Saturday, February 23, 2013

Avocados, The Alligator Pears

Avocado
Isn't it great when food tastes amazing and is healthy for you! Avocados are one of my favorite foods, and are easy to get many kids to eat too.






Benefits


Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats which lower bad cholesterol levels, and raise good cholesterol levels.  This can help prevent heart disease and strokes.
One cup of avocado has 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. Studies show that people who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower incidence of heart disease than those who don't.
Research has found that certain nutrients are absorbed better when eaten with avocado. In one study, when participants ate a salad containing avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes lycopene and beta carotene) than those who didn't include avocados. (source)

They are high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer.  They are also high in carotenoid lutein which helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. 

The 'Alligator Pears' are great sources of a lot of other nutrients as well...

Nutrients in
Avocado
1.00 cup (146.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value

fiber39.1%

vitamin K38.3%

folate29.5%

vitamin C24.3%

vitamin B520.2%

potassium20.2%

vitamin B619%

Calories (233)12%


Recommendations


Our diets should have 25-35% of healthy sources of fats.  Many foods in the Mediterranean diet fall into this category.

To get the most out of an avocado you want to make sure to get the dark green part that is nearest to the skin.

There are two common ways to peel an avocado.  You can make slit marks on the skin from top to bottom, spacing them about a half inch apart, then peel the skin off one section at a time.  I like to cut the avocado all the way around length wise, then twist it open, remove the seed, and scoop out the insides with a spoon.

Why Buy Organic


Generally speaking, the soil organic plants are grown in is usually more nutrient rich than soil where pesticides have deteriorated the nutritional value of the soil.  However, unless the cost of organic is very similar to non-organic, I personnally don't worry about it.  I do however wash the out side of the avocado with soap and water before peeling it to remove some of the chemicals, and keep them from getting into the food.

Uses and Recipes

Plate of shrimp mexican food
Avocados have a wide range of uses from a hair deep conditioner, or on a burger.  They are also often added to smoothies, or other recipes where a natural creamy texture is desired, without a strong taste.  My kids and I love eating plain raw slices as a side with lunch, or added to a sandwich.

If you'd like that deep hair conditioning recipe you can get it here from Healthy Diaries.

For a great guacamole recipe try this.  Mash up one avocado, then add 1 Tbls. chopped red onion or white sweet onion, 1/4 tsp. of salt (or to taste), and a 1/4 tsp. of lime juice.  If you'd like it creamier add 1-2 Tbls. of organic sour cream, and a little cilantro is optoinal.  Mix and enjoy!

With all of its health benefits from eyes, to heart, to cancer, this fruit is worth tasting!


Sources:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/355723-avocados-other-healthy-fats/
http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-avocados.html
http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/avocado-hair-mask-recipe.html

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