All About Avocados

AdobeStock_84303862.jpeg

By: Hollee Mohni RD, ACE-CPT

National Guacamole Day is right around the corner (Sept 16th ), so what better time than now to learn more about avocados! What better time than now to learn more about avocados! Whether it be from California or from Mexico, or is a Haas or Fuerte variety, it’s safe to say we’re all very aware of the avocado obsession. But what do we really know about this little green thing with the big round seed?

Many of us think of avocado as a vegetable, however it is actually in fact, a fruit. Avocados have many health benefits, one of the biggest being that it is made up mostly of healthy fats. These healthy fats are monounsaturated, as well as polyunsaturated fats. Not only does avocado have a lot of healthy fat, it also has a high amount of fiber, which helps keep us fuller for longer, and is important in digestive health. Since avocado is eaten as fresh produce, it also has many vitamins and minerals that the body needs including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and Vitamin K, among many others. Incorporating avocado into a balanced diet can also help lower total cholesterol, lower LDL (bad cholesterol), and raise HDL (our good cholesterol).

However, as wonderful as avocados are, sometimes we need to heed caution with even the best of things. Since avocado is primarily fat, it is high in calories, approximately 230 calories in one avocado, compared to around 90 calories for a fruit or vegetable of similar size. Be sure to limit the amount consumed. A good recommendation would be approximately 2 slices or ¼ avocado per meal when eating as part of a balanced meal.

Now that we know all of this about avocados, how do we pick them out with the perfect ripeness? When grocery shopping be sure to give the avocados a gentle squeeze. A ripe, ready-to-eat avocado will be lightly soft. A firm or bright green avocado need time to ripen, too soft or mushy and you will likely find it is over ripe when cut open. What do we do with an under ripe avocado? Quicker ripening can be achieved if placed in a brown paper bag with a piece of fruit (apple or banana). What if we’re not ready to eat the avocado, but don’t want it to go bad? Ripening can be slowed down by placing avocados in the fridge, which will delay the ripening process.

How do you like your avocados? Visit our Recipes page for a pineapple guacamole recipe!