The Awesomeness of Avocado

Avocados are everywhere—chunked into guacamole, whipped on toast, sliced for sandwiches, and as a creamy addition to salad dressing.

But are they good for you? Maybe you’ve heard they are high in fat. What’s the real scoop on the avocado?

First, a primer on this bumpy green produce (although not sweet, an avocado is officially classified as a fruit). According to the California Avocado Commission, the avocado (Persea americana) originated in Mexico, Central or South America. Archaeologists have found domesticated avocado seeds buried with Incan mummies dating back to 750 B.C.

Spanish conquistadores loved the fruit but couldn’t pronounce it and changed the Aztec word to aguacate, which eventually became avocado in English. Today, California is the leading producer of domestic avocados and home to about 90 percent of the nation’s crop. In the grocery store, you might see avocados labeled as “Hass,” which is the leading California variety and popular worldwide.

Nutritious, Delicious

According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

  • Avocados are a good source of fiber, and contain more fat (the good kind) than carbohydrate
    • That means they are a good choice for folks on lower-carbohydrate diets or who are living with diabetes
  • Avocados have heart-friendly fats that do not increase blood cholesterol
  • Avocados are one the highest-fat plant foods, adding richness to vegan and vegetarian diets
  • They also contain helpful amounts of vitamins B, C, E and K
  • A whole medium avocado contains
    • 240 calories
    • 13 grams carbohydrate
    • 3 grams protein
    • 22 grams fat (15 grams monounsaturated, 4 grams polyunsaturated, 3 grams saturated)
    • 10 grams fiber
    • 11 milligrams sodium
  • Along with their low sodium levels, avocados contain no cholesterol

Another fun fact: Half an avocado provides more potassium—an essential mineral is beneficial for blood pressure control and heart health—than a banana.

But there’s more. Clinical studies have shown that avocado consumption helps support cardiovascular health. Other studies suggest that avocados may support weight management and healthy aging.

Like all good things, it’s possible to do overdo it. While avocados are an excellent a source of healthy fats, vitamins, and fiber, they also have more calories than other fruits. Like any other food, you need to keep an eye on your total calorie requirements and intake for the day.

guac

How to Shop and Store

According to the California Avocado Commission, the best way to know if an avocado is ripe is to gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand. Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit will be firm but will yield to gentle pressure.

Some avocado varieties, including the Hass avocado, may turn dark green or black as they ripen, but others do not. Avoid fruit with dark blemishes on the skin or oversoft fruit.

If you plan to serve the fruit in a few days, stock up on hard, unripe fruit. You can speed up the ripening process by storing them in a brown paper bag, or just leave on the counter for a more leisurely ripening.

An infamous TikTok hack suggests storing your avocados in water, but actual food experts say this is a bad idea that can lead to foodborne illnesses like listeria and salmonella.

Ripe avocados can be stored in the refrigerator uncut for two or three days. To store a cut avocado, sprinkle it with lemon juice, lime juice or white vinegar, wrap tightly it in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container, and then refrigerate it. This will prevent it from discoloring (and works for your unused guacamole, too).

But I Don’t Like Avocado!

That’s OK! Avocados are cool (and maybe even just a tad trendy) but if they aren’t your thing, other foods containing polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats deliver a similar nutritional punch:

  • Tree nuts, including almonds, pistachios, and walnuts
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, and anchovies
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Chia seeds
  • Greek yogurt (another awesome food)

Avocado lovers might argue their relationship is special, but the truth is that these little green guys are among our many options from nature’s colorful rainbow of goodness, which all add up to a healthy and delicious diet.

Bonus recipe!

Avocado pairs well with chocolate in this dessert. The recipe calls for gluten-free flour, but you can use regular flour.

Gluten-Free Avocado Brownie Bites

Baking Time: 35-40 minutes Servings: 16


brownie bites

Image and recipe courtesy Cleveland Clinic

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1¼ cups gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray
  3. Mash the avocado in a large bowl until smooth. Then add the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and 2 teaspoons of water
  4. Mix well to combine
  5. Add the cocoa powder and stir until fully incorporated and free of any large lumps
  6. Combine the flour and salt in a separate bowl, then stir in the avocado mixture and melted chocolate
  7. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are cooked through
  8. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan before cutting them into 16 brownie bites
401 Comments
  • Jacquelyn Nelson
    Posted at 08:48h, 09 April

    Thank you

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