Flavor Exploration: Avocado

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Salmon with Red Velvet RelishIt's that special time of the week -- the time when we unveil the next installment in our 10-part series on ways to explore healthful flavors! If you missed a post, feel free to get caught up by using the links below...

So, how will we help you and your clients Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right this Nutrition Month? Well, this week we're going to focus on avocados -- nutrient powerhouses that are positively packed with flavor! As always, this discussion will include a look at the health benefits of avocados, how to use them in meals, and recipes that feature their deliciousness. Plus, there's a free handout with one of our very favorite recipes. It's hidden at the bottom of this post.

Today's Featured Flavor: Avocado

Avocados are creamy, with a buttery texture and rich flavor. They taste a little nutty, a little earthy, and super fresh. Avocados also offer a cool and mild flavor that makes them the perfect counterpart to spicy dishes.

Avocados and Your Health:

For a while, people steered clear of avocados because of their high fat content. This wasn't a healthful choice -- the fat that avocados contain is actually monounsaturated fat, which is super good for you when you consume it in moderation.

Avocado and SeafoodThe American Heart Association asserts, "Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells.  Monounsaturated fats are also typically high in vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of." Avocados are packed with these nutrients, and 1 cup of avocado offers 20% of your daily value for vitamin E.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people should "Keep total fat intake between 20 to 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids." Since avocados are great sources of monounsaturated fatty acids, they make a wonderful option for healthful fat intake.

But wait, there's more! An avocado has way more potassium than a banana, and it's one of the highest fruit sources of protein, with roughly four grams of protein per avocado. Avocados are also good sources of pantothenic acid, vitamin K, fiber, copper, and folate.

These nutrient powerhouses can't be beat!

Avocados as Flavor Boosters:

AvocadoPictureAnother great thing about avocados is their versatility. They're great eaten plain or spread on toast, but they can also be dressed up in all kinds of different ways. Think guacamole, a topping for chili, or a creamy boost in a sandwich or wrap. Plus, avocados can be substituted for butter in some baked foods, especially ones with a rich chocolate flavor.

The question is, what can't avocados do?

It should come as no surprise that we love avocados. Our free recipe database is packed with tons of recipes that feature this versatile and healthful food. Some of the best of the best are listed below...

This post was brought to you by the Nutrition Education Store. We are adding fresh new nutrition education materials every day. Which one will make your life easier?

And here it is, the handout you've been waiting for. Download a free PDF copy of the Mock Guac recipe handout, which also includes tons of fun facts about avocados.


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