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Monday, May 20, 2013

Avocado Surprises

By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD

avocado sandwich

Who doesn’t love a good surprise care-package? A few months ago I received an epic one from a friend in California. I opened the very heavy box to find…. More than a dozen avocados. From his backyard avocado tree no less. Talk about a new best friend.

Avocados have a notorious reputation for being high in fat and calories and many people (especially frequent dieters) are still anti-avo for this reason. But the fruit has quickly moved up the ranks as one of my favorite foods — and not just because I had a lot of them to go through.

Yes, avocados aka “nature’s butter” are definitely high in fat – but it’s the healthy, unsaturated kind that’s fantastic for heart and joint health. It can also drastically increase absorption of antioxidants (x200-400%) like carotenoids. Carotenoids are vital for vision and reproductive health, and are found in avocados as well as red and orange fruits and vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes.

And it’s fine to be a little superficial: avocados are moisturizing and great for your skin and hair – both from the inside and outside. They are also considered an ancient aphrodisiac and libido booster.

When it comes to weight loss, it might sound cheesy (or guacamol-y) but I like to say “fat is where it’s at”  — though portion size does apply. Avocados are actually a dieting gem – the high fiber content (7g per ½ avocado) and unsaturated fats keep you full and add flavor and texture to foods. Of course quantity is important: stick with ¼  to ½ an avocado max a day.

As if that wasn’t enough, they are a fabulous travel food; Lauren at Foodtrainers introduced me to packing them in luggage for a healthy snack anywhere in the world.

Guacamole is great, but you can also use avocados:

  • on salads, like this Raspberry, Avocado & Mango Salad
  • in place of mayo on sandwiches and in chicken/tuna salads
  • in smoothies
  • spread on toast with sliced tomatoes
  • in chocolate-avo pudding aka “chocomole” (courtesy of the blog, choosing raw)
  • MY favorite recipe – my own avocado brownies that were a serious hit

So are you an avocado-addict too? Any great recipes?

Posted by: Carolyn Brown, MS, RD at 12:40 pm

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