It’s summer and avocados are at their best. Who doesn’t love this buttery-rich fruit that’s full of nutrients and good fats? I’m just happy to take a ripe avocado and spread it on whole grain toast, but the chef in me can’t resist coming up with new ideas for avocados, too.
Here are some facts about avocados that make them one of the healthiest foods you can eat:
- They’re high in monounsaturated fat, specifically oleic acid, an omega-9 fat that can help lower cholesterol.
- The monounsaturated fat in avocados is also associated with reduced risk of cancer and diabetes.
- Avocados are high in lutein, which is a natural antioxidant related to carotenoid that’s great for your eyes and skin.
- Avocados are a good source of fiber, delivering between 11 and 17 grams per fruit.
- Avocados contain more potassium than bananas. Potassium is important for regulating blood pressure, which can help prevent strokes and heart attacks.
- You also get good doses of folate, vitamin A and beta-carotene from avocados.
- Eating avocados is very satisfying, which makes them helpful for watching your weight.
Here are some of my newest recipes that feature avocados. The Guacamole and Cashew Dips are from my new book, The AGE BEAUTIFULLY Cookbook, which just won Gourmand’s ‘Best in the World’ Award for Innovation. With these delicious recipes, you won’t just benefit from this nutrient-dense food, but the other ingredients will help keep you feeling young and vibrant.
CASHEW AND AVOCADO DIP
This creamy dip is delicious on crackers or raw vegetables. If you thin it out with more water, you can use it as a dressing for salads or steamed vegetables.
Cashews and avocados both contain anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fats, which help nourish and hydrate the skin and protect the heart and brain. Ginger is also a potent anti-inflammatory.
1 cup cashews (raw or roasted)
1⁄3 cup water
1⁄4 cup avocado
3 Tbs. cilantro leaves
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. salt or salt substitute
1⁄2 tsp. minced or grated ginger
1⁄4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Place all the ingredients in a food processor bowl
and puree for 1–2 minutes or until smooth.
GUACAMOLE WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS
The idea for this combination comes from a very talented Mexican chef who owns an upscale
restaurant in Santa Barbara. The pomegranate seeds add a spectacular, tart crunch to this otherwise mild dip. I serve this dip with blue corn chips, which add a splash of color and are higher in antioxidants than yellow chips.
The anthocyanins in pomegranates have anti-inflammatory effects and have been linked to helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and cancer.
3 cups diced avocado (2 large avocados)
3 Tbs. fresh lemon or lime juice
Salt or salt substitute to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup pomegranate seeds (1 ripe pomegranate)
1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1⁄4 cup minced red onion
1 Tbs. minced jalapeῇo, seeded if desired
1. Mash the avocado, lemon or lime juice, salt,
2. Fold in the remaining ingredients. Serve with
Yield: 4 cups
Cool and satisfying, this could be a nutritious breakfast or lunch.
3 Tbs. cane sugar in raw liquid form
1 cup crushed ice
½ cup water
½ cup coconut milk. Light
1 cup avocados, meat only
Mix all ingredients in blender until thoroughly blended.
AVOCADO-CUCUMBER DIP AND DRESSING
I use roasted garlic in this recipe because raw garlic is too harsh. If you don’t have roasted garlic on hand, you can use garlic powder or bottled chopped garlic.
Both avocados and nuts contain monounsaturated fats, which help lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin K, which contributes to strong bones. They are also great natural hydrators, helping skin to stay fresh and youthful looking.
1⁄2 cup raw pine nuts
1⁄2 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber
1⁄4 cup chopped celery
1⁄2 cup avocado
1⁄4 cup chopped onion
1 Tbs. Italian parsley
1–2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 tsp. roasted garlic
1⁄2 tsp. sea salt
1. Soak the pine nuts in enough warm water to cover for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, whirl the cucumber, and celery 1-2 minutes until liquefied.
3. Add the pine nuts and blend 1–2 minutes.
4. Add the remaining ingredients and blend 1–2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Yield: 2 cups