error, you will learn that diet is crucial in your fight against Crohn’s disease. An avocado delivery to your front door, full of premium organic avocados fresh from the farm, is one of the easiest to come by and most important weapons in your arsenal. Let’s find out how your treatment can benefit from an avocado box.
The Importance of Nutrition in Treating Crohn’s Disease
Although there is no scientific consensus about the role of food in the development of Crohn’s disease, we do know that certain foods relieve the symptoms of the disease while others tend to exacerbate them.
Researchers of the Queen Mary University in London, under the leadership of Dr. Harween Dogra, are currently investigating the effects of the foods eaten by children with IBD. “Nutritional therapies that are safer than existing medicines, with fewer side effects, and that control the disease without the need for frequent blood tests, could improve the quality of life of children with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis considerably,” said Dr. Dogra in a statement.
Let’s take a look at the list of foods likely to be included in the diet of someone with Crohn’s disease:
Avocado – full in highly beneficial fats and other nutrients such as potassium, B vitamins and vitamin E (as described in more detail below). Imagine all the wholesome goodness in one avocado box. Not to mention that your avocado delivery arrives straight from the farm.
Almond Milk – a good alternative to milk products for patients who are lactose-intolerant.
Eggs – a good source of iron and vitamin D - nutrients that people with Crohn’s disease are often deficient in.
Salmon – rich in inflammatory-fighting omega-3 fatty acids.
Tropical Fruits – banana, mango and papaya contain more soluble than insoluble fibers.
So go on, order an avocado box and get on with your life, living it to the fullest. Here are some general diet and lifestyle tips to start working on while you count the hours for your avocado delivery to arrive.
Get moving! Exercise can help prevent stress and depression that often accompanies Crohn’s disease.
Quit smoking. Cigarette smoke is a risk factor for Crohn’s disease. A number of patients have reported that it worsens their symptoms.
Avoid highly processed, refined foods such as white breads and pastas.
Manage your IBD by setting goals and working towards them.
Keep track of your symptoms and how they are affected by nutrition by writing down what foods you eat in a journal.
Typical beauty products and treatments are full of hard-to-pronounce chemicals and additives, especially here in the US where beauty industry standards have remained mostly unchanged since 1938. For example, journalist Bijani Mizell reports that “Cover Girl waterproof mascara contains the same ingredient (petroleum distillates, an oil by-product) as Dr. Scholl’s Wart Remover—both of which are illegal in Europe.” Yikes!
Fortunately for us, Mother Nature offers an array of natural fruits, vegetables, and herbs to keep our skin looking beautiful. Our favorite is, of course, the organic avocado, which is naturally grown and is without any of the 1,000+ chemicals used in beauty products that are banned in the UK.
The humble avocado, rich in vitamins and nutrients, is not only delicious to eat, but also a great way to keep your skin looking young and feeling soft.
How do Avocados Benefit the Skin?
With an arsenal of vitamins (C, E, and A) and monounsaturated fatty acids, nutrient dense avocados can keep your skin moisturized and healthy without the harmful chemicals found in the standard beauty products. In fact, many commercial products use avocado oil as one of the ingredients for its skin nourishing properties. However, all you need is one (or more) of our organic California avocados!
Check out the beautifying properties each and every avocado comes packed with:
Vitamin C helps in the creation and stabilization of collagen, which is crucial for helping repair damaged skin. Vitamin C also aids in photoprotection. In other words, vitamin C is crucial for our skin’s natural protection against the sun. Vitamin C’s photoprotective properties are even stronger when combined with vitamin E, also found in avocados.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that prevents free radical damage and oxidation of the skin cells, slowing skin’s ageing and wrinkles. Vitamin E also aids in photoprotection by reducing the effect of UVA and UVB radiation from constant sun exposure. While eating avocados is one way to reap the benefits of vitamin E, applying smashed avocado as a facemask is the best way to take advantage of avocados' vitamin E rich flesh.
Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), also found in olive oil and nuts, are healthy fats that maintain the moisture in the epidermis, keeping the skin soft and hydrated. It regenerates damaged skin and reduces redness and irritation. Take away: avocados can help keep your skin healthy-looking and reduce inflammation and itching!
Putting it into practice
Obviously, the most delicious way to reap the benefits of the avocado is to eat them (try throwing one in your next smoothie!). However, applying the avocado’s flesh to your skin as a face mask is also a great way to take advantage of the vitamins and nutrients listed above. The application is easy and a great way to use up your leftover avocados!
