Avocados seem to be the fruit (yes, fruit!) that people either love or love to hate. However, this versatile fruit has a wealth of nutritional and health benefits, and an endless amount of ways to incorporate it into your diet.
The key to enjoying avocado is consuming it at its peak ripeness. When purchasing avocados, look for the ones that are firm to the touch with rough skin and a greenish tint. Store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy them.
My rule of thumb for determining peak ripeness lies in the stem: if you cannot remove it, let your avocado sit and ripen for a few more days. When you do remove the stem, the colour of the flesh should be green. That is the greenlight to slice, dice, mash, or puree your avocado. If the colour beneath the stem is brown, this may indicate that your avocado is overripe.
Avocados are packed with nutrients. Consider the vitamins (A, C, D, E, K, and B) and minerals (magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium). This fruit is full of enzymes and 74% water by weight. Avocados provide 18 amino acids and seven fatty acids including omega-3 and omega-6.
Consider the Health Benefits
Good for the Ticker
Mono and polyunsaturated fats found in avocados may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease the risk for heart disease. Vitamin B6 and folic acid found in avocados may help regulate the amino acid homocysteine, which has been associated with a higher risk of heart disease.
Anti-inflammatory agents include phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and polyhydroxolated fatty alcohols.
Keep that Cholesterol in Check
The beta-sitosterol compound in avocados may help lower the bad levels of cholesterol and increase the good levels of cholesterol.
Regulate Blood Sugar
Avocados are low carb and low sugar, which can help maintain blood sugar. Blood sugar levels can be managed by the monosaturated fats found in avocados. Soluble fibre can also help keep blood sugar levels stable.
Regulating Blood Pressure
Help keep you blood pressure at bay with the high level of potassium in avocados. Potassium acts to regulate the effects of salt, which can cause blood pressure to spike.
Good for the Peepers
This creamy fruit is an excellent source of the carotenoid lutein, known to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Avocados are a good source of glutathione – a powerful antioxidant associated with immune system health.
Keep your Digestive System on Track
Avocados are full of fibre that will keep you regular, and keep you intestines healthy.
Get Glowing Skin
Thank the vitamin C and E in avocados for the healthy, nourished glow.
CleanRecipe: Ashley’s Cold Avocado Pizza
This recipe is perfect for a summer snack, or light dinner!
First, choose your base. I absolutely love Naan, so that is what I used.
The ‘sauce’ is a simple avocado mash:
1 tsp Grapeseed Oil
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
- Mash together avocado, grapeseed oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread your avocado mash over naan bread, or your preferred base. You could also try tortilla wraps, pita bread, sunflower bread, or whole lettuce leaves.
- TIP: try toasting your bread base before adding the mash to give it an extra crunch!
- Top your avocado pizza base with your favourite toppings: try different vegetables, herbs, meats and cheeses!
- TIP: To make your pizza a more complete meal, try adding a few strips of grilled steak or chicken breast over top.
- Lightly drizzle your fresh avocado pizza with olive oil or balsamic glaze before serving.
- Enjoy your avocado pizza as a light meal for yourself, or cut it up into slices for delicious party appetizers.
Written and Photographed by Ashley Massey, Contributing Writer, #OurInspiration Feature
Awesome Avocado. Published Jnauary 1, 2005. Written By: David Klein www.alive.com/health/awesome-avocado
Avocados Fat and Fabulous. Published Spetember 23, 2011. Written by Jennifer Danter www.alive.com/food/avocados
Live Science. Avocados: health benefits, risks and nutrition facts. By: Jessie Szalay. October 23, 2014. Www.livescience.com/45209-avocado-nutrition-facts.html.