Cutting open a perfect avocado gives me this brilliant winning feeling. Perhaps it’s a “small things amuse small minds” situation but the level of joy and excitement I get from that moment is truly satisfying. Experiencing a lot of those moments recently as avocados have been absolutely divine. I have been enjoying them in salads, on crackers and straight out of the shell. Also, avocado can easily be substituted for butter or margarine in baking plus avocado oil is great for dressings and even roasting or grilling as it has a higher smoking point than olive oil (ie. less chance of free radicals in your cooking!). On a side note, I was only introduced to eating avocados straight out of the shell with a spoon quite recently. If you haven’t and you like avocado it’s an absolute must try. Guarantee you will go from liking avocado to hands down loving them. Eating them plain is delicious, but for a decadent treat I like to put dried cranberries and pistachios in the middle with a little bit of crumbled cheddar. Anyhow, I digress, I figure my recent obsession justifies a quick article hailing the benefits of this scrumptious super food plus a quick and delicious recipe flaunting this season’s finest fruit.
Avocados are an excellent supply of healthy fats including monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids and beta-sitosterol.
The monounsaturated fats found in avocados include oleic and linoleic acid, these are known to help lower the “bad” low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increase the “good” high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol in the body can eventuate in the development of plaque in the blood vessels, increasing risk of cardiovascular disease. HDL works to counteract this process by cleansing the channels of LDL.
Omega-3 fatty acids are well touted for their anti-inflammatory benefits for both acute and chronic inflammation. They promote cardiovascular health and help to lower blood pressure by decreasing the levels of thromboxane in the body allowing the arteries to relax. They also provide energy to the brain cells and even build the membrane of brain cells making them essential for cognitive function. Scientists also consider the possibility that increasing the intake of omega-3 can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in future.
Beta-Sitosterol is a plant based fat found in avocados that further promotes the management of bad LDL cholesterol by blocking its absorption through the intestines.
The average avocado has around 975mg of Potassium compared to a banana which contains averagely only 487mg avocados pack a pretty good punch minus the sugar! Potassium is one of the key minerals lost through sweat, being a Bikram yoga lover it’s important for me to have a diet high in these key minerals post practise to help restore balance.
Avocados contain approximately 14 grams of fibre each. Containing a good mixture of insoluble and soluble fibre half an avocado will provide you with almost 20% of your recommended daily fibre intake. The insoluble fibre will aid digestive health and regularity by adding bulk to the diet, preventing constipation. While the soluble fibre will bind with water forming a gel which will keep you fuller for longer along with helping to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
While they are considered to be a healthy fat avocados do actually contain protein as well. Around 4 grams of protein per fruit, avocados contain 18 different types of amino acids (the building blocks of muscle and skin) including all 8 essential amino acids that we must get from our nutrition. ie. Eating avocados can help with immunity, muscle building, skin, hair and overall health.
4 ripe, Fresh Avocados, peeled and seeded
½ tsp, ground cumin
1 ripe, medium Roma tomato, seeded, diced
½ cup, minced sweet white onion
1 large chilli, seeded and minced
½ cup, coriander leaves, chopped
4 Tbsp, lime juice
Hot pepper sauce
Sea salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
Cut avocado in large chunks and mash coarsely in large bowl with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and blend gently. Add seasoning to taste. Enjoy!
For more fantastic recipes, check out: California Avocado Commission – Recipes