Ingredient: ¼ cup fresh organic avocado
Directions for application:
Mash up your avocado with a fork until it is smooth, as if you were making guacamole. Once you have achieved a smooth consistency, apply the mash to your clean and dry face and neck and leave it to rest for at least 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, scrape off the avocado, discard, and rinse your face with warm water. Enjoy your smooth hydrated skin! For best results, use this mask at least once a week.
Easy enough, right? The most important thing to remember when making your very own avocado face mask is to only use organic avocados as conventional avocados are often treated with harmful chemicals. By using organic avocados, you’re ensuring that you aren’t applying any harmful chemicals or pesticides to your skin. Lucky for you, all of our avocados are certified organic, making them delicious to eat in addition to being safe for topical use.
Avocados, consumed or applied as a face mask, are packed with vitamins and monounsaturated fats that make them great for treating acne, dry skin, and slowing the aging process. Have you ever used an avocado facemask? Will you now? Let us know in the comments!
New findings of the important link between inflammation and disease continue to be uncovered by researchers. Chronic inflammation is known to increase your risk of arthritis, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and many other diseases. Fortunately, you have a great deal of control over your disease risk. The most important decisions you make are in the kitchen and at the dinner table.
Certain foods are more likely to contribute to the inflammation that can lead to disease. Processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and grilled meats all raise a protein - Interleukin-6 (IL-6) - that is a marker of inflammation. Maintaining consistently high levels of this inflammatory protein is associated with disease risk.
According to research by University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) scientists published in Food and Function, blood levels of IL-6 rise within about four hours after consuming foods that cause this inflammatory response.
The Positive Role of Avocado
Just as certain foods can increase inflammatory IL-6 protein levels, others can help reduce it. During the aforementioned UCLA study, two groups of participants were created. All participants were males between the ages of 18 and 35.
The first group ate a grilled hamburger made of 90 percent lean beef. The second group ate the same grilled burger but also ate half of a medium-sized avocado. The burger-only group experienced a spike in IL-6 levels by 70 percent, elevated triglycerides, and a 27 percent decrease in peripheral blood. The elevated triglycerides and reduced peripheral blood flow are both significant factors in causing heart attack or stroke.
Fortunately, the findings in the avocado group were dramatically better. When the participants ate half of an avocado along with the hamburger, their IL-6 levels rose by only 40 percent. Furthermore, there was virtually no decrease in the peripheral blood flow.
Dr. David Heber, MD, PhD, the study’s lead researcher, said, “This study supports the hypothesis that fresh Hass avocado, may help support normal vascular function, which is important for heart health. After eating a burger with one-half of a fresh medium Hass avocado, some of the after-meal effects observed after eating the plain burger, specifically inflammation and narrowing blood vessels, were reduced within hours, and triglycerides did not increase beyond what was observed after eating the burger alone.”
Putting It into Practice
We know that a healthy diet is about balance. It can be difficult, and sometimes unrealistic, to stay on course with a restrictive diet. A great alternative is to add healthy foods, such as avocados, to the diet creating a more holistic picture of total nutrition and wellness. More emphasis should be placed on what we add to a healthy diet than what we take away.
Incorporating avocado in your diet is beneficial for many reasons. The naturally high antioxidant levels found in this fruit is believed to be the driver of the anti-inflammatory response after consuming a food that contains high levels of the negative IL-6 proteins. The effect on triglycerides shows that after consuming a burger alone, the arteries are more constricted, but the addition of avocado keeps blood vessels open and allows blood to flow freely throughout. We may even be able to point to the good fats in avocado as the reason for the beneficial effects on blood vessels.
Nutritional research continues to highlight the positive benefits of avocado in particular. In addition to the anti-inflammatory properties, the high fat content in avocado turns out to have very protective effects and may help the body to better absorb nutrients from other foods and to reduce the inflammation associated with eating certain foods. Next time you feel like having a burger, you don’t have to say no – just be sure to enjoy it with a side of avocado.
Is there anything tastier or more diverse than the avocado? We may be biased here at AvocadoOrganic, but the avocado is truly a workhorse in the kitchen, jumping from smoothies to salads while providing tons of nutrients along the way.
The benefits of adding avocados to your diet are well known. The flesh of an avocado is full of vitamins, including K and C, and provides more potassium than a banana. The seeds, however, are often either tossed in the bin or used to grow a new avocado plant. But did you know that the avocado seed is every bit as nutrient rich as the flesh?
