Move Over Apples, Eat An Avocado a Day Instead
It’s good for our heart, gut, and memory. Plus: Top tips and 6 delish ways with avos.
Do you love it or hate it?
It’s creamy, smooth, and soft. Yet it’s also bland, with a funny taste, and can get a bit mushy and doesn’t look appetizing when black. Then to add to its appeal, the name avocado is thought to have come from an Aztec word āhuacatl, meaning testicle, due to its resemblance. Charming.
My first memories of avocado could have gone either way. Mum, who put me off bean sprouts by dousing them in gravy so they sat sadly in a soggy, wet, gross heap, who steamed brussel sprouts and didn’t do a damn thing to hide its horrid bitterness, who used to make me puke with half-boiled eggs complete with stringy white bits and offputting smell — well she gave me a damn good introduction to avocado. She introduced me to a way of eating avocado…
with ice cream.
She’d cut the avocado into 2 lengthwise. Take out the seed. And voila, a perfect ice cream bowl.
Genius. Or gross.
It worked for me. I love avocados decades later.
Another dude who didn’t mind avocados either was Spanish historian Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo. In his book, 1526 General History of the Indies, he described the avocado as having a seed like a peeled chestnut surrounded by a paste “similar to butter and of very good taste”.
Yet there were avocado fans even before him. Avocados have a long, fascinating history. Avocado seeds were swallowed whole and spread across the land through the dung of massive herbivorous mammals such as behemoths, giant ground sloths, and others in the Cenzoic Era — over 66 million years ago. Harvard Papers in Botany shares the avocado tree was found in ancient human settlements over 10,000 years ago.
The Spaniard and the sloths were onto a good thing. And it’s fortunate we haven’t lost the avocado to the past. In 2018, avos were the fourth most exported tropical fruit in the world with Mexico proudly standing at the top of the global avocado production podium producing 2.2 million tons of avocados. It’s followed by the Dominican Republic, Peru, Indonesia, and Colombia.
Move over apples. Avocados are a gift that keeps on giving: this pocket rocket can help neutralize the effect of aging, shown to improve memory and problem-solving skills. It’s been found to boost focus in overweight adults. The most recent study published in the journal Nutrients in December 2020 tells us avocados are great for our gut.
It’s a great fruit to add to your list of superfoods. Avocado is jam-packed full of goodness: protein, fiber, vitamins such as vitamins C, E, K, A, folate, niacin, and thiamine. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium (Fun fact: avocados have more potassium than bananas!).
Good fats have their place in our diets and avocados are the way to go. Though as with any good thing, small portions are recommended. You see, roughly 75% of an avocado’s energy comes from fat, even though 67% of total fat is good fat, monounsaturated fat.
When we think of fat, we might immediately get turned off, thinking it bad for our bodies. Yet get your head around this: avocados are a fabulous addition to create a balanced diet as it’s been found to reduce cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Without further ado, let’s get onto delish ways you could incorporate avo into your meals.
Top tips and scrumptious ways to eat avo
- To ripen an avo faster (2–3 days), place it in a bag with an apple or banana for 2–3 days. It concentrates the gas ethylene which is caused naturally by ripening fruits.
- To get the seed out, slice the avo in half lengthwise. Twist to separate the 2 halves. Use a spoon to scoop out the seed. Or wedge a knife into it and pluck it out.
- To prevent an avo from ripening too quickly, throw it in the fridge.
- To store a cut avocado, submerge it in water. This starves them of oxygen, which is what makes them brown.
Quick and easy tuna and avo salad
- Chop avos and cucumbers into cubes.
- Chop red peppers into slivers.
- Tear fresh parsley.
- Mix olive oil, lemon, and pepper.
- Mix basil and tomato tuna with other ingredients. Drizzle olive oil dressing. Sprinkle sesame seeds.
Mum’s alluring simple avo dessert
- Cut avocado into 2 halves.
- Add ice cream or yogurt with a drizzle of honey and cinnamon into each half.
Versatile avocado dip (or guacamole)
- Smash avos.
- Mix with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- Sprinkle a dukkah mix of crushed roasted almonds, toasted sesame seeds, ground coriander, ground cumin, salt, and pepper.
- Nachos: Add the smashed avos recipe to sour cream and chopped tomatoes on top of beef nachos.
- Smoked salmon: Spread smashed avo on toasted sourdough, add smoked salmon, drizzle with olive oil, lemon, and pepper.
- Fresh veggie sticks: carrot, cucumber, peppers, celery
Refreshing mango avo salsa
- Chop mango and avo into cubes.
- Add chopped red onion.
- Drizzle with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, and pepper.
Crowd-pleasing bacon and avo potato salad
- Chop and boil potatoes in salty water until tender. Drain and set aside to cool a little.
- Dice and crisp bacon pieces in a pan. Drain and set aside.
- Boil eggs and chop into wedges.
- Slice spring onions.
- Chop avo into cubes.
- Mix dijon mustard with extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Add half to potatoes while still warm so it soaks up the deliciousness.
- Mix all ingredients, including remaining dressing.
What’s your favorite way to eat avocados?