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With the 4th of July holiday coming up, and cook outs and celebrations sure to ensue, I decided that this week we would focus our Try It Out Tuesday on Avocados. Avocados were long thought of as a food that you should eat only "occasionally" because of the relatively high fat content, but upon closer inspect recently have become listed as a super food because of the heart healthy benefits and antioxidants that they contain (in addition to their fat being the "healthy kind.")
All About Avocados
According to the research that I read in preparation for writing up this Try It Out Tuesday, avocados can sometimes because called the "alligator pear" because of the shape of the fruit and it's thick, leathery skin. I've never personally heard them called that, but some of you may be more familiar with the terminology.
Avocados are grown all over the world, from South America to the islands of the South Pacific. They are grown on trees, and when fully grown they can weigh somewhere between 8 ounces and 3 pounds (!!). Once picked, they take about 6-9 days to ripen, after which time they have a very soft, buttery texture and richness.
Aside from the olive, avocados have the highest monounsaturated fat content of any fruit at 20%. They also contain smaller amounts of saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. They contain three times the potassium content of a banana, as well as vitamin A, C, some Bs, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Avocados have been shown to reduce the risk of prostate, oral, and breast cancers. In addition, they also have more lutein than any other commonly consumed fruit, which is key in fighting age related macular degeneration (which is the leading cause of age related blindness). Avocados also contain key ingredients which help with heart health, stroke prevention, and lowering your cholesterol. Finally, some research has shown that nutrients are better absorbed when eaten with avocados (although you could presume this would also apply to other foods that are high in monounsaturated fats). In one study, people that ate avocados in their salads absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (compounds that protect against chronic diseases) than people who did not pair their salad with avocados.
Ways to Incorporate Avocados
My favorite: guacamole! Other suggestions include:
- Avocado Frappe
- Coconut-Avocado Ice Cream
- Mexican Baked Fish
- Avocado, Tomato, and Mango Salsa
- Cobb Salad
- Absolutely Amazing Ahi
- Cobb Sandwich
Or you could do what was common when I was traveling in South America, and just slice it up and eat it by itself! Yum!
I can't wait to try out some new avocado recipes, and maybe even be generous and bring them to a 4th of July celebration to share the healthy deliciousness! I would love for you all to share your favorite avocado recipes or uses, so leave a link or recipe in the comments section and I will be sure to check it out! Have fun adding avocados to your diet this week!
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I'm reading this: Try It Out Tuesday - AvocadosTweet this! Posted by Lauren on Tuesday, June 29, 2010