If you aren’t totally nuts about the avocado yet, we recommend you give this versatile, nutritious, creamy and uniquely delicious fruit a chance. Avocados are well-known for their excellent healthy monounsaturated fats that protect your heart, but they’re also high in many other nutrients aside from fat. Never fear the fat in avocados either. They help lower bad cholesterol in the body and prevent the absorption of harmful fats. Plus, calories and fat from healthy plant-based foods are much higher quality foods than processed foods and animal products higher in calories and fats. Remember, quality over quantity – your body knows the difference!
Health Benefits of Avocados
Nutritionally speaking, 3 ounces (about half the fruit) only contains 160 calories, 15 grams of fat, and also has 20 different vitamins and minerals! Avocados are also a fantastic source of folate, containing 20 percent in 3.5 ounces, 13 percent of your daily Vitamin B6 content, 7 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein. They are also steal the show with magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin E, even outranking bananas, which are thought of as the highest source of potassium.
Avocados have been linked to a reduced risk for heart disease, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and have been found helpful for maintaining a healthy body weight and blood sugar levels. The delicious fruit even has specific phytonutrients that have been linked to preventing cancer and lowering stress.
How to Use Avocados in Your Kitchen
Avocados are also easier than you think to prep and store. Even this late in the season, if you keep them in a brown bag on the counter for a few days they’ll ripen perfectly, and can be stored in the fridge to preserve them if not eaten immediately.
There are so many ways you can use this fruit. Avocados make a great snack raw with a little salt or nut cheese, are the main ingredient in guacamole, and the perfect addition to make salads decadent and filling. But they’re also quite useful in cooking.
Seared or grilled avocados are a treat! They’re also wonderful on pizzas, even instead of the cheese, and mashed or sliced into casseroles. Get started with a Caesar Salad Pizza or a Breakfast Tortilla Pesto Pizza.
Wonderful in stir fries, especially with kale and tempeh, avocado minimizes the need for oil in cooking. You can even grill or bake them before tossing them on a bed of greens for a warm, not-so-raw salad, soothing for the winter months.
Raw, blended soups are super creamy with avocado, but lighter than they would be with cashews. We love gazpacho-style cold soups with green tomatoes or cucumbers, but there are a lot more unique options, as well. Try this Raw Carrot Avocado Soup or Raw Peas and Mint Avocado Soup.
Mousse and Smoothies
Green and fruit smoothies are wonderful with avocados, but most of all we enjoy the fluffiness of a smoothie with avos, which is why they’re so perfect for chocolate mousse. Simply, with cocoa powder, with or without bananas, a dash of sweetener, perhaps some cinnamon, and cayenne or espresso powder for zest, chocolate mousse is the perfect dessert for a health-conscious, time-pressed chocolate lover. There are a lot of ways to dress up this recipe, too. Make Raw Avocado Cacao Mousse with cacao nibs, or get your greens on with a Chai Chocolate Green Smoothie.
Another tasty dessert smoothie consists of mango, almond milk, avocado and baby spinach greens, with a favorite protein powder for added punch. While perhaps a little too high-glycemic to be a whole meal, this smoothie turns an exquisite yellowy chartreuse and tastes heavenly. To design your own perfect avocado-based smoothie, check out Tips on Mixing and Matching for a Well-Balanced Smoothie
As an alternative to just chopping up avocados for salads, they can also be turned into a dressing for the whole salad. They even do a wonderful job of dressing up pasta and whole grains. Mix into a tahini dressing, or with lemon or cucumber. Try it on a Raw Zucchini Pasta and Creamy Avocado Cucumber Sauce and a Mesquite Avocado-Kale Salad.
Don’t ignore this delicious, nutritious fruit any longer; it’s waiting to enhance your meals and your health in just a few bites!
Lead Image Source: Super-Amazing Springtime Tomato Avocado Mushroom Corn Soup