A for Avocado

reading time: ca. 4 min

hey there food friends
it's time for another Friday's Food, and as i indicated in one of my previous posts, i have quite a lot to say about avocados.
since i am very interested (and also quite well-read) in anything related with nutrition, i will be starting a little trivia series on the ABC of raw food lifestyle essentials. (got yourself a fancy themed series now, did ya?)

Episode 1: A for Avocado.

One of the all too often underrated fruits in a healthy diet is avocado. and yes, although often incorrectly labeled as a vegetable, an avocado is really a fruit. as you can tell by its large central seed. It is packed with lots of vital minerals and vitamins, including Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, zinc and folic acid. The most common cultivars are Fuerte (medium-sized, pear-shaped, soft green skin, mild creamy flavour) and Hass (small and egg-shaped, firm dark pebbled skin, nutty rich flavour).

Potassium is know to be found in bananas, but did you know that avocadoes are even more loaded with potassium? A single avocado has around 975 milligrams of potassium (whereas a large banana can only serve with half of that, around 480 mg)

One avocado fruit contains 4 grams of protein, which is among the highest amount a fruit can pack. Other high protein fruits include dates, guava, passionfruit, cantaloupe, watermelon, banana and all sorts of dried fruit, especially dried apricot and prunes.

Many people avoid eating avocados because they fear it might get them fat. Yes, avocados are high in calorie (between 300 and 400 calories per fruit), and they do contain a high amount of fat, but! these oils found in avocado help reduce LDL (=bad) cholesterol  and maintain HDL (=good) cholesterol. They are heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that will make you feel satiated and will actually reduce your intake of unhealthy calories. For example: a 7 oz serving of avocado a.k.a. 1 avocado contains 30g of fat, 23g of which are UNsaturated (=good), while the same size serving of butter contains 160g of fat, of which 100g are saturated (=bad)!
Substitute avocado for saturated fats like butter, cheese etc., and you'll be actually losing fat instead of gaining it. 


- use the buttery creamy consistency of avocadoes in place of butter for cooking and baking. (no worries, the dough won't be green and the taste not distinguishable) 
when baking substitute half the amount of butter for mashed avocado, e.g. 1 cup avocado puree instead of 1 cup butter. not only will this lower the calorie content but also yield a softer final product.

- even more awesome: make chocolate pudding by blending up some avocado, cocoa powder and a sweetener of choice! yum :)


- consider using blended avocado instead of mayonnaise for your tuna salad or the like. add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice and optionally 1 clove garlic for fresher taste.

- add avocado slices to your burger or sandwich or breakfast bagel (replacing eggs or mayonnaise or cream cheese). you can also use it as stuffing for your burritos or veggie wraps or raw vegan sushi rolls.

- plant your own avocado plant if you're feeling extra awesome! here's how you grow an avocado tree: simply cut it open, take out the pit, do something yummy with the avocado flesh, rinse off the pit under cold water, then wipe it off. take 4 toothpicks and push them into the pit, like so, and place it on the rim of a waterfilled bowl, the pointy end facing upwards and the round end covered in water, so that the pit is about halfway submerged. 
set the bowl on a sunny windowsill and be patient. and don't forget to replenish the water frequently! it takes 4-6 weeks for the pit to start sprouting. after around 3 months your seedling should be ready. now place it into some fresh potting soil, nestle the bottom of your avocado sapling in and cover the pit halfway with soil.
Pour a little water into the pot gently, keep it in a sunny place and watch it grow!

- gauge its ripeness by gently squeezing it in your hand. a ripe avocado will yield to gentle pressure. also, you can remove the little stem and take a peak at the inside of the avocado. if it's a medium light green, buy it. if it's brown, don't.

- when eating an avocado, the easiest way is to simply cut it open lengthwise, remove the seed, sprinkle it with salt, pepper and herbs to taste, and then add a dash of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice or simply orange juice out of the bottle. take a spoon, eat. (works best with a Hass avocado)

- do not combine avocado with other fatty, protein-rich foods such as nuts, oil, seeds, olives, coconut, dairy or meat! instead, mix it with various greens or, as i personally like to do it, mix it with tomatoes and cucumber. then add a squeeze of citrus juice and season to taste.
also i recently started adding sweet corn to my avocado salad, and oh my god does it taste good! especially with sun-dried tomatoes... drool.

aside from my personal gusto, it is generally recommended to pair avocados with salsa or salad since the monounsaturated fat helps you better absorb carotenoids, lycopene and beta-carotene. sounds good to me, right?

As reported on the HuffingtonPost, the antioxidants, amino acids and essential oils inside an avocado can help repair damaged hair, moisturize dry skin, treat sunburns and maybe even minimize wrinkles.
Just peel, deseed and blend your avocado and use it as a face mask, cold compresses or a hair mask.

Also, did you know they're called "alligator pears" in some parts of the world? and, even more interesting (and possibly disturbing): the term avocado originally comes from the Aztecan word ahuacatl, meaning "testicle". Yum.

EDIT: i just stumbled upon this great article on 39 Avocado Recipes - check it out here

Alright, enough trivia for today.
Next up we got B for...? Be-prepared-for-awesomeness!


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