Avocado Advocacy

Avocado - the name is so much prettier than the actual fruit, dont you think? Shaped like a gourd, a pear, or an egg, how could its dark greenish-black alligator skin have inspired such a lovely, lyrical name?

Entomologists speculate that the word avocado originated from the Aztec word for testicle, because of its resemblance to that body part. Anyway, avocados are stuffed with the best of the good fats we all need to optimize our health.

The earliest evidence of avocado cultivation was found in a cave in Puebla, Mexico. The date? 10,000 BC! And archeological evidence of avocado cultivation in Central and South America dates back to 900 AD.

Also known as alligator pears, butter fruit, and cheese fruit in India, Taiwan, and China, the avocado is especially popular in North America because its so high in monounsaturated fat-oleic acid. It is also a tremendous source of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Avocados are small, but the benefits of eating them are huge. They have 35 percent more potassium than a banana, which can help stabilize high blood pressure. Theyre a terrific source of dietary fiber, which helps maintain regularity; as well as folic acid, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

They contain antioxidants lycopene and beta-carotene, which help reduce cell damage. They supply pantothenic acid, and vitamins B5, B6, C, E, and K. Their vitamin C and E content nourishes the skin. Their carotenoid lutein improves eye health.

Study results indicate that adding avocados to your diet can lower bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, and reduce risk of heart disease. Theyre great for lubricating or soothing arthritic joints - both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. They aid digestion and their monounsaturated fat can help stop insulin resistance, bringing blood sugar into check.

Many avocados - Hass, Fuerte, Bacon, Sir Prize, and Walter Hole - are named in honor of their cultivator-creators. The Hass is the most popular one in American grocery stores and it was created by a California mail carrier named Rudolph Hass in the 1930s.

The avocados soft, light green, creamy-custardy meat is a fabulous choice for vegans as a meat substitute in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content. Believe it or not, avocados have a higher percentage of protein than most fruits.

They are usually served raw; cooking requires caution, low heat, and short duration. Enzymatic browning is preventable with lime or lemon juice to stop oxidation. Brazilians, Filipinos, and Vietnamese add them to milkshakes and ice cream. In Mexico and Central America, avocado is served with rice, soup, salads, and as a side dish with chicken or other meats.

My personal favorites are guacamole on tortillas, toast, or crackers, and thick slices in omelettes. Yum!

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