Avocados and Inflammation:

Why They Make The Perfect Mid-Shift Snack!

This week I’m going to talk about one of my favourite shift working foods, that being the Avocado.

Whilst I don’t believe there is any one-size-fits-all diet for shift workers, I certainly believe some foods are better than others, particularly for those subjected to a life of constant sleep-deprivation.  This is because ongoing sleep deprivation has been shown to promote intestinal hyper-permability, which is essentially the fancy word for “leaky gut”.

Leaky gut is one of the main drivers behind inflammation, and more and more research is implicating inflammation in the development of various diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  As a result, minimising inflammation in the body is absolutely key for maintaining optimal health.

From a nutritional perspective, avocados are loaded with nutrients.  They are particularly abundant in vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamins B5 (pantothenic acid) and B6 (pyridoxine).

They are also high in fibre which can help with weight loss, along with stabilising blood sugar levels to assist in keeping those sugar cravings at bay.

However, what I really like about avocados from a shift work nutrition perspective, is they are high in healthy fats, in particular oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid shown to reduce inflammation.

It’s unfortunate (thanks to a lot of clever marketing over the years), that we’ve been led to believe that a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet is actually the way to go.

But our bodies need fat.  Good fats that is, and not the highly refined trans and polyunsaturated fats found in most of our processed foods.

So here’s my insanely quick and easy (which is really important when you feel tired all of the time) Avocado Cream Recipe, which makes for a perfect mid-shift snack.  Not only will it help keep your sugar cravings at bay, but will assist in reducing inflammation too.  A win-win all round.

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, finely chopped

Method

Blend the avocado, lime juice, and cumin in a food pressor or stick blender until it reaches a smooth, spreadable consistency.  If you prefer it a little more chunky, just reduce the blending time by a few seconds.  Add the chopped coriander and serve with sliced carrots or celery.

Enjoy!

Audra x

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References:

Basu, A, Devaraj, S & Jialal, I 2006, ‘Dietary factors that promote or retard inflammation’, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, vol. 26, pp. 995-1001.

Minihane, A, Vinoy, S, Russell, W, Baka, A, Roche, H, Tuohy, K, Teeling, J, Blaak, E, Fenech, M, Vauzour, D, McArdle, H, Kremer, B, Sterkman, L, Vafeiadou, K, Benedetti, M, Williams, C & Calder, P 2015, ‘Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health: current research evidence and its translation’, British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 114, pp. 999-1012.

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