Avocado is a fruit indigenous to North America but currently grows all around the world in Mediterranean and tropical climates. Known scientifically as Persea americana, avocados are sometimes called “alligator pears,” a linguistic corruption of the transliterated Spanish word for “aguacate.” Avocados grow on trees and are considered a berry. These are an ancient fruit and pre-date humanity, with discoveries of the avocado pits (the large seed inside of the fruit) that date back 10,000 years—meaning avocados have been around at least that long, if not longer. Many scientists believe avocados evolved alongside much larger, now-extinct mammals, who could ingest the entire fruit and would disperse the large pit. Today, we enjoy the interior buttery flesh of the avocado in a variety of ways, including on toast, in salads and smoothies, and as delicious dips or standalone sides.
Avocados are an extraordinarily healthy food, categorized as a “superfood” because of how nutrient dense they are. Avocados are high in dietary fiber, with a single avocado making up about 40% of the daily recommended fiber intake. They feature high levels of beneficial fatty acids, like the kind found in fish, but have very low cholesterol. A single serving of avocado (which is ⅓ of a medium Hass avocado) also has 10 mg of calcium, 0.3 mg of iron, 15 mg of magnesium, 250 mg of potassium, 0.3 mg copper, and 0.1 mg zinc along with vitamins B-6 (0.1 mg),, C (4 mg) E (1 mg), and vitamin K (11 mcg).
Many people make their own avocado face and hair masks, and both the avocado oil and flesh are often included in various cosmetics because of the highly nutrient-dense and moisturizing quality of the fruit. The beta-carotene found in avocado can help reverse sun damage and the signs of aging. The fats and oils in avocados are great for nourishing and moisturizing the skin. Avocado oil is often used for treating plaque psoriasis.
The high fiber content in avocados helps lower cholesterol in the blood by absorbing it in the bloodstream. Beta-sitosterol, which is a cholesterol-like substance found in avocados and other fruits and vegetables, helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels by blocking the absorption of cholesterol. The combination of potassium, oleic acid, and omega-3 acid make avocados great at helping reduce blood pressure as well, a symptom of high cholesterol. The fiber and monounsaturated fat in avocados provides a long-lasting full and satiated feeling, which can aid in weight loss.
Avocados may help those with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. The monounsaturated fats in avocados help balance insulin levels, while the fiber maintains a healthy blood sugar level.
Avocados are a fantastic anti-inflammatory due to the presence of flavonoids, which are responsible for giving avocados their green hue. Scientists believe that flavonoids can help reduce inflammation in the stomach and make your body better at digesting food by cleaning the intestine and reducing swelling. Some studies also report improved breath, which is connected to gut health.
Avocados contain a high amount of folic acid, about 41% of your daily recommended intake in a single avocado. Many doctors recommend taking folic acid to pregnant women because folate, found in the folic acid, aids in the development of vital organs and brain cells.
Though avocado toast is a perfectly acceptable and delicious way to enjoy the healthy fruit, there are a variety of other avocado recipes to get creative and get your daily healthy fats in, too. Avocados go great with practically anything. An avocado can be eaten simply scooped out of its shell and with some cracked fresh pepper, flaky sea salt, and good olive oil drizzled on top. Avocado is used frequently in Mexican food, topping soups and tostadas, packed into burritos and tacos with avocado salsa, cilantro, and tomato to complement the flavors. Obviously it is the star ingredient in guacamole, which is just avocado, salt, onion, tomato, garlic, and lime juice mashed together. Avocados have made their way around the world, adding a decadent flavor and texture to traditional dishes. For example, a traditional Italian caprese salad with avocado tastes extra creamy and buttery. Avocado oil has a high smoke point, which makes it great to cook with. It also tastes great when used in salad dressings with other raw veggies.
Serving: 4 People
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Large frying pan
Full size baking sheet with rack
3 shallow bowls
Oil for frying (canola or safflower)
3 tbs. Flour
¼ tbs. salt, plus more to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups breadcrumbs (preferably panko, but regular breadcrumbs will suffice)
2 firm Hass avocados, firm
Serves: 2 to 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutesCook Time
Large salad bowl
Cast iron skillet
8 to 10 ounces washed greens, such as spinach, romaine, or a spring mix (about 6 or 7 packed cups)
1 Hass avocado, halved, pit removed, and diced with skin removed
¼ cup cooked quinoa
¼ cup pepitas
4 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled
2 Persian cucumbers, diced
2 handfuls basil or mint
6 strips of bacon
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Serves: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Large pot for cooking pasta
8 ounces pasta (bowtie, penne, or orecchiette)
1 large red onion, sliced into half moon shapes
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. olive oil (plus more for cooking onion and garlic)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. salt (plus more for cooking pasta)
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. red chili pepper flakes
2 medium, ripe Hass avocados, diced
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