Happy Cinco de Mayo!
I figured because of the occasion, now is a great time to talk about one of my favorite fruits: the avocado.
Yes, it technically is a fruit.
I put avocados in everything I possibly can; alongside my eggs, on my tacos, in my morning shakes, in brownies, or just plain by themselves. They are a great substitute for sour cream (if you’re non-dairy) on top of spicy foods to cool it off. They add creaminess to chocolate preparations. Think I’m crazy? Well…I am. But not about this! (scroll down for a recipe!) They are great sources of healthy fats and vitamins, giving us energy and keeping us full.
Native to Central and South America, avocados weren’t technically around in the Paleolithic, but they come relatively close: the earliest evidence of avocado consumption comes from around 10,000 BC in Mexico. Admittedly, they don’t look like much on the outside. They have that weird lizard-skin texture, and they sometimes look more like rocks than food. But that unassuming outer shell is hiding a delicious treat inside…..
From a macronutrient perspective, avocados are mainly (about 77%) fat, and most of that is very healthy fat. This makes them unusual among fruits, since most other fruits have very little fat. But as Paleo dieters know, the right kind of fat is nothing to be afraid of! In fact, the high fat content of avocados is actually a benefit because it means they’re very low in sugar. The healthy fats found in avocados are a much better source of fuel and energy than the fructose found in most other fruits…..
A key thing we need to remember about fat and our bodies: saturated fats are actually GOOD for us.
Our bodies understand how to utilize saturated fats, because they are found naturally in many things we eat.
Is it any wonder that the fat that composes our own bone marrow and most of our brain, saturated fat, should also be the fat that we consume? Saturated fat has been demonized mainly because most sources are also high in cholesterol. Cholesterol is one of the most important constituents of life. Your body produces it and can regulate its levels whether it’s synthesizing its own cholesterol or cholesterol from dietary sources. Every cell needs it, the brain contains large amounts and cholesterol is the precursor to many of the most important hormones. In fact, a high saturated fat intake has been shown to reduce what we call the bad cholesterol, small particle LDL, and raise what’s called the good cholesterol, HDL. LDL and HDL are not cholesterol; they are transport lipoproteins, but the function of cholesterol and the way it works in the body, as well as what causes arterial plaque is misunderstood…..
- Most sources of natural saturated fat such as butter, lard and tallow contain high amounts of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Those vitamins need the presence of fat to be absorbed and are primordial for the absorption and proper utilization of other vitamins and minerals.
- The air spaces in the lungs are coated with lung surfactant composed entirely of saturated fat. When the consumption of saturated fat is too low, the composition of this lung surfactant is compromised and the lung’s air spaces can collapse. It’s possible that the proliferation of asthma in children and adults is due to a breakdown of this fatty layer.
- Some sources of medium-chain fatty acids such as coconut oil also have potent antimicrobial properties.
- Saturated fat helps the liver flush out any fat accumulation within it.
Avocados are high in saturated fats, making them fantastic sources of energy and aiding in the absorption of all of those vitamins, conveniently also found in an avocado.
- Vitamin K1: 36% of the recommended daily value.
- Vitamin B9 (Folate): 30%
- Vitamin C: 20%
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): 20%
- Potassium: 20%
- Vitamin B6: 20%
- Vitamin E: 13%
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 13%
- Copper: 12%
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 11%
- Magnesium: 10%
- Manganese: 10%
Another great thing about the avocado, is that it’s relatively high in fiber (37%). Who says you need a diet high in grains to get your gut moving? Not I!
I could get deeper into the science of why and how fat is super healthy for you. Believe me….I could. *science nerd alert* There are multiple studies done on vegetarian/low fat diets versus a high fat diet and how they impact various organ systems and overall health and wellness. I’ll link some pages here if you’re interested in finding out more.
Avocados are a staple fruit for us Paleo-eans. They offer innumerable health benefits and are super duper tasty. 😀
For your cooking pleasure; a chocolate & avocado recipe. I told you, it’s a thing.
Taken from PaleoLeap.com
Paleo Chocolate Pudding
- 3 ripe avocados
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp almond butter
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp flavored extract (mint, coffee, almond, hazelnut, etc.) if you’re so inclined
-Blend everything up in a blender, or food processor until smooth. Refrigerate first, or enjoy immediately!