Avocados are Mexico’s gift to the world, and with today being National Avocado Day, it’s the perfect time to indulge in this bumpy-skinned, yummy, nutrient-packed fruit! Avocados have had somewhat of a resurgence in popularity these past couple of years, with the infamous avocado toast leading the way as a delicious dish that highlights the fruit.
Besides being nutrient-dense, they also full of mono-saturated fat, with more than 75% of it being the “good” kind of fat, which can help lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Technically, since an avocado is a plant food, the “fat” it contains is considered an oil rather than a solid fat.
Power Up With an Avocado
Avocados are super nutritious! Just look what you get when you peel and eat a one-cup serving of avocado …
- 9.9 grams of fiber
- 232 calories that are anything but empty
- only 1 gram of sugar
- 3 grams of protein
- 26% of the RDA of vitamin K for a man and 34% for a woman (aids in blood clotting)
- 20% of the RDA of vitamin E (aids in immune function and is also an antioxidant)
- B-complex vitamins (40% of the RDA for pantothenic acid, 30% of the RDA for folate, and 29% of the RDA for vitamin B6), aiding (respectively) in energy and hormone production, protein metabolism and red blood cell formation, and protein metabolism/absorption and red blood cell formation/lipid metabolism.
Avocados are also cholesterol and sodium-free. Need more reasons to indulge?
Did You Know…
- Although avocados mature on the tree, they ripen only after they’ve been picked?
- The U.S. grows avocados domestically. Or more specifically, the mid to southern coastal regions of California, produce almost all — 90% — of the avocados grown in the United States. Florida grows a small percentage too, but theirs include the big, smooth-skinned Caribbean-style avocados whose flesh is less creamy and dense. The only other state that grows a small amount of avocados is Hawaii.
- Hass avocodos are the most popular avocado grown anywhere in the world. The Hass Avocado tree was discovered by a mailman in Southern California, who had one growing in his backyard. His last name, of course, was Hass, who named the tree after himself when he patented it in the 1930s.
- Want to know how to tell when an avocado is perfectly ripe and ready to eat? Cup it in your palm and squeeze gently. It’s ready when it still feels somewhat firm but yields a bit to gentle pressure. Don’t squeeze with your fingers, which leaves bruises in the flesh of the avocado.
How to Enjoy an Avocado
Of course, you can simply peel, slice and eat, but there are other things you can do with an avocado like:
- Use it as a substitute for a condiment like mayonnaise or mustard on a sandwich. It’s creamy and spreadable.
- Slice it thinly and use it place of lettuce on a sandwich for a more nutritious punch.
- Add some sliced avocado to a basic vinaigrette in the blender and blend until creamy for a delicious and healthy salad dressing.
- Cut an avocado in half, remove the pit and fill the cavities with crabmeat or tuna salad for a healthy lunch.
- Split and pit an avocado, brush with a little olive oil and put it on a hot grill for a few minutes.
- Combine 1 ripe avocado with 6 oz. of semisweet chocolate (melted), a little honey and a pinch of salt in a food processor and serve an avocado-based chocolate mousse to your friends at your next dinner party. They’ll never know your secret to making it so deliciously creamy!
- Add an avocado to your next smoothie for extra creaminess and a dose of healthy fats.
- Add it as a side dish with scrambled eggs, and make a tasty and nutritious spread for toast on mornings when time is too short to cook anything.