Samantha is a Health Communication Intern at the Department of Public Health
There always seems to be a trendy new fruit or vegetable being advertised as the best thing next to
sliced bread. But really, the avocado explosion is one healthy trend I’ve been excitedly following over the years. In fact, I’ve yet to meet one person who didn’t like this alligator pear (the less common name for this popular fruit). But why are these green, fleshy fruits so good for us – you may ask? Is all the hype just a bowl of guacamole, or are they truly as nutritious as they are delicious?
Well, it seems the popularity is well deserved. Avocados are full of fiber, vitamins C, K, folate, and B6, and potassium! In fact, a single avocado contains over one-third the day’s recommendation for vitamin C and over half the day’s recommendation for vitamin K. Half an avocado has 160 calories and 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Research has actually shown the healthy unsaturated fat in avocados helps our bodies to absorb more of the important antioxidants it contains! Plus, avocados are easy to prepare and can spiff up many a meal.
How to cut and prepare an avocado:
• Rinse and dry the avocado thoroughly.
• Place the avocado long ways on a flat surface (over a cutting board or a clean dishtowel).
• Hold the top of the avocado down firmly with the fingertips of one hand.
• Starting at the narrow end, slice slowly along the center long ways around the large seed in the center.
• Take the avocado in the palm of your hand and use the other hand to twist the two halves apart. Use a spoon to scoop out the seed in the center.
• Peel the fruit by pulling away the outer dark green flesh from the yellow to green inner layer. If some dark sections remain, cut them off. You might want to try slicing the avocado into wedges before peeling. If it is difficult to peel away the skin, the avocado is not fully ripe.
• If saving for later, avoid browning by sprinkling some lemon juice on the green area and storing in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Ways to enjoy avocados:
• Guacamole – chances are you’ve indulged in this delicious dip! Try it with whole wheat pita or light tortilla chips or use it as spread for a wrap with lean meat.
• Cut into wedges and throw on a salad - the creamy texture is great against anything crispy.
• Add a slice to a sandwich instead of mayo - achieve that whipped flavor with a small fraction of the fat and a whole lot of nutrients!
• Add to tacos or tortilla soup – the flavor goes great with anything spicy.
• After scooping out the seed, fill half an avocado with black beans and salsa (or anything) and eat with a spoon for a convenient vegetarian snack.
• Feeling adventurous? Make your own avocado sushi rolls. Try brown rice instead of white sticky rice.
• Most importantly, don’t forget to avo-good time experimenting!
More great avocado recipes can be found here: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/quick-healthy/avocado-recipes-00412000071491/page17.html
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