Avocados are a high source of protein and therefore an ideal food if your vegetarian or vegan!
Avocados are a fantastic food for vegetarians and vegans because of the high protein content. Avocados can provide nearly twice the energy of the equivalent weight in meat as well as the nutrients it supplies.
Some diets avoid avocados because of the high fat content, but not all fats are bad for you and the high calorie intake comes mainly from mono-saturated fats which help to reduce cholesterol levels. Other nutrients include Vitamins A, B6, C, D and E and Manganese.
Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants which help to keep the body’s cells healthy. Avocados are also high in Potassium which helps to control blood pressure and maintain a regular heartbeat and healthy nervous system.
So when looking at the calorie figures for avocado, remember, these calories are made up of nutrients and not just fats and sugars! Many diets only look at calorie intake and do not take into account nutritional values. The nutrients of avocados can help maintain muscles, good skin and hair condition because of the oil-based vitamins.
Avocados only ripen once harvested, so when buying avocados leave them out at room temperature before eating. Some varieties of avocado like the ‘Hass’ and ‘Fuerle’ may ripen, but remain hard until picked. Avocados have a rich nutty flavor with a buttery consistency which makes it an ideal topping on toast and bread.
Great, so avocados are good for you, but what do you do with them?
The most famous dish using avocados is Guacamole in Mexican cuisine using mashed avocado as the main ingredient. It’s ideal as a dip for crudités (thinly sliced vegetables such as carrots, celery and cucumber) or spicy crisps and bread sticks.
My favourite use of avocado is to mash up the flesh with a fork (the avocado needs to be just over ripe so it’s soft) and add lemon juice. The lemon juice not only adds a piquancy, but stops the mixture turning brown too quickly. Mix this up and spread on toast. This is ideal as a healthy breakfast with a boiled egg, fresh tomatoes and peppers.
Avocados can also be sliced into salads or served with prawns. Cut the avocado in half, pull out the stone and put the prawn cocktail into the gap. One half of an avocado is probably enough per person. Serve with toasted French bread and a green salad on the side.