All About The Avocado

avocadoOne of the things I like best about being back in a sunny climate is that I get to have an abundance of creamy tasty avocados in my diet. I’m in heaven! I used to always buy them in Ireland but they just didn’t taste the same– by the time they were “ripe” they were almost rotten yet hard? I still ate them as they’re so good for you, and I was grateful to even be able to find them there in the first place, seeing it’s hardly the climate for them.

Persea Americana

If you’ve ever seen an avocado tree you may be as fascinated as I am with their beauty. Those big tall tree’s with their long branches dangling these drops of gorgeous green velvety fruit called  “Persea Americana,” or what we call avocado.

I remember once when living in South Africa we went on holiday to Durban. The place we stayed at had this huge avocado tree just loaded with huge fruit that was falling off ripe and ready to be eaten. I’ll admit I couldn’t stand to see all the fruit going to waste on the ground– there was just so much of it– that I packed a good 10 avocados in my carry on to eat back at home in Capetown. My poor husband, he thought I’d lost it:-)

Avocados & Potassium

According to the USDA Nutrient Database  around 100 grams (3.5 oz) of avocado has about 485 mg of potassium — scoring higher than the very staple banana which has 422 mg. We need potassium in our diet to help protect heart from high blood pressure, to avoid muscle cramps and fatigue, dizzy spells etc. The recommended daily allowance is for potassium is  4,700 mg. With just 1 average avocado containing 975 mg you’re well on your way.

Why You Should Be Eating Avocado Oil

Avocados are high in fat, but they’re loaded with good heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. The majority of this fat is oleic acid, found also in one of my favorite oils, olive oil.

Olive oil is a staple in my diet I pour it on my food for flavor and added texture, or on my salads. I’ve only really started using avocado oil as a staple but I find it doesn’t really have much flavor so I usually combine it together with olive oil in my salads (totally optional to mix of course).

One of the main reasons to add oil to your salads is not just for flavor but to help your body absorb the nutrients in your plant foods. “Oil soluble” vitamins such as A,D,E, and K all need oil to help our body absorb them. The same goes for antioxidants and carotenoids.

Avocado is also an excellent choice for cooking as it has a high smoke point and is resistant to high-heat oxidation.

Avocado For The Skin

Avocado oil is high in vitamin E and Vitamin D making this a perfect oil to add to your skin care. It’s humectant properties add extra value to dry skin, mature and ageing skin, and even works as a good after sun oil adding moisture back to the skin. It leaves the skin feeling silky, luscious, and adds shine to dull skin. Avocados can also be used in a facial mask as well as in a hair oil.

You Either Love It Or Hate It

I haven’t really met anyone yet that doesn’t like avocados, except kids! My eldest daughter grew up in South Africa where they were in abundance. I found them to be perfect baby food. She didn’t like them initially though as I tried scooping it straight out of the skin. She would gag from the dense texture of them and refused to eat them plain. I decided to mash them up with banana and pear and that seemed to go down much better. She loves them now every which way. Strangely my younger two prefer eating them in slices rather than mashed in a guacamole. They too gagged a bit when first trying them out.

Texture is so important for children when trying out foods. I try to serve it to them in a variety of ways this way eliminating creating an unintended picky eater.

All this talk about avocado and I’m ready for my avocado salad!

xx Lara


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