5 Health Benefits of Avocados
I know what you are thinking: What? This guy again? And avocados? I love those creamy little treasures of nature, why do I need to know about the health benefits? Let me tell you why: because you aren’t eating enough of these delectable delights. That’s why.
The avocado is a fruit (not a vegetable) originally found in the Central Mexico region, which ripens after it is picked. There are more than 500 of varieties of avocado and it has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years. It is also known as the alligator pear because of its scaly skin. The outside skin and the pit are inedible, despite millennia of efforts (I mean, they are edible, sort of like gravel is technically edible). Avocados were first introduced to the United States in 1871, when Judge R.B. Ord planted three trees in Santa Barbara, California.
2. Creamy Deliciousness & Nutritious!
While avocados have a high caloric count (one avocado is 320 calories), the various nutrients and “healthy” fats make it a must-eat. Some call the avocado the alphabet fruit because of all the vitamins it contains. One avocado provides your body with vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, along with an enormous amount of potassium and “healthy” fat. Perhaps the biggest health benefit of avocados is that by adding avocado to certain foods, you can improve your absorption of nutrients. This means that when you combine other fat burning foods with avocado, you can improve your nutrient absorption up to 400%! Avocados can also reduce the signs of aging, regulate blood sugar and improve eye health.
3. Good for the Heart
The fat content of an avocado provides protection against heart diseases. Studies have shown that oleic acid improves cardiovascular health. Oleic acid is the primary fatty acid in avocadoes. Many people now take supplements in order to consume more omega-3 fatty acids to lower their risk of heart disease. Avocadoes are rich in omega-3, delivering 160 milligrams per cup of alpha-linolenic acid.
4. Vegetarians and Vegans Rejoice – Protein!
Avocadoes provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absorbed by the body because avocadoes also contain fiber. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian or vegan seeking more protein, avocadoes are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet.
5. To Read with your Guacamole
Here a couple of choice items to chew over. Once an avocado is picked, it takes between 7 and 10 days to ripen. Keeping it in the refrigerator will slow down the ripening process, while putting it in a paper bag with a ripe apple will speed up the process. Avocados have the highest protein content of any fruit. The first Hass avocado tree is still alive and producing fruit. Brazilians add avocados to their ice cream and Indonesians make avocado shakes (see below).
Bet You Didn’t Know:
On average, 53.5 million pounds of guacamole are eaten every Super Bowl Sunday, enough to cover a football field more than 20 feet thick.
It’s time to start thinking of avocados as a regular diet supplement rather than a frisky Saturday treat. Get them into your daily diet in salads, on sandwiches or just plain. Start changing the way people view them and you will see more of them around.
Simple is Best! I am an extremely lucky guy. Not only is my wife a wonderful cook (and a wonderful person!) but her family owns an avocado ranch down in southern California – that’s my boy on the back of the trailer. When we were dating and I visited her parents for the first time, I had little to no experience with avocados and guacamole. We weren’t there for more than a few hours, when her aunt walked out into the orchard, picked up a couple of ripe avocados from the ground, came back inside, sliced and mashed them, and we had guacamole. No fancy additions. No cilantro or tomatoes (or salsa!) or any of that nonsense – no Sir! – just plain avocado mashed up and eaten with some lovely blue corn chips. And that’s one of my recipes for you today.
You Haven’t Done This Before:
- ½ cup ice
- 1 avocado (peel, cored)
- 1 cup milk (1%or 2%)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp chocolate syrup
- Using only the “meat” of the avocado, put avocado, milk, ice and sugar in a blender, mix until smooth.
- Squirt chocolate syrup into a glass along the inside sides (not on the bottom).
- Pour mixture into glass. Enjoy!
What is your favorite dish for avocados? Let us know in the comments below.