Superfood: Avacados

Naturally, you would think an avocado was a vegetable because of its nutritional value and its vegetable-like role in preparing meals. Surprisingly, an avocado is a single-seeded berry.  Its physiology contains a pit enclosed by a pericarp.  The pericarp consists of three layers: endocarp (innermost layer), mesocarp (edible layer) and exocarp (skin on the outside).  Analytically, what makes an avocado so adaptable is its sweet, delicious, buttery-like mesocarp.

Aside from an avocado’s delectable taste, there are many unrecognized heart-healthy benefits.  They are ranked as one of the top 10 “good fat” food sources.  The reason being, an avocado’s fat content is mostly monounsaturated.  The phytonutrient benefit of an avocado are the cholesterol, lowering plant sterols; glutathione and lutein.  Glutathione works as an antioxidant which could conceivably protect against some cancers and lutein which promotes healthy vision.  Along with these heart-healthy benefits, avocados contain Vitamins E (antioxidant), C (ascorbic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), folate (B Vitamin), potassium (mineral) and soluble fiber (dietary fiber).

Avocados are used mashed, slivered and layered; as a snack, spread, to enhance savory flavors or as an addition to a dish.  You can be creative with avocados by blending them into a fruit/vegetable smoothie.  Some use avocados as a substitute for butter or oil when baking cookies, cakes and muffins.  Due to their high water content, they make treats softer, chewier and less likely to crumble.

****Side note:  ripe avocados are slightly soft to pressure from your palm****

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