Open Wide and Say “Ahhh" for Avocados
Some of you have inquired about the nutritional profile of avocados. Perhaps you’re still concerned about the fact that up to 70% of an avocado’s calories come from fats. Don’t be. These are mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and they’re perfectly good for you.
The type of avocado commonly available for purchase in American supermarkets is
the purplish-black-skinned, pebbly-textured Hass avocado (although it’s sometimes
misspelled Haas). Grown primarily in Mexico and California, these beauties are
candidates for superfood status. They provide about 20 vitamins and minerals, in
addition to the aforementioned fats, which can boost nutrient absorption from other
foods when they’re eaten together.
The average Hass avocado is dark green at first. After a few days at room temperature,
it will turn a dark, nearly black, glossy color. Skin should be firm, but slightly yielding.
This signals it’s ripe. If it’s squishy to the touch, it’s probably overripe and turning brown
Slice through the skin all the way around and remove the inedible pit. Peel away the skin, and cut into four equal pieces. One of these slices equals about one and one-quarter servings, providing about 60 calories, 6 g total fat and various vitamins and minerals, including folate, niacin, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Avocados are perfectly acceptable in a sensible weight loss/maintenance diet, especially to the extent that they’re used to substitute for less virtuous fats. Use thinly sliced avocado on sandwiches, for example, rather than mayonnaise. It will add creaminess and a rich flavor and texture, without a whopping dose of processed oils.
To store sliced avocado, drizzle with fresh lemon juice. This will prevent the rapid oxidation that can turn an avocado slice from lovely chartreuse to ugly dark brown in just minutes, upon exposure to the air. This is also the key to delicious, attractive green guacamole: the acidity in citrus juice prevents the avocado from turning brown too soon, and adds a tart kick. Enjoy!