Food & Fitness Friday: A is for Avocado!
Avocados can be found on the ingredient list for everything from your favorite face moisturizer to everyone’s favorite festive dip, guacamole. But while those mushy green facials & a good guac are awesome, don’t let your admiration for the mighty avocado go only skin or chip deep. Guac and pretty skin are only the beginning of the story.
Can we get abravo for our pal the avocado?
The avocado has many nutritional benefits, ranging from cholesterol management and high fiber content to alleviating arthritis and potentially lessening the side effects of chemotherapy.
I’ll try to keep the science short and sweet but here are a few of my favorite reasons to add avocado to any and everything:
• Monounsaturated fat: This friendly fat has a slew of health benefits. Research suggests that monounsaturated fats can improve cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of heart disease and benefit brain activity.
• Vitamin E: this super vitamin packs an antioxidant punch & has shown to protect body tissue from damage by kicking free radicals to the curb. It’s also vital to red blood cell formation — these cells are responsible for circulating oxygen and getting rid of waste.
• Vitamin B6: Among other awesome functions, Vitamin B6 assists with the body’s formation of glycogen (back-up fuel that’s stored in the liver and muscles) and promotes skin health— insert the facial hype ah ha moment!
• Carotenoids: When eaten together, avocados may increase the body’s absorption of carotenoids from other healthy foods like fruits and vegetables Carotenoids are high in Vitamin A and research has linked them to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and eye degeneration.
Picking the perfect avocado — Your Action Plan
The first step of adding avocado to a healthy diet (and perhaps the most daunting one) is knowing which fruit to pick. A good rule of thumb is to buy the fruit when it’s firm, and let it ripen for a few days before eating. To ripen more quickly, leave it on the counter. Want to make it last a little longer? Stick em’ in the fridge. To know when the avocado is ready to eat, squeeze it lightly. It should still be somewhat firm, but with enough give that a knife could smoothly cut through it. Thanks to its versatility, avocado can easily be used on a sandwich, as a dip or salsa, in chilled soup, in a salad, in sushi, with an omelet, or my personal favorite— avocado chocolate pudding. Or just scoop it right out of its skin! And even though we know that avocado can be so much more, don’t forget the guacamole (yummy, yummy guacamole). Just keep in mind that there can be too much of a good thing. Due to the fruit’s high-fat content (roughly 85% of the avocado’s calories come from fat), most experts recommend consuming no more than roughly half of a whole fruit per day. Not into eating them at all? If an avocado is purchased too ripe or forgotten on the kitchen counter, don’t let it go to waste! It’s easy to turn an abandoned avocado into a homemade face mask or hair treatment. Looking for a recipe to try? Check out my favorite avocado chocolate pudding or spicy avocado shrimp crostini recipe.
I hope this weekend brings you sunshine, friends & the best avocado! See y’all next week.
the little chef with the big heart