This article was shared with permission from our friends at Wellness Mama.
There are many benefits of avocados and avocado oil and they have gained massive popularity in recent years…and for good reason!
Avocados are a decadent and versatile fruit that is great in many recipes. They have a delicious, creamy richness that really satisfies, whether in a dip, on a salad, or blended in a dessert. You can’t help but feel like you’re indulging!
Maybe what adds to the satisfaction is knowing you’re getting a great dose of nutrition to boot!
Nutrition and Benefits of Avocado
Avocados are somewhat unique in the fruit world. It could even be said that avocados are one of the fattiest foods out there…but in a good sense!
They make every calorie and fat gram worthwhile since they are extremely nutrient dense. An avocado contains over 20 vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, vitamin B-6, magnesium, and potassium. In fact, a cup of pureed avocado contains almost four times more potassium than a whole banana.
Even just 1/5th of an avocado contains:
- Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA
- Folate: 20% of the RDA
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA
- Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA
- Potassium: 14% of the RDA
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA
Then it contains small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin). (1)
On top of this, studies show the healthy fats in avocado make the anti-inflammatory carotenoids found in brightly colored vegetables and fruits more bioavailable. So a little diced avocado on your salad both tastes good and helps you get the most nutrition out of your leafy greens, peppers, tomatoes, and other salad fixings!
But you might ask, won’t all that fat make me…fat?
To the contrary!
A single serving of avocado contains 50 calories and 4.5 grams of fat (and that’s just in 1/5th of an avocado). I’d say our family tends to eat more like ½ an avocado per individual serving, which makes it 130 calories and 15 grams of fat.
Although this may seem like a lot of fat and calories, studies show that avocado consumption can actually help control cholesterol and weight:
Avocados’ are a medium energy dense fruit because about 80% of the avocado edible fruit consists of water (72%) and dietary fiber (6.8%) and has been shown to have similar effects on weight control as low-fat fruits and vegetables (USDA, 2011; Bes-Rastrollo et al., 2008).
An analysis of adult data from the NHANES 2001–2006 suggests that avocado consumers have higher HDL-cholesterol, lower risk of metabolic syndrome, and lower weight, BMI, and waist circumference than nonconsumers (Fulgoni et al., 2010b). (2)
They can also help with food cravings by replacing that rich and creamy element you might be missing when eliminating dairy and other high-calorie, low nutrient foods from your diet.
How to Prepare Avocado
If you haven’t tried avocado as part of your daily diet, it helps to know your way around one. Here’s how to pick and prepare the perfect avocado.
Check under the stem at the end of the avocado. It’s ripe and ready to eat if the skin under the stem is green. If it’s brown, it’s overripe. (And if the stem doesn’t come off easily, it isn’t ripe at all.)
There are kitchen tools designed to slice and dice avocado, but I’ve since learned it is just as easy to peel off the thick skin using your fingers. This video shows how to get perfect slices using this method:
The goal when peeling your avocado (instead of scooping it out) is to leave the dark green flesh just under the skin intact, as this is the part of the avocado that contains the most phytonutrients.
The Best Avocado Recipes
Here are some great recipes to whet your appetite for more avocado!
1. A Squeeze of Lemon or Lime + Salt!
This may not really be a recipe, but some folks don’t know about this quick and tasty way to serve up avocado. My kids love it this way for a snack. Serve with a side of veggies and avocado dip.
2. Choco-cado Smoothie
Use this go-to breakfast smoothie recipe from Authentic Simplicity as a base recipe and think up your own variations:
1 banana + ½ avocado + ¼ yogurt + 1 cup milk of choice + 1 tsp raw honey + 1 tsp cocoa powder.
3. Kale Avocado Salad
Mommypotamus creates a delicious kale and avocado salad. Toss together lemon, olive oil, avocado, kale, salt, and a sprinkle of cayenne, and mix with your hands. You’ll be amazed at how tender and tasty the kale becomes!
4. Honey Lime Chicken Wings with Avocado-Cilantro Dip
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Sweet and tangy wings with this creamy dairy-free dip could be the solution to your comfort food cravings. Get the recipe from PaleOMG here.
