Up until a couple of years ago, the avocado was one of those mystery fruits to me. There are so many foods we pass over in the Produce department,
sometimes limiting ourselves to the comfort foods like bananas, apples and oranges. It wasn’t until my son and his family visited us for a few days
that I became hooked on this nutrient-packed food. Watching him consume an avocado a day piqued my interest.
In Canada, the majority of avocados we consume (nearly 250 million last year) are imported from Mexico. The United States also imports them from
Mexico, but grows must of their own in California and Florida.
The avocado has been claimed by some nutritionists to be a perfect food. It consists of vitamins A, B1 to B6, C, E and K, all contributing to body
growth and cell reproduction. This pear-shaped fruit also contains potassium (more than a banana), folic acid, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc and
is very rich in dietary fiber, which lowers the risk of many diseases.
An avocado is loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats, and these fats lower the risk of heart disease. Many “good-for-you” vegetables, such as
carrots and most leafy greens, contain very little fat, which doesn’t allow your body to absorb them as well. When eaten alongside avocados, their
absorption increases. Studies have shown that those who eat avocados on a regular basis have a better overall diet quality, as well as a better
intake of vegetables and fruits as a whole.
Avocados are a great source of lutein, a “carotenoid” that works as an antioxidant and helps protect against eye disease. Eating this fruit will
also help you to get more of these nutrients from other foods.
Eating an avocado with your meal is said to promote “a more fuller and satisfied feeling”, with less of a desire to eat in the next 5 hours. It is
suggested this could contribute to weight loss.
Only the yellow-green creamy inside of the avocado is eaten; the “alligator” skin and nut are discarded. However you should eat as close to the skin
as possible, this is where the maximum concentration of nutrients are contained.
When selecting an avocado from your local food market, lightly squeeze the fruit to see if it has ripened and is ready to eat. Ideally it will have a
slight give to your pressure. If you have purchased one and it is as hard as a rock, store it in a paper bag with an apple or banana and it will be
ripened in 2 or 3 days. Do not store these fruit in your fridge unless they have ripened. Once cut open, they will brown a little, just like an
apple. Simply squirt with a little lemon juice when storing for another day.
Not only are avocados good for you, but they are also very delicious in taste, and can be combined with a variety of other foods. You can add them to
salads and various recipes, or just simply scoop them out and eat them with a spoon. They have a creamy and somewhat nutty taste to them, and they
blend well with various other ingredients. Do not cook an avocado, as that will destroy most of the nutrients, but you can warm them up or add them to soups.
Perhaps avocados are best known as the main ingredient in “guacamole”, a very popular dip in Mexican cuisine, originated by the Aztecs hundreds of years ago.
Although there are a variety of ingredients that can be used to make it, salt, garlic, and lime seem to be common in most.
Do not add an avocado to your juicer; it will turn to mush just like a banana. However they are an excellent addition to smoothies if you have a blender.
Here are some combinations I found on the Internet you might want to try. Just add an avocado to each:
peaches, orange juice and bananas
cucumber, yogurt, chia seeds, raw honey, water or ice cubes
strawberries, almond milk, lemon or lime, raw honey
As always, we should try to eat organic whenever possible. But it’s good to know that the avocado is on the “Clean List” of foods with regards to pesticide residue.