AVOCADO SCORES BIG!
…in Flavor, in Versatility, in Nutrition, in History, and in “Cleanliness“…Check out this fruit’s impressive report card:
FLAVOR [+Texture]: Avocado is mild yet distinctive, slightly sweet & slightly nutty to some, smooth (buttery), and complimentary.
VERSATILITY: Avocado gets along well with others—works (and blends) nicely with other fruits or vegetables, starches or protein foods; on top or bottom, inside or out—for dips, spreads, salads, salad dressings, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, omelets, soups, smoothies, or more, even as a substitute ingredient (such as for butter/dairy/oil) in baked goods; while still remaining good all by itself! Recipe ideas below.
NUTRITION: Avocado is dense by nature, in a good way (!)—nutrient dense—contributing about 15 vitamins & minerals—along with valuable plant compounds (phytochemicals) including lutein and phytosterols (like beta sitosterol)—plus fiber; as well as healthy fats (particularly monounsaturated); considered low-glycemic, too! Not only are such components associated with disease prevention, but this type of profile may even assist us with satiety, which is the quality of feeling satisfied after eating. Additionally, avocado can serve as a nutrient enhancer (due to its fat) by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamins A, D, E, & K in foods that are eaten with it. Useful, indeed. Therefore, this fruit brings much to the table.
Some of its attributes, within a 1-ounce-serving [about one-fifth of medium avocado; or 2-3 thin slices], include:
• Vitamin E: 0.9 IU
• Vitamin C: 2.6 mg
• Folate: 27 mcg
• Iron: 0.2 mg
• Potassium: 150 mg
• Lutein: 81 micrograms
• Beta-carotene: 19 micrograms
• Total Fat: 4.5 grams [monounsaturated = 3.0 g; polyunsaturated = 0.5 g]
• Fiber 2.0 grams
• Energy: 50 calories.
—If interested in a larger serving (which I love having as a snack simply with fresh lemon juice squeezed right on top), these are the numbers for approximately 2.5 ounces (or about half of a medium-sized avocado): vitamin E = 2.2 IU; vitamin C = 6.5 mg; folate = 67.5 mcg; iron = 0.5 mg; potassium = 380 mg; total fat = 12 grams with 7 g monounsaturated & 1 gram polyunsaturated; fiber = 5grams; energy = 130 calories; per source: Avocado Central site]
HISTORY: Avocado is said to have originated in Mexico between 7,000 and 5,000 B.C., with evidence of its cultivation dating 750 to 500 B.C. Today, California is the leading producer of the domestic avocado (a native American plant), and home to about 90 percent of the nation’s crop—of which Hass is the most popular variety, whose story is quite remarkable. The mother tree of all Hass Avocados (“born” in 1926) actually took root by chance; discovered within a California backyard of a postman, Mr. Rudolph Hass who patented it in 1935. And this special tree—to which to which every Hass Avocado in the world can trace its lineage—lived until 2002. The Hass variety is actually grown year-round, and accounts for about 80 percent of all avocados eaten worldwide today! [as per source: California Avocado Commission site]
CLEANLINESS: Avocado dresses for success. California Avocado farmers rely on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to combat pests and diseases; therefore, their avocados rank among the lowest of all fruits & vegetables for pesticide use, with “the softest chemicals selected to have the least impact on the environment and on beneficial organisms in the orchard” −per the California Avocado site. But let’s see what the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has to say about the avocado. After all, EWG is the American environmental, non-profit organization known for their “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists regarding pesticide residues amongst conventionally grown produce within our U.S. markets. Well, avocado is not only a Clean 15, it actually ranks #1 within their listing of 51 fruits & vegetables as being the best for carrying the least, if any, chemical residue… So I guess, then, the avocado could be called the valedictorian of this class of 51… Truly, not just a dip—Quite smart & fun!
And speaking of dip, let’s bring it on… A recipe for guacamole and more:
►“Award Winning Guacamole Recipe” including ingredients of: Hass Avocados (fresh, ripe), onion, garlic clove, tomato, Monterey Jack cheese, green chiles, fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, seasoned salt; via Avocado Central guacamole recipe link.
►“Gluten-Free Mini Avocado Spice Cupcakes Recipe” via Avocado Central cupcake recipe link.
►“California Avocado, Fruit and Citrus Bowl” via California Avocado Commission fruit bowl recipe link.
[Note: Source of Guacamole image and Avocado Raspberry Salad recipe image from Avocado Central site; source of fruit bowl recipe image from California Avocado site].
UPDATE (9/24/2016): For even more about this very impressive fruit, check out “13 HEALTH BENEFITS OF AVOCADO” by Marry Spencer of the Health & Fitness Shop as well!
–Eileen Frank, RD. [Please refer to “About” The Way to Nourish for Life re: caveat.]