Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Frugal Superfoods #2: The Amazing Avocado

I'm long overdue for another installment in my Frugal Superfoods series. Way back in May, I kicked things off with my post about the wonders of the humble green pea.

This time I'd like to shine the spotlight on one of my favourite foods: the amazing avocado.

I came to this wonderful food rather late in life. Nary an avocado passed through the door of my parents' house when I was growing up, and I had never even tasted guacamole until well into adulthood. To be honest, I can't recall exactly when or where I had my first avocado experience, but after doing the research for writing this post, I'm really glad that I usually eat half an avocado several days per week!

In my area, 5 packs of avocados routinely go on sale for right around $3, sometimes $2.49, and occasionally even closer to $2. That means I'm generally paying about 50-60 cents per avocado. That's less than half the price of a candy bar, while packing in an amazing list of health benefits.

Avocados contain an impressive array of nutrients: Monounsaturated fats, potassium (surprisingly, more than bananas by weight!), Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, folate, copper, plus a whopping 11 grams of fibre per medium avocado.

They have also been shown to have a wide range of health benefits:

Eye health: They are a good source of lutein, a carotenoid which helps protect against eye disease.

Weight loss/maintenance: Some studies have shown that people who eat avocados weigh less than those that don't. One reason for this may be that they're high in oleic acid, a fat that activates the part of your brain that makes you feel full.

Increased nutrient absorption: Some studies have shown that adding 1 cup of avocado to a salad can boost absorption of lycopene and beta-carotene 200-400%!

Decreased risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease: There is strong support for avocado's role in helping prevent these all-too-common diseases.

Cancer prevention: Avocados contain a wide range of beneficial phytochemicals which are known to prevent cancer. In addition, some interesting research has shown that avocados can actually encourage the death of cancer cells while promoting the health of normal cells - that's pretty cool :)

Anti-inflammatory properties: A number of the nutrients found in avocados are anti-inflammatory, which means they can help prevent or minimize symptoms of diseases like arthritis.

If all that wasn't enough, they're pretty darn tasty, too! In addition to the standard guacamole dip, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate avocados into your meals:
  • Add slices to sandwiches and burgers
  • Toss them into almost any kind of salad (green, grain or bean-based)
  • Tuck them into an omelette or add them as a garnish for scrambled eggs

If you want tons more ideas for ways to incorporate avocados into your cooking, check out the recipe page at the California Avocado site,

Do you have a favourite way to eat avocados?

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