Avocados: The Guac and Roll King of Superfoods

This is the first article in a series that highlights many of the nutritional powerhouse ingredients that we like to include in our EatLove menus.

“I know they are good for me, but what exactly is an avocado? Is it a fruit? Is it a fat? How much is too much? Why are they so popular? I see them everywhere nowadays, but are they really that nutritious or just a trend? Do I need to buy them organic? How do I prevent half of my uneaten avocado from turning brown?”

These are some of the most frequently asked questions about this delicious and versatile superfood. Avocados are a rich, buttery food that can be technically classified as a fruit, but because they contain minimal carbohydrates and are comprised of predominantly monounsaturated fatty acids, nutritionists will classify them in the “fat” group. Genetically speaking, they belong to the Lauraceae family and are related to cinnamon and bay leaves.

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Recipes

  • Though they are best known as the star of guacamole, avocados have many more uses.
  • Avocados are a great addition to any sandwich; try it with turkey or on your favorite burger.
  • They make perfect toppings for Mexican-inspired soups or any salad.
  • You can even try tossing them into a smoothie for an added flavor boost and creamy texture!

Did you know that…?

  • Avocados are native to Central and South America.
  • They are sometimes called “Alligator Pears” because of their shape and texture.
  • One tree can produce about 500 avocados.
  • In the US, September 16th is National Guacamole Day!

Seasonal?

It depends on where you live. In California, avocados are in season between January-March and June-July.

Organic?

Avocados do not need to be purchased organic, although they are available.

Storage

  • Look for avocados that give in to gentle pressure to ensure they are ripe. If you purchase unripe avocados and plan to use them later, leave them at room temperature for a few days.
  • If you are pressed for time and need to speed up the ripening process, place avocados in a brown paper bag. Voilà!
  • Ripe avocados should be placed in the refrigerator, preferably whole, until use.
  • If you are storing an already cut avocado, store the side with the pit in, and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent oxidation (this keeps the avocado from turning brown). Then cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Helpful Links

California Avocado Commission

Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association

World’s Healthiest Foods

 

References

  1. Paul, R., P. Kulkarni, and N. Ganesh. “Avocado Fruit (Persea Americana Mill) Exhibits Chemo-protective Potentiality against Cyclophosphamide Induced Genotoxicity in Human Lymphocyte Culture.” Journal of Experimental Therapeutics & Oncology9.3 (2011): 221-30.
  2. Rainey, Charlene, and Mark Affleck. “The California Avocado.” Nutrition Today 29.3 (1994):23.
  3. R.E. Martinez Munoz, et al. “Folates and Persea Americana Mill. (Avocado).” Emirates Journal of Food & Agriculture 23.3 (2011):204-213.
  4. Steven M. D’Ambrosio, et al. “Chemopreventive Characteristics of Avocado Fruit.”Seminars in Cancer Biology 17.5 (2007):386-394.
  5. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Potassium. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/potassium.html. Accessed January 5, 2016.

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