Featured “Vegetable”: Avocado

Superfood to the Rescue
You may ask, “How can a fatty fruit be a good thing?” Chances are if you skim a list of superfoods, avocados will hold a coveted spot. Explore how this remarkable fruit (though frequently thought of as a vegetable) can act like a superhero in your body!

An Alligator Pear
The avocado is native to south-central America and dates back to sometime between 7,000-5,000 B.C. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that avocado trees from Mexico were planted and harvested in California. Avocados are also referred to as alligator pears because they are shaped like pears and covered in a skin that resembles the color and texture of a gator. Today, California produces about 90% of the nation’s avocado crop (most of which is the Hass variety) and another unique quality - they are grown year-round.1

Avocados Get A+ in Recent Study
A recent study found “avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in adults”. In addition, avocado consumers ate more vegetables, fruit, unsaturated fats, dietary fiber, vitamins E, K, magnesium and potassium. They also consumed less added sugar.2

Avocados Just About Have It All – Especially Good-for-You Fat
So what’s so great about avocados? Hmm… everything! Avocados are a source of nearly 20 beneficial nutrients. One half cup of sliced avocado is a little more than 100 calories, about 10 grams of fat (7 grams of monounsaturated fat), and just shy of 5 grams of fiber. Some key nutrients include: potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and phytochemicals.

What makes avocados health power players?

  • Monounsaturated fats are the heart healthy fats that can help lower cholesterol levels and also contain vitamin E. Many Americans could use more of this antioxidant.
  • Fiber can aid in digestion and help you feel full.
  • Avocados are a good source of lutein, which acts as an antioxidant and may provide additional health benefits.
  • Avocados are team players. When consumed with other foods, they can help our bodies absorb more fat-soluble nutrients like lutein and carotenes found in those other foods.
  • Compared to other fruits, avocados are lower in sugar.

Pick & Prepare Avocados – Become an Instant Pro
A ripe avocado won’t be too hard or too soft, but will have a subtle give when pressed gently. To help speed up the ripening process, store an avocado in a brown paper bag on your counter for a day or two until it is ripe. Check out this video for more information.
How Do I… Pick an Avocado?

Do you avoid buying avocados because you don’t know how to prepare them? Well, it’s actually easier than you think. This quick video will show you how.
How Do I… Cut an Avocado?

A Food for All Ages & All Meals
It’s true, you can add avocados to just about anything. Avocados can provide a tremendous nutritional boost for people of all ages, particularly the very young and the elderly. The smooth creamy texture provides a desirable mouth feel, is easy to swallow and tastes delicious. It pairs well with many other foods and provides an instant calorie boost – but with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Avocados can boost your breakfast and start your day off right. Try these delicious recipes from the California Avocado Commission. Browse Campbell’s KitchenSM, select some scrumptious recipes, and enjoy avocado in your next delectable dip, salad, sandwich and even soup!

1http://www.californiaavocado.com California Avocado Commission – Fun Avocado Facts. Accessed April 8th, 2013.

2http://www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/1 Fulgoni, Victor L., Mark Dreher, and Adrienne J. Davenport. “Avocado Consumption Is Associated with Better Diet Quality and Nutrient Intake, and Lower Metabolic Syndrome Risk in US Adults: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001–2008.” Accessed April 6th, 2013.

 

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V8 V-Fusion® Green Smoothie

Yield: 4 cups
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup V8 V-Fusion® Strawberry Banana Juice
  • 1 ea avocado
  • 1 cup kale, shredded
  • 1 ea green apple
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 1 ea lime juice
  • 1 ea lime zest

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until very smooth.

Nutrition Information: 160 Calories, 8g Fat, 1.6g Saturated Fat, 4g Monounsaturated Fat, 1.4g Polyunsaturated Fat, 27mg Sodium, 480 mg Potassium, 23g Carbohydrate, 6g Fiber, 13g Sugar, 2.5g Protein, 70% Vitamin A, 90% Vitamin C, 4% Calcium, 5% Iron