Articles - A Healthy Diet:

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The avocado is sometimes called the “butter of the Aztecs”. With 30% fat content, it compares with a fairly fatty cheese. The pear-shaped fruit was very popular with the Mayas and Aztecs; they called it “forest butter”.

 

Today, the inhabitants of Latin America use the avocado as a butter substitute. A medium sized fruit can contain up to 40 g of fat! It’s surprising to find such a high fat content in a fruit, but don’t worry: from a nutritional point of view, the avocado is among the most valuable fruits you can get. The reason is the unsaturated fatty acids. They reduce blood fat levels, protect the heart and blood vessels and, in this way, decrease the risk of cardio-vascular diseases. In addition to this, the avocado contains high levels of B vitamins, potassium and magnesium. Avocados – avos for short – are an exceptionally healthy food. Even people on slimming diets would be well-advised to continue eating them.


There’s another big advantage: the skin forms a natural “packaging” so avos are easy to eat on the road. Simply cut lengthways, remove the stone and then spoon the fruit flesh out of both halves. A pinch of salt improves the taste.


Originally from Central America, the avocado is now cultivated wherever the climate is subtropical. In most parts of Europe you can find avocados in the shops all year round. Most of them come from Spain, Israel or South Africa. Of the 400 different varieties that exist, only a few are available here.


A tip about storing: it is normal to harvest unripe avocados and let them ripen after picking. The fruits in the shop are usually still hard, but buy them, take them home and they’ll continue to ripen. The avocado is ready to eat when the skin gives way slightly when pressed lightly. Avoid buying fruit with brownish black spots, because the damage is likely to be more than skin deep. Let the avocado ripen by keeping it at room temperature for a few days. To speed up ripening, put the fruit in a paper bag or wrap it in newspaper along with an apple or a ripe banana. Ripe avocados will keep – uncut naturally – for up to two days in the fridge.

One the best know avocado dishes is guacamole. Mash the avocado, flavour it with lime juice, chilli and salt and stir in chopped tomatoes, garlic and onions. It’s delicious and very healthy!