i just had to take the time today to discuss my love for and slight obsession with avocados. do any of you feel the same way? i just think they are literally the most perfect food. they are beautiful, versatile, complex and yet simple…they enhance the flavor of foods or can be eaten as the main focus of a meal in so many unique ways.
the health benefits of avocados are immense, as they are loaded with nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients:
- they are good for your heart, as they are filled with vitamin E and monounsaturated fat (the good fat).
- they have been shown to lower cholesterol, as they are high in beta-sirosterol.
- they are high in folate, which reduces stroke.
- they are especially known to be high in vitamins and minerals which prevent oral, prostate, and breast cancer.
- research has even shown that they help you absorb nutrients in other foods that you eat with them!
for me, the best part about avocados is the many ways that you can creatively use them in meals- from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner, to dessert (seriously!). many people enjoy an avocado with their eggs in the morning, with sushi, as an addition to salads or sandwiches, and of course in guacamole. i love to use them as an alternative to butter or mayo on basically any recipe that calls for it, and as a replacement for cheese. i eat it plain on ezekiel toast most days for lunch with lemon juice, himalayan salt, and red pepper. a sandwich like this has a perfect balance of good fats, protein, and whole grains- tons of nutrition and is surprisingly low in calories. it also fills you up and prevents lots of snacking.
a couple of tips for making sure your avocado is ripe: squeeze it gently with your whole hand. it should yield just a little bit under pressure. if it is rock hard, it is not yet ripe, but one way to speed up the ripening process is to put the avocado into a brown paper bag with an apple. the ethylene gas from the apple will do its magic on the avocado and it will be perfect in a day or so. keep avocados stored at room temperature before cutting them open, and once you use some of it, place the rest in a container with lemon juice sprinkled on top so it doesn’t go brown.
aside from the more conventional ways to enjoy avocados, i wanted to give you a couple of cooling summer avocado recipes that just require a blender and will definitely get you hooked on this fabulous fruit if you aren’t already.
simple chilled avocado soup
- 1/2 firm-ripe California avocado
- 1 3/4 English cucumbers (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 (8-ounce) container plain low-fat yogurt (1 cup)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh jalapeño chile with seeds
- 1 cup small ice cubes
peel and pit avocado. blend all the ingredients in blender until smooth. garnish with diced avocado and chopped chives (i add cayenne sometimes too).
avocado carob pudding
- 2 avocados
- ½ cup raw carob powder (or raw cocoa or raw chocolate powder)
- 1 cup dates (Medjools ideally)
- 1/4 cup water (or a little less…this is just to make sure it blends properly in the blender)
simply blend all ingredients until the mixture is smooth and creamy and no lumps. add more of any ingredient to taste (i love to add a bit more carob).
these treats are perfect as the weather gets warmer and you start craving cooling foods that fill you up and leave you refreshed. try them and tell me what you think!!