It's Avocado Season !!

When you think of avocados, if you are like me, you think of chips and guacamole dip.

Wether you slice em, dice em, or mash em avocados are a super fruit that also acts as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, in foods that are eaten with them. There are more than 80 varieties of avocados. The most common is the year-round Hass avocado, whose original mother tree still stands in California. The two main U.S. producers of the fruit are California and Florida. The Golden State far outranks the Sunshine State, however, with more than 6,000 groves accounting for about 90% of avocado crops. How about some history.

The avocado originated in south-central Mexico, sometime between 7,000 and 5,000 B.C. Avocados were known by the Aztecs as "the fertility fruit." Bet you didn't know that, in the past, the avocado had a reputation for inducing sexual prowess, so they weren't purchased or consumed by any person wishing to protect their image from slanderous assault. Not kidding! The avocado is a climacteric fruit, the banana is another. What that means is that, it matures on the tree, but ripens off the tree. Avocados also have 60% more potassium than bananas. Looks like 95% of United States avocado production, is located here, in Southern California, with 60% in San Diego County. Fallbrook, California, claims the title of "Avocado Capital of the World", and both Fallbrook and Carpinteria, California, host annual avocado festivals.
The most popular California avocado is the Hass, which weights about half a pound and has a pebbly black skin when ripe. Hass avocados are unique because they are the only avocado variety that is produced year-round. According to the California Avocado Commission. The mother tree of all Hass avocados was born in a backyard in La Habra Heights, California.

Despite their popularity and health benefits, there are still plenty of people who haven't tried avocados. Especially those living outside California and Texas. Our two states alone consume as many avocados as the rest of the country combined. Once misunderstood because of their high fat content, avocados have been elevated to fitness food recently. Recent research shows that eating more healthy fats from foods like avocados, nuts, and olive oil doesn’t automatically translate into adding body fat. In fact, most studies have shown exactly the opposite. People who eat healthy fats seem to retain less fat. They have lower LDL, bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides. They are less prone to heart disease and developing certain kinds of cancers. This of course is great news for avocado lovers. Not only are avocados filled with healthy fats, but they are also loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Researchers have also discovered that avocados are rich in beta-sitosterol, a natural substance shown to significantly lower blood cholesterol levels. 

In a review article published in the December 1999 issue of the American Journal of Medicine, researchers pointed out that beta-sitosterol was shown to reduce cholesterol in 16 human studies. Avocados contain good amounts of vitamin C. It is also a good source of Vitamin E, which is essential for the normal functioning of the body. Vitamin E, is also a potent anti-oxidant which protects polyunsaturated fatty acids in your cell membranes from free-radical attack. Excess free-radicals as I've written about before, are linked to the beginnings of cancers and heart disease.

Avocados are also pressed, to make a delicious, mild oil that's among nature's richest sources of healthy, monounsaturated fatty acids, also known as MUFA's. If you're getting bored with the usual olive oil on your salads, you might consider swapping in some avocado oil.

The fats avocados contain are essential for the correct functioning of the body and brain. Mono-unsaturated fats help to reduce blood pressure, diabetes, and can lower LDL cholesterol levels. The average avocado is 12% fat. The calories in the avocado that the fat represents are these good mono-unsaturated fats. Now not all calories are the same. What do I mean by that? The term calorie is used to describe the amount of "potential energy" in a food item. It does not mean that the body will actually use it or even move the calorie across the digestive membrane. a good diet will contain enough good fats for use by the body for things other than energy. This way the body will allow any excees fat to pass right through our digestive system and out the drain.

Research has shown that the greatest concentration of carotenoids (anti-oxidents) in avocado occurs in the dark green flesh that lies just beneath the skin. You don't want to slice into that dark green portion any more than necessary when you are peeling an avocado. Researchers think that the avocado's carotenoid diversity is a key factor in the anti-inflammatory properties of this vegetable.No single category of nutrients in avocado is more impressive than carotenoids. Here's a list that summarizes key carotenoid antioxidants provided by avocado:
  • alpha-carotene
  • beta-carotene
  • beta-cryptoxanthin
  • chrysanthemaxanthin
  • lutein
  • neochrome
  • neoxanthin
  • violaxanthin
  • zeaxanthin

Optimal absorption of these fat-soluble phytonutrients requires just the right amount and combination of dietary fats, and that is exactly the combination that is provided by avocado! Although they are fruits, avocados have a high fat content of between 71 to 88% of their total calories. About 20 times the average for other fruits. A typical avocado contains 30 grams of fat, but 20 of these fat grams are health-promoting monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid. The current stance that "obesity in the western world is caused by excess fat's in the diet" is mostly a myth. Obesity is the end result of the many types of contrived food's that are being marketed to the public. Foods that are high in corn sugar content, refined, and processed food that also contains hydrogenated oils and transfats, and artificial sweetners. It's these foods along with cane sugar products, that are making people fat. The body will suck every bit of carbohydrate it can from the food we eat and the faster that occurs the faster the blood sugar level rises. That causes insulin to be released and then fat is produced from the excess sugar you can't use, and that fat is stored. Don't worry when you are eating real food like fruits and vegetables, EVER! Nobody ever joined weight watchers because they ate too many avocados, or unrefined, unprocessed, unsalted, vegetables, nuts, cereals, and fruit. These foods are essential to provide us the phyto-nutrients our body requires. Eat fish and organic meats and eggs. Drink green & white tea, and fresh squeezed juice. Go for good quality natural organic food's and you'll never say that you wish you didn't. Good Luck...

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