Oh avocados, how I love you. Delicious and nutritious, I always have these guys in my kitchen. They add great texture and flavor to a smoothie, can replace mayonnaise or other condiments on a sandwich or burger, and are one of my go-to toppings for my many salads. I just can’t get enough. If only I lived in an area where I could grow them. May need to think on that… ;)
A fruit from the avocado tree, these puppies pack a nutritious punch. Avocados contain 20 different vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium (more than a banana!), B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, zinc and phosphorus. They do not contain any cholesterol or sodium. In fact, recent studies have shown that these little green guys can actually help stave off bad cholesterol (don’t believe me? read about it here!). They are loaded with fiber, helping to keep us full longer and reduce blood sugar spikes, and contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Avocados are lauded for their healthy fats. Yes I said fat. Before you go running and screaming away from avocados, know that fat is a necessity. Our bodies can’t function properly without it. Without fats our bodies can’t absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats help build cell walls, boost immunity and assist with assimilation of minerals and calcium. Digestion is also impossible without fats.
What is key is the type of fat we eat (i.e. avoid industrial fats in processed foods, hydrogenated oils and trans fats). Avocados primarily contain monounsaturated fatty acids, specifically oleic acid, which is known for helping to low LDL (bad) cholesterol. Do you know what else is loaded with oleic acid? Olive oil. And we all know how good that is for us.
California currently produces 90% of the U.S.’s avocado crop, with the Hass variety being the most popular. I have learned a few tricks regarding avocados over the years. If they are rock solid when you get home from the grocery, put them in a brown paper lunch bag to hasten the ripening process. Once they are ripe, put them in the refrigerator and they will stop ripening and last until you are ready to eat them. I commonly only eat half an avocado at one time, storing the other half in the fridge in aluminum foil for later. I always make sure to store the half with the pit as the pit helps to keep it fresh.
Summer is quickly approaching, which means pool, parties, fun and sun. On hot summer days, nothing beats some fresh, homemade guacamole with plantain chips and raw veggies and a cool drink (maybe with tequila in it??). This recipe is super easy and sure to be a crowd pleaser. The lemon in the recipe helps to keep it from turning brown (which happens when avocado is exposed to air). I also leave the pit in the dish until right before I serve it.
makes approximately 5 servings
2 ripe avocados
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 small red onion, chopped
5 drops lemon essential oil (approx. 1 tsp lemon juice)
1/4 tsp sea salt
pepper to taste
Mash avocado in a bowl then throw in ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Serve atop your favorite salad or with your favorite chips. Best with some sort of tequila-based drink on the side (kidding!). Or not. :)
~Peace, love and healthy fats~