(Natural News) If you’re looking for the perfect food to kick off your healthy diet, you can never go wrong with the humble avocado. This green fruit is packed with healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals that all contribute to better heart health, weight control and even healthy aging. Best of all, there are many exciting ways to prepare and enjoy avocados.
What makes avocado good for you?
The avocado is often called “alligator pear” due to the shape and leathery appearance of its skin. This fruit harbors a rich, creamy flavor and is available in many varieties – with the buttery Hass variety being the most popular. The avocado is prized for its high nutrient content and is incorporated in many dishes due to its flavor and texture. Nowadays, the avocado is considered a superfood and has grown to become a popular health food among those looking to improve their diets.
Here are some of the nutrients provided by a single 3.5-ounce (100 g) serving of raw avocado:
- Vitamin C: 17 percent of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin K: 26 percent of the DV
- Folate: 20 percent of the DV
- Potassium: 14 percent of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 13 percent of the DV
The avocado also doesn’t contain any sodium or cholesterol and is quite low in saturated fat.
What’s interesting to note is that the avocado has more potassium than a banana, which is often lauded as a high-potassium fruit. Studies have shown that increasing potassium intake can reduce blood pressure, which is considered a major risk factor for various cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke.
Scrumptious ways to enjoy avocado
Besides the crowd favorite, guacamole, here are other ways to enjoy these green delights.
- Seasoned. Considered one of the simplest ways to enjoy an avocado while keeping it fresh. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over your avocado slices before digging in to add a bit more flavor. You can even try other herbs and spices like cayenne pepper, lemon juice or paprika. One example of such preparation is cutting the avocado up into little chunks before drizzling them in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
- In scrambled eggs. Give your regular breakfast a fruity and creamy twist by adding some avocado into your scrambled eggs. You can add in some diced avocados while the eggs are still cooking in the pan. However, you should only do so once the eggs are halfway cooked to avoid burning the avocado. If you happen to prefer your avocados cool, you can add them after the eggs are cooked and plated.
- Grilled. Avocados can actually be grilled to create a side dish that complements barbecued meats. Cut an avocado in half and remove the seed. Drizzle these halves with lemon juice and a brush of olive oil before placing them cut side down on the grill for about two to three minutes.
- As fries. Avocados can make a surprisingly healthy alternative to potato fries. You can go for deep-fried avocado fries or go the healthier route: bake them.
- In smoothies. Smoothies act as the perfect snack substitute if you’re looking to stay healthy. You can combine avocados with green, leafy vegetables like kale and fruits like pineapples or berries to create an extremely healthy blend. For those looking for a bit more protein, you can add in a dash of protein powder or Greek yogurt into the mix.
- In hummus. Hummus is a classic dish from the Middle East and the Mediterranean that makes use of chickpeas, tahini and olive oil. Chickpeas are a fantastic source of protein and fiber while tahini and olive oil give hummus a healthy amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. By adding avocado into the mix, you can boost the dish’s fiber content and contribute to the creaminess.
- As a topping. Raw avocado can be used as a topping for a variety of foods. Slice up a bunch of avocados and try to incorporate them in as many foods as you can, including sandwiches, burgers and even pizza. You can even sprinkle bits of avocado on traditional Mexican dishes like tacos and nachos.
- On toast. Avocados can be used to make a healthy alternative to regular spreads like butter and margarine, which has made “avocado on toast” quite a popular dish in recent years. Using pureed avocados as a spread adds extra vitamins and minerals to your sandwich.
- As a salad dressing. You can find a wide variety of creamy salad dressings lining up grocery store shelves. However, commercial dressings contain a lot of sugar and unhealthy vegetable oils. Make your own dressing at home to ensure that your salad is nutritious and low in calories. Using avocado to make your own salad dressings guarantees a smooth consistency and a lot of nutrients.
- In soups. You can turn avocado into the star of your meal by making avocado soup. You can also add chunks of avocado into other types of soup.
Incorporating avocados into your regular diet can bring plenty of benefits to your health. Keep things fun and interesting by trying out the tips above. Learn more about superfoods like the avocado at Superfoods.news.