Nutrients in Avocado Seeds
Usually discarded, the avocado seed actually contains higher amounts of antioxidants than the flesh, as much as 70% of the avocado's total antioxidant potential! Antioxidants, such as those found in the humble avocado seed, help rid your body of free radicals and can help prevent some cancers, strengthen your immune system, and delay the effects aging can have on the brain.
In a 2013 study by Pennsylvania State University, it was found that avocado seeds may improve high cholesterol and help in the treatment of hypertension and even diabetes. The same 2013 study also reveals that avocado seeds help reduce inflammation with the help of procyanidins and catechins, the same antioxidant found in green tea. Excessive amounts of inflammation within the body can lead to joint pain, swelling, and reduced mobility.
Organic avocado seeds are also a great food for adding more fiber to your diet. In an interview, Dr. Tom Wu, winner of the American Cancer Society’s “Remarkable Contribution Award”, shares why he uses the whole avocado in his smoothies:
“[The avocado seed is] also the highest in soluble fiber. This soluble fiber binds to the fat and excess cholesterol. We can improve the blood circulation by pulling out all the fatty deposits in our circulatory system with the soluble fiber of the avocado seed. Soluble fiber is very hard to get in our diet. Oatmeal has some, but it cannot compare with the avocado seed. Any heart disease patient must eat the avocado including the seed.”
Given what we now know about the benefits of avocado seeds, is it any wonder that avocados seeds are being touted as the new superfood on the block by health and wellness foodies?
How to Prepare Avocado Seeds
Ok, but how do I eat it? At least that's what I asked when I first learned of the benefits hidden within the seed. Anyone who has tried to use toothpicks and a glass of water to grow an avocado plant from the seed knows that avocado seeds are quite firm. That said, the easiest way to prepare the seed is to carefully whack the seed with a heavy knife. A fresh seed should still be soft enough to be cracked in half and then chopped into smaller bite sized pieces with a kitchen knife.
Another method is to dry out the seed by placing it on a windowsill or in a dehydrator. Once dried, the seed can be grated with a micro plane or a cheese grater and used as a topping for salads or oatmeal.
Avocado Seed Recipes
Avocado seeds have a high amount of tannins that give them a bitter taste and are best used in recipes that can mask the bitterness. The most common way to mask the bitterness is to add half of the seed to a smoothie. Powerful blenders are strong enough to handle the whole half, but if you have and older or less powerful blender I recommend chopping the seed into smaller pieces before incorporating it into your smoothie.
To start off you could try our favorite organic avocado seed smoothie recipe:
1 cup frozen blueberries
½ cup frozen blackberries
1 ripe banana, peeled
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 half of an organic avocado, peeled
1 half an organic avocado seed, chopped
¾ cup of water
Toss everything into the blender and pulse until smooth. If the smoothie is too thick, just add a small amount of water until preferred consistency is achieved. Remember, if you have a weaker or old blender try chopping up the avocado seed before blending.
Since learning that avocado seeds are full of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins I have started to save the seeds that I used to toss in the trash. Do you think you will try a California avocado seed in your next smoothie? Let us know!
The combination of pomegranate seeds and organic avocado not only looks interesting but also tastes incredible. The rich and creamy texture of the guacamole mixed with the crunch of the walnuts and the juicy bites of the pomegranate seeds will make you wish you made more! This easy recipe is inspired by Puesto, a restaurant in downtown San Diego, CA.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner... and you know what that means: overeating and mind numbing amounts of leftovers for days. While avocados aren't a part of the traditional Thanksgiving day menu, you'll be thankful to have some avocados lying around to spice up your leftover life and to get your healthy lifestyle back on track. Have some avocados on hand so that you don't get to the point that you feel winded every time you head back to the kitchen and start thinking, "I'm pretty sure I'm just sweating gravy now."
Once you try these 5 ideas, you'll be thankful that avocados are available in the winter and that Nordeen Farms' Bacon and Fuerte avocado trees are producing.
1. Sneak some in the salad the day of Thanksgiving for some extra flavor and fiber. Every salad needs a little California avocado. Plus, the beneficial fats along with the extra fiber avocados provide will help curb your appetite and boost your heart health. Your brain will say "when" sooner than expected and your heart will be better equipped to handle the extra stress that comes with the holidays (drunk aunts asking nosy questions about your future, traveling with kids, etc.).
