Monday, January 7, 2008

Avocado: Another Look at it's Medicinal Virtues

The Avocado: Not for Sissies

Recently, I overheard a curmudgeonly man gripe to his wife that she had—gasp!—allowed the counter girl assembling his taco to add guacamole. “I don’t eat no green food!” he grumbled.

The avocado, like me, is an acquired taste just and often misunderstood. Balderdash! It’s brimming with the first-rate, healing, mono-saturated fats.

The Aztecs used the luscious avocado as an aphrodisiac. They called the avocado tree, "testicle tree." The Aztecs thought the fruit grown on 50 foot tree, hanging in pairs, resembled a male's testicles. In 19th-century sea-faring circles avocados were known as “midshipman’s butter,” because sailors spread them onto hardtack.

According to Eating Well Magazine, enough avocados are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday to cover the floor of an entire football field to a depth of nearly 12 feet.

In our home, they are served in slices with a touch of sweet Balsamic vinegar, fresh chopped garlic, sea salt and black pepper.

Throughout time, the avocado, a gift of the Universe, has not only been valued as a food rich in vitamin D and potassium, but for its medicinal and skin-soothing properties. Squishing mashed avocados into your hair might land you in the loony bin, but Prevention Magazine says this will add luster your hair.

Avocados contain 25 nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, vitamin E, vitamin D, fiber and unsaturated fats. The sodium-free orbs contain no trans-fats and are low in saturated fat. For health-conscious foodies, avocado oil is acknowledged as one of the healthiest of all food oils, with a high level of mono-unsaturated fat, the "good" kind that helps us to lower naughty cholesterol levels. When selecting, pick one the gives slightly to the touch and store at room temperature.

Avocados are outstanding sources of two beneficial antioxidants, beta-sotosterol and glutathione. Beta-sotosterol is a prescribed anti-cholesterol drug that interferes with cholesterol absorption.

Studies indicate glutathione can decrease risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer when it comes from fresh, raw produce. First Cold Press Extra Virgin Avocado or Coconut Oil will be the next “it” food ingredient. The avocado doesn’t begin to ripen until it is picked. Those found in grocery stores are either rock-hard or squishy as a sneaker full of mashed taters’. Place them inside a brown paper bag at room temperature for a few days until they respond to gentle pressure much like a peach. Ripe avocados can keep in the refrigerator for four to five days. Unripe avocados shouldn’t be chilled because they will never mature.

Peace, Love, and Understanding
Chef Wendell

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