Health Benefits of Avocados
Avocados are one of Dr. Kalaba’s favorite fruits, yes a fruit!(1)
A fruit is defined as part of a plant that develops from the flower of that plant and contains seeds. Whereas vegetables are from other parts of the plant, such as leaves, stems, and roots.
From this botanical definition, other commonly misidentified “veggies” that are really fruits include squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplant. Surprised?
Why Avocados Are My Favorite
Avocados are rich and creamy, and they can be used in a variety of ways. I like to add them to smoothies, soups, and salsa (to make guacamole!) Some people don’t like the flavor of avocado, which is easily masked when blended into a smoothie or soup while still adding the creamy texture.
What Are Some of the Health Benefits of Avocados
First of all, avocados are rich in fiber, vitamin E, potassium, vitamin K, magnesium, and folic acid, just to name some of the nutrients.(2) The amount of fiber almost offsets the number of carbs in an avocado, making them a great food for those eating keto.
They are also full of heart healthy fats. The unsaturated fats found in avocados help lower undesirable LDL cholesterol, raise desirable HDL cholesterol, increase antioxidants, and thus lower inflammation.(3,4)
One research review summarizes, “There are eight preliminary clinical studies showing that avocado consumption helps support cardiovascular health. [Other]…exploratory studies suggest that avocados may support weight management and healthy aging.”(1)
How to Find the Perfect Avocados
Choose a greener and firmer avocado if you won’t be eating it right away. It will ripen at home and may even be ready overnight. If you want to quicken the ripening process, place your green avocado in a paper bag. It really does help!
To tell if an avocado is ripe, squeeze it in your hand gently. It will feel just a bit soft. And, the stem will come off easily.
Don’t buy avocados that are super soft, have dark sunken spots or bruises, or have blue or white mold around the stem, unless you are ready to use it right away, and you don’t mind cutting sections off and throwing them away. I never encourage food waste. Even parts of a darker, bruised avocado can be salvaged. I like to ask myself, “Would a restaurant use this in guac?” If so, then I don’t throw it away.
How to Cut an Avocado
I like to cut my avocado lengthwise, then I gently twist it with my hands to pull it apart. The seed will stick in one half of the fruit. This is the half that I tend to store. I use a spoon to simply scoop out the fruit away from the peel. If you want chunks of avocado, you can score it with a knife (carefully!), then scoop it out.
How to Store Unused Avocado
Avocados hold very well in the fridge. If one has ripened and you are not ready to eat it, put it whole in the refrigerator, or put a half-eaten one in the fridge in an airtight glass storage container. If you remove the seed, put the cut-side down against the glass to help it last longer (slows down oxidation). I’ve had a cut avocado last 2-3 days in the fridge without an issue.
If you want to add an avocado to a cold smoothie, you can also freeze unused pieces and pull them out as needed. I cut my remaining avocado into smaller pieces and then freeze them in a flat glass container. Once frozen, remove them from the flat surface and combine in a more convenient glass jar for longer storage. Since they are pre-frozen, you can separate them easily when you are ready to toss them in your smoothie.
How to Enjoy the Health Benefits of Avocados
Simply eat them. One whole avocado a day would not be too much. I tend to eat half of an avocado a day.
Dr. Kalaba is a chiropractor in Tucson, AZ, practicing gentle chiropractic care and providing health tips to help you live the best rest of your life.
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