Avocados are not just the best ingredient in guacamole, they are truly a superfood. Rich in monounsaturated fats like olive oil, they are also loaded with fiber, folate, glutathione, phytosterols, flavonoids, and carotenoids, which are the pigments found in plants that contain a treasure trove of health benefits. New research, as pointed out in Life Extension magazine, October, 2015, extols upon avocados nutrients that provide benefits for joint, eye, and skin health, and helps prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. All this in a food that tastes great and is good for you! One cup of an avocado provides 15.6 grams of fiber (men need 38 grams/day, women 25). Avocados also supply 60% of daily vitamin K, 51% of folate, 34% pantothenic acid, 34% vitamin B6, 23% vitamin E, and 33% of daily potassium needs.
Avocados also contain omega-3 fatty acids (160 mg/cup), glutathione (a super antioxidant), and a spectacular array of carotenoids, which scavenge free radicals and are important in eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin, key nutrients for eye health, are found in the highest concentrations in avocados. Those two nutrients also inhibit H-pylori, a bacteria associated with stomach cancer, and very prevalent in humans. In the US, H-pylori is present in 60% of Hispanics, 54% in African Americans, and 20% in whites.
To get the maximum amount of nutrition from an avocado, follow what the California Avocado Commission recommends. When ripe:
Cut the avocado lengthwise, producing two long avocado halves that are still connected by the seed. Then twist the two halves in opposite directions. Pluck out the seed and cut each of the two halves lengthwise so that you now have four long sections. Next, pick up one of the quarters and use your thumb and index finger to grip the edge of the skin and peel cleanly, like a banana. The greatest amount of nutrients is just beneath the skin.
If storing, drip some lemon juice on it and store in an airtight container-if exposed to the air, the avocado will oxidize and turn brown. I put plastic wrap tightly over the top to help with that. I also use avocado oil for cooking, but never on high heat, which destroys the nutrients. It has little or no taste, but contains all the good stuff. Happy eating.
Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.