Sunday, March 13, 2011

Paleo Food of the Week: Avocado!

NJ Paleo Girl's Fun Avocado Facts:

• Avocados are a fruit, not a vegetable
• Avocados were once a luxury food reserved for the tables of royalty
• Brazilians add avocados to ice cream
• A single Avocado tree can produce about 500 avocados
• The Aztec word for avocado was ahuacatl, which means "testicle tree".
• The average avocado contains 300 calories and 30 grams of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat.
• Avocados contain more potassium than bananas.
• One avocado contains 81 mcg of lutein, an important nutrient for healthy eyes.
• Once an avocado is picked, it takes between 7 and 10 days to ripen. Keeping it in the refrigerator will slow down the ripening process, while putting it in a paper bag with a ripe apple will speed up the process.
• has more protein, fat and calories than any other fruit
• The avocado tree’s unlikely cousins include bay laurel, camphor and cinnamon.
• They are exceptionally great for exfoliating masks and for facials and body massages.
• The Spanish brought it to the English.
• The Aztecs also used avocados as a sexual stimulant.

Avocados are native to Mexico, and were known to the Aztecs as 'the fertility fruit’. They are also known as the alligator pear (referring to the pear-shaped fruit with green leathery looking skin). Avocados grow in tropical climates throughout the world [and some temperate ones, such as California]. California produces 95% of the avocados in the USA.

Just like bananas, avocados mature on the tree, but do not ripen until picked off the tree. Once picked, avocados ripen in a few days at room temperature, faster if stored with other fruits such as apples or bananas, or placed in a brown paper bag. A ripe avocado gives to gentle pressure when held in the palm of the hand and squeezed. Once cut in half, the flesh turns brown quickly, to prevent this, lime or lemon juice can be added to avocados after they are peeled, or the pit can be left in to stop the browning. I will typically cut the fruit in half, and leave the half with the pit in the refrigerator in glass lock containers, it doesn’t turn brown!

Avocados are high in valuable, health-promoting fats. About 75% of an avocado's calories come from fat, most of which is monounsaturated fat- yup the good stuff! Avocados also have 60% more potassium than bananas and they are rich in B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Avocados also have a high fiber content–75% insoluble and 25% soluble fiber. High avocado intake has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood pressure, lower you risk for certain cancers, and keep your heart healthy (an avocado has about 23% of your daily folate!)

Guacamole Recipe:

3 avocados, mashed
1-2 limes, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ cup diced red onion
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic

In a medium bowl, mash avocados and add lime juice, salt, and pepper. Once incorporated, stir in the onion, cilantro, diced tomatoes and minced garlic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend and intensify.

Avocado Recipe Link Love:

Avocado-Chocolate Truffles

Avocado Hamburgers (skip the cheese and bun to keep it paleo friendly!)

Avocado, Bacon and Tomato Salad (skip the crotons!)

Peach and Avocado Salad (skip the cheese, if you’re 100% Paleo, or indulge a little if you’re tummy will let you!)

Avocado Pesto Sauce

Bacon-Stuffed Avocado Recipe (skip the sugar!!!)

Crab with Avocado

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