The World's Healthiest Foods

Cooking Healthy with Avocados

Having spent so many years in the southwestern United States and now living in the tropics where avocados are literally falling off the trees around me, I have long enjoyed them frequently in my diet; yet avocados remain one of those treasure foods that deliver a delicious experience each time I eat one. Their creamy texture and nutty flavor need nothing more than a little lemon, salt and pepper to be as tasty as a full recipe.

Unfortunately, some people avoid avocados because of their high fat content, despite the fact that 75% of the fat they contain is health-promoting monounsaturated fat, which actually helps lower cholesterol. Plus, avocados' high content of potassium helps promote healthy blood pressure, and they are also a rich source of vitamin K, which helps keep calcium out of our arteries and in our bones. A heart-healthy move I have made in my diet, and highly recommend, is to substitute the healthy monounsaturated fat from avocados for the saturated fats in butter.

When selecting avocados, I usually go for the Haas variety if they are available. I try to pick ones that are just beginning to ripen and let them sit out at room temperature in a cool, somewhat dark place until they have reached the state of ripeness desired for the use I have in mind. If I will be slicing them, I don't let them get as soft as I do if I want to mash them for a dish such as guacamole.

One of my favorite ways of eating avocado is to mash it with a little lemon juice, spread it on toasted rye bread, and then sprinkle with a topping that I make by combining a little kelp powder, garlic salt, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and white pepper. This makes a wonderful afternoon snack.

The balance of flavor and textures of creamy avocados with crisp lettuce and tomatoes turns even a light salad into a satisfying healthy dish. Here are two such salads in our recipe file I hope you will enjoy:

For more on their health benefits and other delicious ways to enjoy this World's Healthiest Food, click avocados.