Hi again, everyone! Avril here from LloydsPharmacy Governey Square Carlow and I’ve been dying to talk to you about Avocados. At a recent event in our pharmacy, I was surprised at how many of our customers had never even tasted one! So, I’m here to convince you to make sure they become part of your regular diet.
What’s not to love about these awesome and delicious green delights?! Avocados are quite simply amazing & if you have never tried one then you are in for a real treat! There are so many health benefits from eating this super nutritious fruit (yes, technically it is a fruit!) – Here are just a few:
- They can regulate healthy blood pressure levels as they contain more potassium than a banana!
- Loaded with heart healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids – these can actually help to lower cholesterol.
- Excellent source of fibre which is great news for optimal bowel function & it can help keep you full, regulate blood sugars and consequently can lead to weight loss!
- High in anti-oxidants including lutein and zeaxanthin which can reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Their fat content can aid in the absorption of “fat soluble” vitamins A,D,E,K from foods they are eaten with.
Hopefully, that is enough to convince you to give an avocado a try. The best tip I can give to you before you do, is to make sure that the avocado is ripe because this will make a huge difference to the taste and texture! The skin colour usually changes from a bright green to a dark purplish colour and it should feel soft when you apply gentle pressure. They can take quite a few days to ripen but you can easily speed this up by storing them in a brown paper bag along with an apple or a banana. Once ripe, store them in the refrigerator. Some supermarkets sell avocados “ripe and ready” so if in doubt, this is a great option.
To cut open an avocado, slice it lengthways around the circumference, then just twist and pull the two halves apart. If just using half, remember to store the half containing the stone in the refrigerator as this will help slow down the oxidation process. You can also squeeze some lemon juice over it to help it to stay fresh.
There is a vast number of ways to incorporate avocados into your diet; they can even be used as a substitute for butter or margarine in baked goods as well as an ingredient in dairy-free ice-cream, but here are some very simple ideas to get you started:
Avocado Toast: simply spread some mashed up avocado on wholemeal toast in place of butter. A much healthier alternative and very satisfying.
Baked Eggs In Avocado: Another yummy breakfast idea or serve with a salad for lunch. Cut the avocado in half, remove stone and scoop out enough of the avocado flesh so that an egg will fit snuggly into each half. Sprinkle with paprika and bake in the oven or under the grill until the egg is cooked to your liking. Just as nice eaten cold
Scrambled Eggs & Avocado Slices: A beautiful combination!
Avocado Egg Salad: A healthier alternative to egg mayonnaise – just use a mash a ripe avocado in place of mayonnaise! Simply mash half an avocado with one boiled egg, add a squeeze of lemon and some chopped fresh herbs and serve on a rice cake, wholemeal bread or with a mixed salad.
Creamy Lettuce Wraps: mash avocado and add a heaped tablespoon of cottage cheese. Spoon into lettuce leaves and enjoy! You can top it with some cucumber or baby tomatoes if you wish.
Guacamole: A great dip with raw vegetables or as a spread in sandwiches. Mash a ripe avocado and stir in a chopped tomato, half a small onion (finely chopped), the juice of one lemon and season with a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper.
Avocado & Butter Bean Dip/Spread: Simply blend one tin of butter beans (drained and rinsed), one ripe avocado, the juice of two limes and a handful of fresh coriander. Fresh and zesty!
Avocado Berry Smoothie: A great addition to a smoothie. This is one of my favourites – Just blend a cup of unsweetened almond milk, a couple of tablespoons of strawberries/blackberries/raspberries and half an avocado. I also like to add a handful of spinach. Tastes creamy and satisfying! Add a little stevia if you like it sweeter.
Simply In A Salad: Just chop up half an avocado and toss it into your salad.
Sandwiches/Wraps: Avocado makes a delicious filling and combines particularly nicely with turkey. My all-time favourite way to enjoy this delicious fruit is spread onto a rice cake or a slice of healthy brown bread, topped with a slice of smoked salmon. Love it!
On its own!: If you are caught for time, just enjoy it on its own with a little lemon juice and cracked black pepper if desired.
Written by Avril Reilly, LloydsPharmacy Governy Square Carlow