Super food profile: Avocado

Superfoods Profile: Avocado

av·o·ca·do
[av-uh-kah-doh, ah-vuh-]plural av·o·ca·dos
Also called alligator pear. a large, usually pear shaped fruit having green to blackish skin, a single large seed, and soft, light-green pulp, borne by the tropical American tree Perseaamericana, often eaten raw,especially in salads.

I’ll never forget a discussion with a lady I knew about avocados. She said she didn’t eat them because they were too high in fat and then went on to eat a hamburger and chips. The irony was not lost on me.

It is true that roughly 75% of the energy in avocados comes from fat most of that is monounsaturated fat (oleic acid). While 14% of the fat in avocado is saturated fat (palmitic acid). Fantastically, avocado contains no cholesterol.

While avocado has a relatively high calorie count, 160 calories per 100 grams, it is not eaten in huge quantities and it keeps you feeling fuller longer (largely in part to the high fat content) meaning you’re less likely to over eat or snack soon after eating it.

SOME OF THE REASONS THAT MAKE AVOCADO A SUPERFOOD:
Fat: While 75% of the energy in avocados comes from fat most of that is monounsaturated fat (oleic acid, makes you feel fuller longer). While 14% of the fat in avocado is saturated fat (palmitic acid). Fat is necessary for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins.
Potassium: Avocados have 35% more potassium than bananas.
Carbohydrates: Avocados are very low in carbohydrates meaning they won’t increase blood sugar.
Sodium: There is no sodium in the humble avocado, excellent for people with high blood pressure
Vitamins: Avocados are a rich source of vitamins K, B6, B5, C and E.
Folic acid: 1 cup of avocado has almost 1/4 of the recommended daily intake of folate protecting against birth defects as well as lowering the risk of heart attacks and heart disease in adults.
Fibre: Half an avocado contains 3.4 grams of fibre, 75% insoluble and 25% soluble fibre. Both kinds of fibre is needed to keep the digestive system running smoothly and soluble fibre delays the breakdown of carbohydrates, making you feel fuller for longer.
Antioxidants: a great source of antioxidants, avocados contain lutein and other carotenoids that can protect against eye disease and improve general health. Recent research has shown that eating avocado can increase the absorption of antioxidants (carotenoids are fat soluble) in other foods when eaten together. That way you’re getting more of the antioxidants from companion vegetables, like lettuce, carrot and spinach.
Cholesterol: Avocados do not contain any cholesterol but some studies suggest they can reduce bad cholesterol, while increasing good cholesterol.
Anti-cancer: preliminary research is being undertaken for potential anti-cancer properties that may be present in avocados.

Tip: The greatest concentration of carotenoids is in the dark flesh near the skin, so make sure you don’t leave it behind when you peel your avocado. Scrape it out with a blunt knife and include it in your meal :)

Avocade SignIt used to be hard to find avocados in the shops but now they are everywhere… even most multicultural grocers know the value of eating avocados.

There are many ways to enjoy avocado: they can be eaten as a sweet or savoury food. I am still coming to terms with avocado as a sweet food. I had a boyfriend once ask for sugar to put on his avocado and my whole family were horrified. I have tried a few chocolate mouse type recipes using avocados and haven’t minded them myself but my family just won’t eat them! I’m sticking to savoury for the moment.

FIVE EASY WAYS TO EAT AVOCADO (I’ll be providing these recipes shortly)
Avocado on toast sprinkled with Dukah
Avocado Pevre to spice up any meal
Avocado halves stuffed with goats cheese and basil
Spicy guacamole
Chocolate mouse

Grab some “alligator pears” today and get creative with this amazing, tasty and nutritious superfood.

Sources: Dictionary.com,  Wikipedia, World’s Healthiest Foods and Best Health.

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