5. Key Lime Pie Popsicles
Another great recipe from Mommypotamus: key lime pie popsicles! These popsicles bring together the nutritional benefits of coconut milk, gelatin, and avocado.
6. Egg-Free “Mayo”
This creamy egg-free mayo substitute is one of my favorite ways to use avocados. If you are avoiding eggs and soy, two common ingredients in regular mayo, this is a great alternative. (Though it isn’t technically a “mayo” without egg).
7. Classic Guacamole
Because I can’t have an avocado recipe roundup without a guacamole recipe! This is my family’s favorite!
8. Bacon Guacamole Bites
If you’re avoiding grains and want something other than veggies with your guacamole, try this appetizer recipe. Bacon and guacamole…mmmm.
9. Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Did you know avocado can be great in desserts? My kids literally beg for this, and I swear you can’t taste the avocado at all! It’s better than traditional pudding. My preference is to use dark chocolate cocoa powder. Here’s the recipe.
10. Snack Cake with Chocolate Avocado Frosting
If you’re still unsure about using avocado in sweet applications, I dare you to look at these pictures and tell me you aren’t tempted to try it!
11. Basil, Avocado, and Bacon Deviled Eggs
These deviled eggs are made creamy with avocado instead of mayonnaise. Add crumbled bacon, fresh basil, and some chopped green chiles for a zesty twist on a classic.
12. Portobello Mushroom Cap with Kale Pesto Guacamole
Baby kale, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil combine with avocado in this unique pesto. Top a portabella mushroom cap and sprinkle with cotija cheese before baking. A vegetarian lunch that’s light and satisfying.
13. Caprese Avocado Salad
Summer in a bowl. The classic caprese salad gets a boost in nutrition and taste with arugula, basil, tomatoes, mozzarella, and avocado tossed in a simple homemade balsamic dressing.
14. Mint Chocolate Chip “Ice Cream”
I’ll admit I haven’t tried this recipe, but it looked so interesting I had to include it! Let me know how it is!
15. Dairy-Free Caesar Dressing
Nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, and dijon mustard give this creamy avocado-based caesar dressing its flavor.
16. Quinoa Taco Salad
Avocado and quinoa pair up in this protein and fiber packed salad. Substitute taco-seasoned chicken or beef for the quinoa to make a paleo version.
17. Chicken Salad
Serve my healthier version of chicken salad inside a halved avocado cup for a convenient lunch portion. In fact, most salad ingredients would work inside an avocado cup, so make your own creation from your leftovers!
18. Vietnamese Avocado Zoodle Bowl from Avocado Central
Have you ever had zucchini noodles? They are easy to make! All you need is this spiralizer. There’s also a Kitchenaid mixer attachment for spiralizing noodles. (I recommend doing this when zucchini is in season.) Turn these noodles into an awesome Vietnamese Avocado Zoodle bowl!
19. Lobster Salad with Avocado
Savory decadence! Experiment with fresh flavor combinations like citrus, parsley, and mint in this lobster avocado salad.
20. Slow-Cooker Carne Asada “Tacos”
Tender beef slow-cooked with cilantro, citrus, chiles, and garlic. Top with fresh avocados, of course!
21. Avocado Turkey Feta Burger
Avocado adds healthy fats to this lean and flavorful burger. Avocado tzatziki sauce tops it off. (Correction: Despite the title, the recipe leaves out feta…add along with the other ingredients and mix, or top with feta shortly after grilling.)
22. Avocado Breakfast Bake
Load up on protein and fiber first thing in the morning with this simple breakfast bake. Yes, this does involved cooked avocado…which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But if you really love avocado give this a try! The key is to season it well with flavorful toppings.
23. Asparagus Avocado Soup
This simple 6-ingredient soup would be a snap in a Vitamix blender. Avocado makes it creamy without dairy!
24. Blueberry Spinach Avocado Smoothie
A fruity version of an avocado smoothie, and easily adaptable. Read here about why collagen powder is a healthy substitute for the protein powder called for in this recipe.
25. Triple Chocolate Avocado Muffins (yes, more chocolate!)
Another delicious indulgence using coconut flour, cacao powder, and avocado. These store and freeze well for a quick breakfast, snack, or dessert.
Do you eat avocados regularly? What are your favorite ways to use them?
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