Health Benefits of Avocado and Recipe Ideas
Affectionately known as the “alligator pear” due to its rough, bumpy exterior, with avocados, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Underneath the tough skin is a soft exterior that confers such significant nutritive value that the fruit is classified as a superfood.
Whether you whip it into guacamole, pile it onto sandwiches, or garnish it over your favorite salad, avocado is one of the quickest and most versatile ingredients that home cooks can use to accentuate a meal. But while this richly-textured, feel-good food may seem like a creamy decadence, dieters can take heart, because avocado actually offers heart-healthy fats and other nutrients that do the body good. Learn about the health benefits of avocado along with inventive avocado uses that transform this everyday fruit into one-of-a-kind culinary creations right in your kitchen.
Health Benefits of Avocado
Affectionately known as the "alligator pear" due to its rough, bumpy exterior, with avocados, it's what's on the inside that counts. Underneath the tough skin is a soft exterior that confers such significant nutritive value that the fruit is classified as a superfood-one of many foods that are particularly beneficial to the health. Avocados are cholesterol-free and confer 20 vitamins and minerals, including a potent helping of Vitamin K, B5, B6, E, Folate, and Potassium-all in a single, 3.5-oz serving. And of the approximately 9 grams of carbohydrate in an avocado, the majority is fiber, keeping you satiated longer.
Avocados are low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fats that your body can easily convert into energy while absorbing the fat-soluble nutrients from other foods. A study of overweight and obese Americans supported the heart-healthy benefits of avocado, finding that individuals who consumed a moderate-fat diet including one avocado each day had lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol than those who consumed an average American diet. An additional study published in Nutrition Journal found that eating just half an avocado with lunch can satiate overweight individuals and help avoid unhealthy snacking.
While the beauty of avocado is in its simplicity, if avocados are to become your new "apple a day," you're going to need to look beyond the conventional avocado recipes to find new avocado uses. Here are several avocado uses that will give you a fresh outlook on eating healthy while enjoying yourself.
Sliced avocados can be paired with other fruits and transformed into a weeknight delicacy through this spicy mango and avocado rice bowl. But while savory avocado uses are the most popular, sliced avocados can also serve as a replacement fat for oil, butter, or shortening in your favorite baked goods. Simply replace the fat with an equal amount of avocado. If you usually consume store-bought yogurts, swap them with yogurt sweetened with honey and topped with sliced avocados for a decadent, diet-friendly treat.
Guacamole is the most well-known form of mashed avocados, but by thinking out of the box, you can use mashed potatoes as a nutrient-rich sauce using this avocado sauce recipe, or as avocado salad dressing that replaces sugar- and additive-laden store-bought equivalents. Alternatively, replace processed baby food with freshly mashed avocados using these avocado baby food recipes.
Take a cue from the Filipino diet and puree your avocados with a natural sweetener and milk to prepare a luscious, guilt-free avocado smoothie. Alternatively, prepare avocado recipes like this avocado mousse that blends avocado with silken tofu to prepare a flavorful and heart-healthy whipped topping. And if your diet has put your ice cream cravings on hold, you can finally cave in to them with this recipe for avocado ice cream.
If you don't have time to whip up guacamole, let alone a gourmet meal featuring fresh, wholesome ingredients like avocado, turn to bistroMD's diet delivery service for chef-prepared, physician-certified meals like the California Wrap, with tantalizing turkey and the health benefits of fresh avocado.