Chef Jet's quick tips on avocados and avocado toast Posted on 14 Apr 10:37 , 20 comments
Handy tips on slicing up an avocado and a wonderful avocado toast recipe. Thanks, Chef Jet!
Handy tips on slicing up an avocado and a wonderful avocado toast recipe. Thanks, Chef Jet!
Photo courtesy of Food & Function.
New findings of the important link between inflammation and disease continue to be uncovered by researchers. Chronic inflammation is known to increase your risk of arthritis, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and many other diseases. Fortunately, you have a great deal of control over your disease risk. The most important decisions you make are in the kitchen and at the dinner table.
Certain foods are more likely to contribute to the inflammation that can lead to disease. Processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and grilled meats all raise a protein - Interleukin-6 (IL-6) - that is a marker of inflammation. Maintaining consistently high levels of this inflammatory protein is associated with disease risk.
According to research by University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) scientists published in Food and Function, blood levels of IL-6 rise within about four hours after consuming foods that cause this inflammatory response.
The Positive Role of Avocado
Just as certain foods can increase inflammatory IL-6 protein levels, others can help reduce it. During the aforementioned UCLA study, two groups of participants were created. All participants were males between the ages of 18 and 35.
The first group ate a grilled hamburger made of 90 percent lean beef. The second group ate the same grilled burger but also ate half of a medium-sized avocado. The burger-only group experienced a spike in IL-6 levels by 70 percent, elevated triglycerides, and a 27 percent decrease in peripheral blood. The elevated triglycerides and reduced peripheral blood flow are both significant factors in causing heart attack or stroke.
Fortunately, the findings in the avocado group were dramatically better. When the participants ate half of an avocado along with the hamburger, their IL-6 levels rose by only 40 percent. Furthermore, there was virtually no decrease in the peripheral blood flow.
Dr. David Heber, MD, PhD, the study’s lead researcher, said, “This study supports the hypothesis that fresh Hass avocado, may help support normal vascular function, which is important for heart health. After eating a burger with one-half of a fresh medium Hass avocado, some of the after-meal effects observed after eating the plain burger, specifically inflammation and narrowing blood vessels, were reduced within hours, and triglycerides did not increase beyond what was observed after eating the burger alone.”
Putting It into Practice
We know that a healthy diet is about balance. It can be difficult, and sometimes unrealistic, to stay on course with a restrictive diet. A great alternative is to add healthy foods, such as avocados, to the diet creating a more holistic picture of total nutrition and wellness. More emphasis should be placed on what we add to a healthy diet than what we take away.
Incorporating avocado in your diet is beneficial for many reasons. The naturally high antioxidant levels found in this fruit is believed to be the driver of the anti-inflammatory response after consuming a food that contains high levels of the negative IL-6 proteins. The effect on triglycerides shows that after consuming a burger alone, the arteries are more constricted, but the addition of avocado keeps blood vessels open and allows blood to flow freely throughout. We may even be able to point to the good fats in avocado as the reason for the beneficial effects on blood vessels.
Nutritional research continues to highlight the positive benefits of avocado in particular. In addition to the anti-inflammatory properties, the high fat content in avocado turns out to have very protective effects and may help the body to better absorb nutrients from other foods and to reduce the inflammation associated with eating certain foods. Next time you feel like having a burger, you don’t have to say no – just be sure to enjoy it with a side of avocado.
Is there anything tastier or more diverse than the avocado? We may be biased here at AvocadoOrganic, but the avocado is truly a workhorse in the kitchen, jumping from smoothies to salads while providing tons of nutrients along the way.
The benefits of adding avocados to your diet are well known. The flesh of an avocado is full of vitamins, including K and C, and provides more potassium than a banana. The seeds, however, are often either tossed in the bin or used to grow a new avocado plant. But did you know that the avocado seed is every bit as nutrient rich as the flesh?
Nutrients in Avocado Seeds
Usually discarded, the avocado seed actually contains higher amounts of antioxidants than the flesh, as much as 70% of the avocado's total antioxidant potential! Antioxidants, such as those found in the humble avocado seed, help rid your body of free radicals and can help prevent some cancers, strengthen your immune system, and delay the effects aging can have on the brain.
