Mmmm, avocado....one of my absolute favorite foods. I can't help but salivate over the thought of homemade guacamole as I write this! Let's just agree that this creamy, pear-shaped fruit is unlike any other. With it's heart-healthy fat, powerful antioxidants and potent nutrient content, this fruit should be a staple in any household. It sure is in mine!
There is no reason to run in fear of eating a ripe and delicious avocado due to fat content. Fat is actually one of the cleanest burning sources of fuel for the heart. Yes, fat! Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats which support a healthy heart by increasing HDL (the "good" cholesterol) and assisting in absorption of the fat-soluble nutrients, vitamins A, D, E and K. They are also very high in potassium, which helps to support healthy blood pressure levels; also very essential for heart-health.
A rich and filling food to help prevent heart disease? I'm in.
The very same monounsaturated fat of an avocado that promotes heart health and nutrient absorption also helps to balance blood sugar and promote greater satiation after a meal (as does its fiber content). Adding avocado to your diet is a wonderful way to help you to feel fuller, quicker. This reduces any tendencies to overeat and can play a role in reducing that annoying muffin top. So yes, eating the right fats can actually help you to lose weight!
The ancient Aztecs named the avocado tree ahuacatl, which translated means "testicle tree". Yes, you're now realizing that avocados do have quite the interesting shape...but fun and games aside, they really do help with sexual health! Their healthy fat helps to keep the blood flowing to all the right places and their high quantity of B vitamins enhances energy and stamina.
Avocados are also a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which help to protect against macular degeneration and cataracts.
The Trick for a Perfectly Ripe Avocado
How many times have you purchased some of these green beauties when they were rock hard, then left them on your counter for a few days, only to slice them open for a grand reveal of icky brown mush? I just hate when that happens! Sometimes giving it a light squeeze to judge it's ripeness just doesn't cut it. A handy little trick is to check under the little brown stem cap at the top of your avocado...
- If the stem is difficult to remove, it is not yet ripe.
- If it is brown under the stem, it is likely over-ripe.
- If it is green under the stem, the avocado should be perfect and ready to eat!
How to Enjoy Avocados
The avocado's somewhat neutral taste and versatile texture allows it to be the chameleon of the produce world. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, or simply enjoyed on a salad or on its own in slices.
If you love avocado as is, but want to give it a bit more flair, try an Avocado Pesto or Citrus Purée on top of your next seafood dish. Or for a dairy-free, vegan condiment, give this Avocado CiIlantro Mayo a whirl. The options are absolutely endless! Did you know that with just a bit of cocoa powder, coconut milk, maple syrup and avocado, you can make a decadent chocolate mousse that's quite healthy for you? Mind blown!
I challenge you pick up a few of these gorgeous fruits at your local farmer's market and experiment! What creative and delicious avocado concoction can you come up with?