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
Although an avocado is technically a fruit, (because it grows on a tree and bears seed, etc.) it doesn’t contain the amount of fructose or natural sugars that most fruits do. This alone makes it great for those looking for food allowed on a candida diet.
But the reason avocados stand out (as you’ve likely heard many times) is because they’re Super. Duper. Healthy.
Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B5 & B6, vitamin C, copper, folate, and potassium (more so than bananas).
Carotenoids are natural pigments in foods that protect from free radicals, provide a source of vitamin A, enhance the immune system, and help the reproductive system function properly. We tend to think of them in bright orange or red vegetables, but avocados are known to contain a spectacular array of carotenoids which researchers believe is a key factor in its anti-inflammatory properties. They also contain more of the carotenoid lutein than any other common fruit. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts.
The greatest concentration of carotenoids in an avocado is in the dark green flesh just beneath the skin. (Careful peeling instructions to keep this dark green flesh intact are described in the photos below.)
Promotes 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.
Fascinating research also shows that avocados work with healthy cells by increasing their supply of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients and byimproving oxidative stress levels. At the same time the avocado seeks 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.
“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, but, as I’ve mentioned before, good fats are not the enemy. 20 of those fat grams come from health-promoting monounsaturated fats. In fact, 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 particularly well-documented with problems involving arthritis.
- Fatty alcohols (PFAs) are widely 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) 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.
Sounds contrary to say that a fruit that has 85%-90% of its calories as fat is food for weight control. Tis’ true though – it’s all because of the kind of fat it contains. (You can read more about these good fats here.)
- 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)
Selection and Storage
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.
Here’s one of the first recipes I tried with avocado. It has a nice crunch from the sweet red onion, firm slices of avocado, and slighty tangy dressing to finish it off. A nice change from your normal ‘salad’!
Avocado & Onion Salad (casein-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free, yeast-free, anti-candida, low-carb)
2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup mustard
2 Tbs lemon juice
sprinkle of stevia, to taste
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. Slice the sweet onion in half and then slice across the grain, per se :).
4. Arrange avocados and onion on a large platter then drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.
P.S. Do you have a favorite way to eat avocados? I’d love more ideas!
Don’t know where to purchase some of these ingredients? Visit our Whole Food Sources page.
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,