Some time ago, I was at my local grocery store picking up a few things to put together a Mexican type meal for my family. While feeling up the avocado like some fruit pervert, an older lady came over to me and asked what it was, what it tasted it like and what you could use it in.
Well....that poor woman! She asked what would seem like a harmless, simple question and what she ended up getting was an excited rant about how avocado is a superfruit that can be used in everything from breakfast to dessert, and let's not forget a good smoothie! (In all honesty, I think I scared her just a tad!).
Avocados grow on avocado trees primarily in Mexico and South America. This fruit is not sweet, but rich and distinctly, yet subtly, flavored and has a smooth, almost creamy, texture. It can be used in both savory and sweet dishes and is also very popular in vegetarian cuisine as a substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads.
From Mexico to Morocco, Brazil to Vietnam and India, avocados are widely used for everything from dips and spreads to milkshakes, ice cream and desserts. Ethiopians actually juice their avocado and drink it just like that.
Avocados are high in panthothenic acid, fiber, vitamin K, copper, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E and Vitamin C. But that's not their only nutritional benefits. Avocados are also very beneficial in the management of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis (particularly osteoarthritis and rheumatoid), they promote blood sugar regulation, help control blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, protect against certain cancers, promote eye health, eliminate bad breath and help fight aging! And, as if all of that wasn't incentive enough to try avocado, it's also supposed to increase libido, particularly in men! I can't think of another single fruit or vegetable that packs that much of a health punch!
The phytosterols in avocado are key in boosting the inflammatory system and it's polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PFAs), which are mostly common in ocean plants and unique to the avocado as a land plant, also have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Beyond that, avocado contains oleic acid which helps the digestive tract form 'transport' molecules for fat that can increase our absorption of fat-soluble material like carontenoids. As a monosaturated fat, it's also known to help lower the risk of heart disease by improving your overall bad fat(LDL)/good fat (HDL) ratio. A person can have an overall acceptable total cholesterol level, but if their LDL/HDL ratio isn't good, they're still at high risk for heart disease and stroke.
But probably the most interesting thing about avocado is its cancer fighting properties. Avocado can help prevent cancer in the mouth, skin and prostate gland. In healthy cells avocado works to improve inflammatory and oxidative stress levels. But in cancer cells it increases oxidative stress and shifts the cancer cells over into a programmed cell death cycle called apoptosis, thereby lessening the actual number of cancer cells!
You might be asking yourself just how you can incorporate avocado more into your diet. In each category of my recipe section from the navigation bar above, you'll find a recipe including avocado. Here's a list:
Beef and Pork Meatballs stuffed with Avocado
Turkey Avocado Wrap with Chiipotle Aioli
Pork and Avocado Burritos
Baked Seafood Stuffed Avocado
Tofu Rancheros with Avocado
Avocado and Black Bean Salad
Good Morning Sunshine Breakfast Sandwich
Mexican Flag Parfaits
Avocado and Fruit Power Booster Smoothie
The bottom line is, avocado is not only great diced or sliced and tossed in a salad, where, by the way, it can increase the absorption of phytosterols by as much as 400%, but you can use them across the board. If you haven't tried avocado, give it a chance; if you have, try something new with avocado in it. Either which way, your body and your family will thank you for it!