Who doesn’t just LOVE ‘em? Talk about a versatile food! Before we get to a unique and tasty recipe, let’s talk about how to ripen them and have a look at why they’re not just good, they’re good for us:

Ripening an avocado can be done in the same way that you ripen bananas: Place the avocado in a paper bag with an apple, banana, or tomato. Fold the bag closed and leave it to sit on the counter overnight. The ethylene gas in the other fruit will cause the avocado to ripen in about 24 hours.

If you don't have other fruit to put in the bag with the avocado, you can put it in the bag by itself and it will ripen, but not as fast as if you'd put the fruit in with it. Another method for ripening avocados is to bury them in a sack of flour overnight or place them in a paper bag with some flour. I haven't tried this method but many people swear by it.

Now let’s talk about their health benefits, because there are plenty. Folks talk a lot about their fat content. And I say, “Yeh, so what’s your point?” It’s healthy fat they contain, and here’s why we ought to be eating one a day:

Prostate Cancer Prevention—they have been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer.

Oral Cancer Defense—compounds in avocados are able to seek out pre-cancerous and cancerous oral cancer cells and destroy them without harming healthy cells.

Breast Cancer Protection—it is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies.

Eye Health—they have more of the carotenoid lutein than any other commonly consumed fruit. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts, two disabling age-related eye diseases.

Lower Cholesterol—they are high in beta-sitosterol, a compound that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. In one study, 45 volunteers experienced an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocados for only one week.

Heart Health—one cup of avocado has 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. Studies show that people who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower incidence of heart disease than those who don't. The vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione in avocado are also great for your heart.

Stroke Prevention—the high levels of folate in avocado are also protective against strokes. People who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower risk of stroke than those who don't. And by the way, research shows the incidence of stroke is showing up in younger and younger people today. It’s not just an old person’s risk any more.

Better Nutrient Absorption—certain nutrients are absorbed better when eaten with avocado. In one study, when participants ate a salad containing avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes lycopene and beta carotene) than those who didn't include avocados.

Glutathione Source—they are an excellent source of glutathione (known as the king of antioxidants), an antioxidant that researchers say is important in preventing aging, cancer, and heart disease.

Vitamin E Powerhouse—they are the best fruit source of vitamin E, an essential vitamin that protects against many diseases and helps maintains overall health.

Lastly, here’s a wonderful avocado recipe, courtesy of a cool site, avocadorecipes.net.

Avocado and Crab Soup


1 (8-ounce) can crabmeat
4 ripe avocados peeled and seeded
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt to taste
pepper to taste

1) Mash crabmeat and avocados together in a medium bowl; set aside.
2) Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan; add onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes.
3) Add flour to saucepan; cook until color turns golden, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cream and bring to a boil, stirring, about 3 minutes. Simmer until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Whisk in stock; simmer until thickened, stirring.
4) Add reserved crabmeat mixture to saucepan; whisk well to combine. Simmer until mixture is smooth and thick, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste and serve warm.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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  •     Alice Osborne
        Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
        Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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