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Food of The Month: Avocado

Why Eat Avocados

Maintain a healthy heart

Avocado contains vitamin B6 and folic acid, which help regulate homocysteine levels. Avocado also contains vitamin E, glutathione, and monounsaturated fat, which help in maintaining a healthy heart.

Lower cholesterol levels

Avocados are rich in a compound called beta-sitosterol which has been shown to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels.

Control blood pressure

Avocados are also a great source of potassium, which helps in controlling blood pressure levels.

Anti-Inflammatory properties

Phytonutrient compounds found in avocados, such as polyphenols and flavonoids have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, thereby reducing the risk of inflammatory and degenerative disorders.

Promote eye health

Avocado is an excellent source of carotenoid lutein, which known to help protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Regulate the blood sugar levels

The monounsaturated (good) fats in avocados can reverse insulin resistance which help to regulate blood sugar levels. Avocados also contain soluble fiber which keeps a steady blood sugar levels.

Reduce strokes risk

The high levels of folate in avocados may also protect against stroke. A study has shown that individuals who ate a diet rich in folate had a lower risk of stroke than those who did not.

Fight free radicals

Avocados contain glutathione, a powerful antioxidants that helps fight free radicals in the body.

Anti-aging properties

Being rich in antioxidants, avocado is beneficial in preventing aging symptoms. The glutathione in avocado may boosts immune systems, slows aging process, and encourages a healthy nervous system.

Increase nutrient absorption

Avocado intake is linked with an increased nutrient absorption. A study suggests that, when participants ate salad included avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes beta carotene and lycopene) than those who did not include avocados.

Tips & Facts

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Did you know that 1 dollop of mayo contains 80 calories? Replace mayo in your tuna or on your sandwiches with ½ c avocado and ½ c of Greek yogurt for a creamy dressing.

From bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwiches to lush avocado burgers or avocado wraps – avocados add creamy flair to any sandwich.

Sliced in salad avocados are spectacular.

Spread avocado on toast, for a rich and velvety, cholesterol-free topping.

For avocado purists – eating a half of a plain avocado sprinkled with lemon juice or your favorite seasoning is all you need. Try a little paprika or balsamic vinegar for an added twist.

Avocados are primarily used as a vegetable, yet they contain enough fat to pass as a meat substitute in sandwiches and other dishes.

Avocado Selection

Like most fruits, avocados do not ripen until picked, so fresh ones will be as hard as rocks. Look for an even unblemished texture, uniformly hard or soft over its entire surface and those that feel heavy for their size. Avoid any with bruises or soft spots, and those with a hollow between the flesh and skin. Shake the avocado to test…if the pit is loose, move on to the next one.

Avoiding Browning in Avocados

To reduce oxidation (browning) of an already-sliced avocado, sprinkle lemon juice on the exposed flesh and then refrigerate in a plastic bag.

Freezing Avocados

You can freeze mashed fresh, ripe avocados if you want to have an “emergency supply” of avocados on hand for guacamole.

To freeze, mash the avocados with a fork. Add one teaspoon lime or lemon juice per avocado and mix well. The best way to freeze the prepared mashed avocados is to use a freeze-weight zip lock bag. Fill the bag with the mashed avocado. Remove the air from the bag and then zip closed and freeze. Thaw the frozen avocados in the refrigerator or place the container in a bowl of cool water to accelerate thawing.

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of mashed avocado
  • 6 dates
  • Raw honey to taste, I use about 2 tbsp
  • 3 tbsp of raw cacao
  • 31 tsp of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp of coconut oil (optional)**

Preparation:

Using a food processor or high-power blender or food processor, blend all ingredients together untilsmooth and there aren’t any large pieces of dates.

Eat as is, or chill and serve.

** coconut oil is going to make it a little bit thicker/harder, if using as frosting, I highly recommend you add it to the recipe.

Avocado Fries

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Crunchy on the outside, creamy and nutty inside, these avocado fries are totally over the top. Chef Trey Foshee, at George’s at the Cove restaurant in La Jolla, California, serves them with grilled steak.

  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Total:30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • About 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-in. wedges

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 200°. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 in. oil until it registers 375° on a deep-fry thermometer.
  • Meanwhile, mix flour with 1/4 tsp. salt in a shallow plate. Put eggs and panko in separate shallow plates. Dip avocado in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, then panko to coat. Set on 2 plates in a single layer.
  • Fry a quarter of avocado slices at a time until deep golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer slices to a plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining avocados. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

Guacamole

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Ingredients

  • 4 ripe, large Avocados
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 small sweet white onion, minced
  • 1 ripe Roma tomato, seeded, diced
  • 2 serrano peppers, seeded if desired, diced
  • Cilantro, chopped, optional
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  • Peel, seed and gently mash all but one of the avocados with lemon juice in a bowl, leaving some chunks
  • Gently stir in remaining ingredients
  • Peel, seed and dice remaining avocado. Fold into the guacamole and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve with tortilla chips or add to your favorite meals – it’s great with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

* Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Zucchini and Avocado Soup with Cucumber Salsa

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  • Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup soup and 1/4 cup salsa)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chopped zucchini (about 2 medium)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) can vegetable broth (such as Swanson)
  • 1 1/4 cups diced seeded peeled cucumber (about 1 large)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup diced peeled avocado (1 medium)
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Preparation:

Combine zucchini, 1/4 cup green onions, and broth in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 to 7 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Remove from heat; cool 30 minutes.

While zucchini mixture cools, combine remaining 1/4 cup green onions, cucumber, cilantro, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; toss well. Cover and chill.

Place remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, zucchini mixture, avocado, buttermilk, and cumin in a blender, and process until mixture is smooth. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Pour soup into bowls, and top with cucumber salsa. Serve chilled.


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