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Avocados: The Alligator Pear

Filed Under: Health Foods at 4:27 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
AvocadoI think I may have just found the wonder fruit, or at least one of them. I was searching for a fruit that would add a little variety to my fall consumption. I admittedly have an overzealous love for apples, and while that’s not an unhealthy obsession, it can become a little monotonous. So with variety in mind, I scanned the produce section and discovered avocados. Originally from South America, these externally bumpy, internally smooth fruits are available year round. However, the ones coming from Florida are at their best in October, meaning they’re the perfect way to add variety to your autumnal meals.  And, they are fabulously good for you!!

Filled to the brim with nutrients, avocados can help lower cholesterol (via oleic acid), regulate blood pressure (with potassium) and decrease the risk of heart disease (thanks to folate). They have also been proven to improve carotenoids absorption when eaten with vegetables. In fact, having an avocado in a salad can increase the absorption of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein 7.2, 15.3 and 5.1 times, respectively.  And now, researchers believe that avocados can help fight oral cancer.  Nutrients extracted from the fruit either kill or stop the growth of pre-cancerous cells, without harming normal cells. Perfect. That’s always the goal when you’re trying to fight a disease – kill the bad stuff; save the good stuff. There is one limitation to this study, however. It only examined Haas avocados. The other 499 varieties haven’t proven their cancer-fighting skills quite yet, but don’t worry. Haas is the type most commonly seen in grocery stores throughout the country and the kind coming ripening in Florida, right now. So, all you have to do is head to the local produce store and pick up a few. But, how exactly do you eat this fruit? It’s not like avocado pie is a staple in the American household.

Well, you could eat it raw. Peel it or scoop out the avocado meat (much like you would with a cantaloupe). Snack on it or throw it in a salad (Remember the fruit gets bonus points when eaten with vegetables). If you want to incorporate it in some recipes, think South American. It’s a South American fruit, so making salsa or guacamole is a good way to go. You can also add it to a sandwich instead of mayonnaise, although I haven’t tried that yet. So, if it tastes as strange as it sounds, don’t blame me. But the point is experiment. This is a flexible fruit. It will go where you want, in what you want. Just make sure you enjoy it. It should be good for your body and your taste buds.

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