You may have heard conflicting information about avocados. Are they good or bad for you? What’s this about a special way to peel one? This fruit, it turns out, is a complicated fellow. Read on to get the skinny on one of the fattiest players in the plant kingdom.
How to Select an Avocado
According to Jamie Oliver, you should select an avocado that is slightly soft around the stem area and is dark green. The flesh under the stem should also be green.
Jamie also says that you can ripen an avocado by placing it in a paper bag with an apple or banana, leaving it in a dark place until ready. You can place ripe fruit in the crisper to keep for a few days, wrap cut pieces in plastic to store in the refrigerator, or you can freeze slices or puree. It helps to coat the cut pieces in lime or lemon juice.
The Best Way to Peel an Avocado
The problem with the nutritional value of an avocado is that the discarded peel and pit contain the bulk of the phytonutrients.
The good news is that the densest concentration of phytonutrients in the pulp is close to the rind. If you learn the best way to peel an avocado to obtain the maximum goodness, you will benefit more from eating them.
When you skin an avocado, think about peeling a banana. Take a knife and cut the fruit into two pieces along the length of the fruit. Twist the portions in opposite directions to release one of them from the pit. You can dislodge the pit from the other piece by scooping it out with a large spoon. Then, cut the two halves again to make quarters.
Using your thumb and index finger, peel back the rind of each avocado quarter like you would if you were skinning a banana. It exposes but does not pull away the dark green outer flesh that is the richest source of phytonutrients.
Health Benefits of the Avocado
According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, avocados are a good source of pantothenic acid, fiber, vitamin K, copper, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C. This significant level of nutrients is why the National Institutes of Health declares the avocado potentially beneficial for the following health concerns:
- cardiovascular health
- cholesterol management
- fiber intake
- blood glucose control
- weight management
- blood pressure control
- bone metabolism
- reduction of inflammation
- DNA damage protection
- eye health
- skin health
- cancer research
Adding avocado to your diet is a good way to include the nutrients that can have a positive impact on any of the above aspects of your health.
Why Avocado Is Bad for You
Despite all of the touted health benefits of avocado, some people need to be cautious about eating it. If you fall in either of the following four categories, proceed with care:
1. Vitamin K and blood thinners – According to Australian Avocados, if you are taking blood thinners, you may be asked to limit your vitamin K intake. Avocado is a significant source of this nutrient.
2. Latex allergy – According to the American Latex Allergy Association, avocado is on the list of cross reactive foods that have a high degree of association to natural rubber latex.
3. Low-fat diet – If you are required to adhere to a low-fat diet, you may want to avoid avocado. According to Authority Nutrition, 100 grams of raw avocado contains 14.7 grams fat.
4. FODMAP diet – If you suffer from digestive issues like those associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Monash University says that a full serving of avocado gets a red light, while a half serving gets a green light.
Be sure to research well if you have a condition that may make eating an avocado a potential problem for your health. Check with a physician or dietitian if you have concerns.
Tips for Eating Avocado
When it comes to adding the goodness of avocado to your diet, there are many ways to serve up this versatile fruit. Try the following tips to make tasty meals and snacks:
• Use half of an avocado as an edible bowl. Put dressing in the hollow to create a mini salad. You can also fill it with tuna or crab meat to add protein.
• Brush with oil and grill avocado halves for a couple of minutes to serve at your next cookout.
• Use mashed avocado instead of mayo in your chicken or egg salad. It will give your sandwich a whole new taste.
• Substitute avocado for butter in your next cake recipe. It will give a healthy twist to your sweet treat.
• Avocado in a smoothie makes it creamy and filling. The high-fat content can turn your beverage into a meal.
• Add diced avocado halfway through cooking scrambled eggs. It will give a healthy boost to your morning routine.
• Top your baked potatoes with mashed avocado instead of sour cream. Add cheese, and you have a whole new taste and look.
• Bake or deep fry sliced avocado to substitute for regular fries. They will provide added nutrition and a break from an everyday choice.
• Use mashed avocado as a base for pasta sauce. It will give your eyes and taste buds a change from the usual tomato.
Avocados are easy to add to your diet. Outside of the cautionary conditions listed above, they are an excellent source of nutrients for overall good health.