2. Turkey, Cranberry, Avocado & Cream Cheese Sandwiches made with leftovers. #Duh.
3. Looking for a food Oasis after deliriously wandering through a desert of dried up turkey, crustier by the minute stuffing, pasty mashed potatoes? Is your cousin's jello mold that nobody wanted the day of Thanksgiving starting to look good just because it's something different? Desperate for something new? Try mashing some avocado & sriracha into your old potatoes. Avocado will add some new flavor to your potatoes and and bring back that silky texture. That should knock you out of your food coma and back into the land of the living!
4. If things aren't quite weird enough, you can always kick it up a notch an avocado cocktail. Once the creativity is flowing, make your own Thanksgiving leftover recipes and share them with us in the comments below!
Most avocado lovers are aware that different types of organic avocados exist. If pressed further, an avocado buff might be able to name the two most popular kinds of avocados: Haas and Fuerte. That's akin to a self proclaimed wine lover proudly stating that he or she knows that there are two types of wine- red and white.
We need to change this. There are many varieties of avocado, each with its own unique flavor profile and attributes. We want avocado connoisseurs around the globe to understand the subtle yet significant differences between the many varieties of avocado that are out there. If you have the right information, you can make sophisticated choices when selecting what is best for their intended use.
Imagine just how refined you'll sound when you're attending a fancy soiree and make an off-hand comment such as, "I can tell by the large size and flawless texture that this particular avocado hails from the Fallbrook region... and I'm detecting strong notes of nuttiness... which leads me to believe I'm enjoying a Lamb Hass... am I right old chap?"
Without further ado, let's begin your avocado enlightenment. AvocadoOrganic specializes in four varieties, and after we highlight each one, you'll understand why we chose to focus our efforts on these particular kinds of avocados.
1. The Bacon: This variety is easy to peel and hard to resist. It is medium sized and has a lighter flavor - the perfect complement to, hello, bacon! It’s perfect for turning a BLT into what it always wanted it to be: a BLTA. You'll know it's ripe when it yields to gentle pressure. This fan favorite doesn't always get dark as it ripens.
2. The Fuerte: The OG California Avocado. Great taste, easy to peel, and silky smooth flesh that cuts like butter. Fuerte avocados are the ideal upgrade for dishes in which you're trying to replace mayo. With this one easy switch, you can up your nutrition game without sacrificing intensity to the taste buds. They’re available in the dead of winter and can add a much needed spark to help propel you through a gloomy winter and help you keep your beach bod so that you're not scrambling to the gym once the weather starts hinting at summer.
3. The Hass: When most people think avocado, Hass is the type of avocado that comes to mind because it is what’s typically found in grocery stores.The small seed to fruit ratio (especially when grown in Fallbrook), allows for an exceptionally high fruit yield that has a reputation for rich taste and creamy texture. They also have an excellent shelf life and a tough skin that protects from bruising during shipping, making them a top choice of grocery stores.
4. The Lamb Hass: Have you ever heard the phrase, "Go big or go home"? These guys aren't going home anytime soon- unless home is in your belly. They are big in size, and known for their heavy levels of creaminess that is enhanced with a distinct nutty flavor. Nordeen Farms recently planted Lamb Hass trees that will start to bear fruit in 2 years. It’s worth the wait for these massive avocados as they are harvested later in the season and will help us get closer to being able to offer avocados year round.
For the 2015-2016 season, AvocadoOrganic’s forecast of avocado availability is as follows:
We've all seen it and cringed: that friend from somewhere cold that's trying to prep an avocado. This can be awfully excruciating. The carver in question stumbles along wasting fruit while you go grey. You're secretly hating him or her because now you're just having to wait longer for less fruit... and all the while, you know that there is a pack of people just outside the kitchen door who are salivating and jockeying for position so that they can have the advantage when it comes time to descend on that avocado centered dish.
That isn't going to go over well. We all know that avocado is always the first to go at any party. And now the crowd is hungrier and avocado is becoming scarce. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. So what do you do? You may not be able to stop this train wreck in motion, but you can prevent it in the future.
1. Anonymously send your friend a link to this site so that he or she can learn the the proper way treat an avocado.
2. Comment below and give us the dirty details of your friend's avocado carving fail. The most horrific story will earn 10% off of their next order at AvocadoOrganic.com