#SuperfoodSunday : Celebrating the Avocado

Avocado is a versatile ingredient and can be used for sweet and savoury cooking. Check out my recipe for Cold Avocado Pizza below!
Avocado is a versatile ingredient and can be used for sweet and savoury cooking. Check out my recipe for Cold Avocado Pizza below!

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

We are so used to seeing avocados used in savoury recipes, but their creamy, buttery texture and neutral flavour lends itself perfectly to desserts. Try using avocado puree as a substitute for cream and butter to make your favourite desserts vegan! Bonus: avocado puree holds its shape for rich desserts like puddings, ice creams and shakes!
We are so used to seeing avocados used in savoury recipes, but their creamy, buttery texture and neutral flavour lends itself perfectly to desserts. Try using avocado puree as a substitute for cream and butter to make your favourite desserts vegan! Bonus: avocado puree holds its shape for rich desserts like puddings, ice creams and shakes!

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 Agent

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.  

Immune Booster 

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!

Get creative with your pizza! Try cilantro and sliced tomato; pancetta and arugula; and feta cheese and toasted almonds.
Get creative with your pizza! Try cilantro and sliced tomato; pancetta and arugula; and feta cheese and toasted almonds.

First, choose your base. I absolutely love Naan, so that is what I used. 

The ‘sauce’ is a simple avocado mash:

1 Avocado

1 tsp Grapeseed Oil

1 Garlic Clove, Minced


Directions:  

  1. Mash together avocado, grapeseed oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. Lightly drizzle your fresh avocado pizza with olive oil or balsamic glaze before serving.
  5. Enjoy your avocado pizza as a light meal for yourself, or cut it up into slices for delicious party appetizers.

ashley and benWritten and Photographed by Ashley Massey, Contributing Writer, #OurInspiration Feature

Sources:

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.

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