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Avocados: Health Benefits, Tips, and Recipes

Avocados: Health Benefits, Tips, and Recipes

Image Source: Will Meridyth/Flickr

For all you avocado addicts out there, you know the fruit has a smooth and creamy texture that is a delicious addition to just about any meal. As for all you new go-ers, the avocado, also known as the alligator pear, is very versatile in its use and extremely nutritious. Most of the crop sold in stores today is the Hass avocado which is grown in California. Hass avocados are smaller in size than other avocado varieties but boast a buttery nutty taste that can become plate-licking addictive.

Health Benefits 

Avocados are a nutrient-dense food with anti-inflammatory benefits that fit nicely into a fresh and natural healthful diet.  They possess key nutrients such as vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium  to name a few.

  • Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting
  • Folate promotes healthy cell and tissue development
  • Potassium, an important electrolyte, is essential for proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs. It is also necessary for the building of muscle and for normal body growth. Avocados contain two times as much as potassium as there is in bananas!
  • Vitamin B6 helps to produce antibodies in the immune system
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant necessary for normal growth and development
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the body tissue from damage. It also plays a role in maintaining healthy skin and hair

This green powerhouse fruit is also a great source of soluble fiber and heart-healthy fat! One serving of avocado contains 3 grams of monounsaturated fat which can improve blood cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of heart disease, and keep blood sugar levels in check.

Not only do avocados offer all these benefits themselves but, they also enable the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein from other foods like spinach and broccoli.

Tips

  • When to buy: avocado season hits during the spring so load up on these nutritious goodies then. An easy way to keep avocados is to freeze them, a little known fact to most
  • Ripeness: give the avocado a squeeze, if there is a subtle give to the fruit, it’s ready but you don’t want your fingers to leave an imprint. If you’re buying avocados for later in the week, place them in a brown paper bag and they’ll ripen quickly for use
  • Cutting: lay the avocado flat and cut lengthwise around the middle. Twist the two halves to open and then scoop out the seed with a spoon

The richness of avocados can be enjoyed in numerous dishes, from garnishing soup, to spread on toast or sliced in salads; there is more than just the beloved guacamole dip. With the avocado’s versatility, it’s easy to get creative in the kitchen.

Here are some new recipes to try out!

1. Avocado and Black Bean Tortas

 

 

2. Zucchini Pasta + Creamy Avocado-Cucumber Sauce

Recipe: Zucchini Pasta and Creamy Avocado-Cucumber Sauce

 

3. Mexican Lasagna

 

4. The Ultimate Vegan Brownie

the ultimate vegan brownie

 

5. Creamy Green Avocado Basil Dip

avocado-basil-dip

 

6. Mesquite-Avocado Kale Salad

Recipe: Mesquite-Avocado Kale Salad

 

7. Raw Carrot Avocado Soup

Recipe: Raw Carrot Avocado Soup

 

8. Chocolate Cupcakes with Avocado-Mint Icing

chocolate cupcake with mint and avocado

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