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Applause for Avocados

Written by Michael Alexander | Healthy Magazine

Also known as "alligator pears" because of their shape and scaly green skin, avocados are anything but scary. Though it's relatively high in calories, this wonderful fruit (it's not a vegetable!) is a great addition to salads or sandwiches because it's loaded with beneficial nutrients.

The creamy flesh of an avocado — which is botanically a fruit — gives it an indulgent quality. However, ounce for ounce, avocados are actually one of the healthiest foods around. Not only are they rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, they also contain large amounts of potassium, vitamin E, fiber, folic acid, and vitamin B6. Best of all, you can enjoy avocados on all Phases of the South Beach Diet.

Monounsaturated fat, a valuable part of our daily diet (in moderation, of course!) because it helps lower LDL, or "bad," cholesterol.

Vitamin E Powerhouse

Avocados are the best fruit source of vitamin E, an essential vitamin that protects against many diseases and helps maintains overall health.

Ways to prepare it

To pit an avocado, slice it lengthwise from end to end and twist to separate the two halves. Using a heavy knife blade, tap the tip into the pit and twist gently to remove. To remove the flesh, you can either peel the fruit or use a paring knife to slice up small pieces inside the skin and scoop them out with a spoon. Mushy flesh should always be cooped. To prevent the flesh from darkening after contact with air, rub with lemon juice.

How to Store It

You can ripen hard avocados at room temperature for three to six days. To accelerate this process store avocados in a paper bag. Putting an apple or banana into the bag will help speed the process even more, as both fruits emit a ripening gas.

Ready in 05

Slice and scoop snack

Delicious all on their own. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper.

Mash it up for meals

Use as a spread on sandwiches and wraps. Just add a pinch of lemon juice.

Dig in Dip

The avocado’s starring role: guacamole. To make a simple guacamole, finely dice two cloves of garlic, 1/2 bunch of cilantro, half an onion, and ½ jalapeno pepper (optional). Combine in a bowl with a diced medium tomato, the juice from one lemon or lime, and two avocados. Mash until you’ve reached the desired consistency, and salt and pepper to taste, along with cilantro if desired. Serve it with crudités or hole grain crackers for a healthy snack.

Article Reviewed: July 5, 2012
Copyright © 2011 CitiHealth
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