Where do I start?! I guess when a lot of people think of avocado, they think of the fat content. So lets bang that one on the head. While it is true that avocado is a high-fat food (about 85% of its calories come from fat), the fat contained in avocado is unusual and provides research-based health benefits. The unusual nature of avocado fat is threefold. Please refer to http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5 for more detailed information about this. For now, here's the gist of it: Avocados provide the healthy kind of fat that your body needs. Like olive oil, avocados boost levels of HDL (the "good" cholesterol). HDL cholesterol can help protect against the damage caused by free radicals. This type of cholesterol also helps regulate triglyceride levels, preventing diabetes. A study published early this year in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that a vegetarian diet, which includes HDL fats, can reduce levels of LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) as effectively as statin drugs.
Avocados are a complete protein. They provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absorbed by the body because avocados also contain fiber. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian, vegan or raw foodist seeking more protein, avocados are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet.
Back to the part about fibre, avocados are a very good source of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. 100 g fruit (about a third of an avocado) provides 6.7 g or about 18% of recommended daily intake. Dietary fibers help lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent constipation. Most people do not get enough fibre in their diet. Fibre makes you feel full and satiated, therefore you will end up eating less - hence why I couldn't finish my stuffed avocado.
The flesh of an avocado contains health promoting flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as cryptoxanthin, lutein, zea-xanthin, beta and alpha carotenes in small amounts. Together, these compounds act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
The combined effect of the deluxe package of nutrients contained in avocados offers powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Avocadoes' unique combination of Vitamins C and E, carotenoids, selenium, zinc, phytosterols and omega-3 fatty acids helps guard against inflammation. This means avocados can help prevent or mitigate against both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. Total antioxidant strength (ORAC) of avocados (raw, Hass variety) is 1933 µmol TE/100 g - that's more than spinach, oranges, broccoli and a whole bunch of other fruits and vege that you would normally associate with a high ORAC value.
And if that weren't enough, these little suckers are also excellent sources of minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, and manganese.
Learn more: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/avocados.html
I actually had some left over rice/bean mix in the fridge that I simply reheated and stuffed my avocado's with. Perhaps you have something similar you can stuff yours with? I then added a simple salad containing:
- 1/3 capsicum, diced
- handful of bean sprouts
- handful of spinach, chopped
- handful of cooked chickpeas (that I also had left over in the fridge)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
If you don't have anything left over in the fridge, here's a great recipe from BULLFROGS AND BULLDOGS that I'll be making next time.
Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Avocado
- Avocados (1 small avocado per person)
- ½ cup quinoa
- 1 can black beans (rinsed)
- ½ chopped red pepper
- ½ cup corn
- ½ chopped red onion
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro + some for garnish
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning
Cilantro "sour cream"
- 1 cup cashews soaked for at least two hours
- 2 tbsp cilantro
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp agave (if you want it sweeter)
- dash of salt
- Start by rinsing your quinoa well and then place it in a sauce pan and toast for about two minutes until the quinoa starts to smell ‘toasty.’ Add one cup of water or vegetable broth and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cover. (To get fluffy quinoa, it’s really important to not stir it, just let it be, keeping a close eye on it)
- Chop the red onion and red pepper and add all the ingredients, minus the quinoa, in a bowl and mix well with the taco seasoning. Once the quinoa is finished and has cooled, add it to the vegetable mixture.
- Put the mixture in the refrigerator to cool.
- Drain the cashews and place them in a blender. Add ¼ cup water, apple cider vinegar, agave, and salt and blend. You may want to add more water until the mixture is silky and smooth but I recommend doing so a little at a time. Once the consistency you want, pour into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool
- To assemble the avocados, begin by cutting them in half, removing the skin and the pit. I also scooped out part of the avocado to make a little room for more stuffing.
- Scoop about ½ a cup of the quinoa mixture into each avocado, more if you can fit it.
- Finish with a little cilantro ‘sour cream’ and some chopped cilantro and serve.