I’ll be honest. I don’t look at an avocado the same way I look at other fruit. First of all, it’s commonly known as an alligator pear. That doesn’t exactly conjure up images of a plump, juicy peach, does it 🙂
But seriously, the main reason avocados stand above the rest is because they’re Super. Duper. Healthy.
Avocados & your health
Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B5 & B6, vitamin C, copper, folate, and potassium (even more so than bananas). They:
1. contain carotenoids
Carotenoids are natural pigments in foods that protect from free radicals, enhance the immune system, and help the reproductive system function properly.
The greatest concentration of carotenoids in an avocado is in the dark green flesh just beneath the skin.
2. promote blood sugar regulation
Another area an avocado shines is in its low-sugar and low-carb content while at the same time providing plenty of dietary fiber. This makes it important in regulating blood sugar.
Because it doesn’t contain the amount of fructose or natural sugars that most fruits do, it’s one of the fruits allowed on a candida-diet.
3. have anti-cancer properties
Research shows that avocados work with healthy cells by increasing their supply of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients while at the same time seeking out pre-cancerous and oral cancer cells to increase their oxidative stress (which increases their likelihood of dying).
Avocados are high in oleic acid (like olive oil), which has been shown to prevent breast cancer.
4. are full of healthy fat
“In this single delectable fruit are combined the protein of meat, the fat of butter (but much more wholesome!), the vitamins and minerals of green vegetables, the flavor of nuts, a six course dinner.”~ noted food writer, Gaylord Hauser
Nothing is more impressive to me than the fat found in this simple, green fruit. About 85%-90% of the total calories come from fat alone – about 20 times more than other fruits. Avocados are often shunned in our low-fat crazed society because of this.
A typical avocado contains 30 grams of fat, and 20 of those come from health-promoting monounsaturated fats. The fats contained in an avocado are unique in several ways:
- Phytosterols are key in helping keep inflammation under control. The anti-inflammatory benefits of these avocado fats are well-documented with problems involving arthritis.
- Fatty alcohols (PFAs) are common in ocean plants but fairly rare among land plants. These fatty alcohols also provide us with anti-inflammatory benefits.
- The generous amount of oleic acid (over half the fat content) in an avocado is very similar to the fat composition of olives and olive oil. Oleic acid helps our absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like carotenoids. We also know that our risk of heart disease is lowered by intake of oleic acid.
In essence, an avocado gives us unique health benefits precisely because of its fats.
5. help with weight control
It sounds contrary to say that a fruit with 85%-90% of its calories from fat is good for weight control. Again, it’s all because of the kind of fat it contains.
- its monounsaturated fat speeds up metabolism
- its high fat content creates a feeling of fullness
- its high fat content reduces the urge to binge on sugary and carb-laden foods.
In the most pertinent experiment (Grant, 1960), a mean of just over one California avocado a day for a mean of 33 days increased average daily calories by a calculated 24% and fat by 54% but resulted in a weight loss averaging approximately 1 kg (2.2 lbs). This remarkable result (under exceptional and tightly controlled hospital conditions) should not be taken as a universal guarantee; individual results will vary depending upon complex individual metabolic histories and interactions. What can be said is that eating avocado has been shown to be fully compatible with good weight control. ~ Bob Bergh Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California
Selecting & storing avocados
So now that we know we should include avocados in our diets, we need to choose one off the shelf.
- Look for a fruit with a slight neck on top as opposed to being rounded as this indicates it was probably ripened on the tree and will have better flavor.
- A firm, immature fruit can be ripened at home in a paper bag or in a fruit basket at room temperature (not in the fridge). The skin will darken as it ripens and once it’s ripe, it can be stored in a refrigerator for up to a week. A ripe, ready-to-eat avocado is slightly soft and darker in color.
Avocado & Onion Salad (gluten-free, candida-diet)
2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1. Combine the dressing ingredients: olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, and stevia.
2. Cut avocado in half lengthwise. Twist both halves until they separate. Remove the seed and cut each of the halves lengthwise again. Grip the edge of the skin on each quarter and peel it off, just as you would with a banana.
3. Cut the sweet onion into thin slices.
4. Arrange avocados and onion on a large platter then drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.
This was one of the first recipes I tried with avocado. It has a nice crunch from the sweet onion, firm slices of avocado, and slighty tangy dressing to finish it off. A nice change from your normal ‘side salad’!
Do you have a favorite way to eat avocados? I’d love more ideas!
shared with: The Healthy Home Economist, Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms, Flour Me With Love, The Prairie Homestead, The Modest Mom, Nourishing Treasures, Real Food Forager, Time-Warp Wife, Simply Sugar & Gluten Free, Delicious Obsessions, Growing Home, Young Living Oil Lady, Rook No. 17, Far Above Rubies, Vintage Wannabee, The King’s Court IV, The Gluten-Free Homemaker, Tessa The Domestic Diva, Women Living Well, Frugally Sustainable, Our Simple Farm, Deep Roots at Home, Kelly The Kitchen Kop, Raising Homemakers, This Chick Cooks, Raising Mighty Arrows, It’s A Keeper, Our Simple Country Life, The Greenbacks Gal, GNOWFGLINS, The Nourishing Gourmet, Real Food Renegade, Real Food Whole Health, Real Food Freaks, Comfy in the Kitchen, Chef In Training, Day2Day Joys,