In a 2013 study by Pennsylvania State University, it was found that avocado seeds may improve high cholesterol and help in the treatment of hypertension and even diabetes. The same 2013 study also reveals that avocado seeds help reduce inflammation with the help of procyanidins and catechins, the same antioxidant found in green tea. Excessive amounts of inflammation within the body can lead to joint pain, swelling, and reduced mobility.
Organic avocado seeds are also a great food for adding more fiber to your diet. In an interview, Dr. Tom Wu, winner of the American Cancer Society’s “Remarkable Contribution Award”, shares why he uses the whole avocado in his smoothies:
“[The avocado seed is] also the highest in soluble fiber. This soluble fiber binds to the fat and excess cholesterol. We can improve the blood circulation by pulling out all the fatty deposits in our circulatory system with the soluble fiber of the avocado seed. Soluble fiber is very hard to get in our diet. Oatmeal has some, but it cannot compare with the avocado seed. Any heart disease patient must eat the avocado including the seed.”
Given what we now know about the benefits of avocado seeds, is it any wonder that avocados seeds are being touted as the new superfood on the block by health and wellness foodies?
How to Prepare Avocado Seeds
Ok, but how do I eat it? At least that's what I asked when I first learned of the benefits hidden within the seed. Anyone who has tried to use toothpicks and a glass of water to grow an avocado plant from the seed knows that avocado seeds are quite firm. That said, the easiest way to prepare the seed is to carefully whack the seed with a heavy knife. A fresh seed should still be soft enough to be cracked in half and then chopped into smaller bite sized pieces with a kitchen knife.
Another method is to dry out the seed by placing it on a windowsill or in a dehydrator. Once dried, the seed can be grated with a micro plane or a cheese grater and used as a topping for salads or oatmeal.
Avocado Seed Recipes
Avocado seeds have a high amount of tannins that give them a bitter taste and are best used in recipes that can mask the bitterness. The most common way to mask the bitterness is to add half of the seed to a smoothie. Powerful blenders are strong enough to handle the whole half, but if you have and older or less powerful blender I recommend chopping the seed into smaller pieces before incorporating it into your smoothie.
To start off you could try our favorite organic avocado seed smoothie recipe:
1 cup frozen blueberries
½ cup frozen blackberries
1 ripe banana, peeled
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 half of an organic avocado, peeled
1 half an organic avocado seed, chopped
¾ cup of water
Toss everything into the blender and pulse until smooth. If the smoothie is too thick, just add a small amount of water until preferred consistency is achieved. Remember, if you have a weaker or old blender try chopping up the avocado seed before blending.
Since learning that avocado seeds are full of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins I have started to save the seeds that I used to toss in the trash. Do you think you will try a California avocado seed in your next smoothie? Let us know!
The combination of pomegranate seeds and organic avocado not only looks interesting but also tastes incredible. The rich and creamy texture of the guacamole mixed with the crunch of the walnuts and the juicy bites of the pomegranate seeds will make you wish you made more! This easy recipe is inspired by Puesto, a restaurant in downtown San Diego, CA.
-1 lime, juiced
-1 tomato, diced
-1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
-1/3 cup of walnuts
-1/2-1 jalapeno, finely diced
-salt and pepper to taste
Peel and moderately mash avocados. Lightly stir in lime juice, and tomato. Add salt, pepper, and jalapeno to taste. Once the taste is to your preference, lightly stir in pomegranate seeds and walnuts.
image courtesy of Forks and Beans.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner... and you know what that means: overeating and mind numbing amounts of leftovers for days. While avocados aren't a part of the traditional Thanksgiving day menu, you'll be thankful to have some avocados lying around to spice up your leftover life and to get your healthy lifestyle back on track. Have some avocados on hand so that you don't get to the point that you feel winded every time you head back to the kitchen and start thinking, "I'm pretty sure I'm just sweating gravy now."