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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.