Avocado is the one fruit that’s created quite a hype for itself in these past years. This is because it’s extremely beneficial health-wise and also very accessible throughout the world.
An Overview of the Avocado
Avocado, otherwise known as alligator pear, is a fruit with a yellowish-green flesh that has a rich and creamy texture on the inside. The consistency is quite buttery, with a nutty taste, making it delicious as both a dessert and an ingredient to be added to several food dishes.
The fruit originated in Mexico and has since spread all throughout the world, offering now hundreds of different varieties. It’s actually the main ingredient in guacamole, a popular Mexican dish that quickly developed an international reputation as well. The fruit itself can vary tremendously in size and weight, depending on the geographical location where it’s cultivated. The fruit itself is scientifically considered to be a berry and it has one single large seed.
What’s In An Avocado?
Avocados are truly some of nature’s most impressive fruits when it comes to the nutritional value they pack in. The combination of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein are just enough to boost any immune system and prevent health conditions from occurring.
Let’s take a closer look at what an avocado really contains to get a better picture why this fruit is so well loved everywhere in the world:
- Vitamin K1
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
Health Benefits of Avocados
As mentioned before, avocados are a gem in today’s world, considering they pack in so much nutritional value that sometimes profusely lacks from our diet. Avocados are also antioxidant superfruits, making them truly irresistible for anyone looking to improve their health and lifestyle.
Scientific research shows that regularly eating avocado may have a considerably positive impact on your heart’s health, since it may reduce bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
It’s also been shown that avocados may reduce the painful symptoms of arthritis, especially in the knee and hip. This condition is responsible for the slow deterioration of your cartilages, which is often a pretty painful process.
The antioxidants that avocados contain are also an excellent help against the macular degenerative process that takes place when we age. This means your eye health will also be protected when eating avocados.
Avocados also contain plenty of fiber, which plays an important part in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fiber also gives you a feeling of satiety, which means you won’t feel the need to indulge in extra snacks, thus helping maintain your weight in check.
Protein – Avocado’s Best Kept Secret
However one of the most appreciated qualities in avocados stem from their high content of protein. An entire avocado provides about 4 grams of protein. Having said this, it’s important to note that protein is found in our hair and nails, it’s responsible for building and repairing tissue. Apart from this, it also plays an important part in building enzymes and hormones in your body. The protein in avocado is just as useful and powerful as it is in other foods as well.
Seeing that avocados are so rich in protein, the question naturally comes to mind: what are some ways to get protein from your avocado? Let’s take a look at three tasty ways in which you can do that.
How to Enjoy Avocado and Benefit from Its Protein Content
As with any other fruits, the best way to get the most nutritional value from your avocado is to consume it in its raw form. This is why we’ll start the list with an avocado protein smoothie, one of the most popular ways to enjoy avocado, together with guacamole, avocado sandwiches and soups. Avocado protein shake recipes are some of the most popular and sought after recipes when it comes to avocados.
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Avocado Protein Shake by
- 1 large frozen banana
- 1/4 – 1/2 medium ripe avocado
- 1 scoop plain or vanilla protein powder
- 1 large handful greens of choice (spinach, kale, rainbow chard)
- 3/4 – 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
- 1 Tbsp seed of choice (hemp, flax, sesame, sunflower, chia, etc.)
- 1/2 tsp adaptogen of choice (maca, ashwagandha, etc.)
- 1/2 cup sliced frozen (or fresh) cucumber or berries (organic when possible)
- Add your avocado, frozen banana, protein powder, greens and dairy-free milk to the high-speed blender. This is also the right time to add anything else you’d like from the list above.
- Blend until the consistency is rich and creamy, while also scraping down the walls of the blender as needed. If the consistency is too thin, then add more avocados or bananas. If it’s too thick, then add a bit more milk to your composition.
- Taste your mix and see if it needs more bananas for sweetness, greens for the exquisite color or avocado for extra creaminess.
- Divide it all into serving glasses and enjoy it fresh. You can also leave it covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours or for up to 2 weeks in the freezer.
You can mix up the elements in your avocado protein shakes, as anything is allowed and it only depends on your personal taste. This avocado protein shake recipe is as classic as it gets, but if you feel like experimenting you can further with the ingredients you add into your mixture.
Avocado Protein Pudding
If you haven’t tried it before, then now is the time to indulge in a delicious avocado protein pudding by following this recipe from BodyBuilding.com. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1 avocado
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 2 date, pitted medjool dates
- Chocolate protein powder
- ⅛ cup cashew milk
What you need to do first is to mash up your avocado really well, until the consistency is creamy and soft. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate protein powder to the composition. Add dates to this composition, as well as a splash of non-dairy milk. Pour in a bowl, let it rest for a little while and enjoy your delicious avocado protein pudding.
Another way to enjoy your avocado and get the most of its protein content is to include it in a salad. Avocado’s nutty taste and rich texture blends in with pretty much anything you can think of, so there are really endless salad recipes you can try. It all comes down to your willingness to experiment and discover what works for you in terms of taste and nutritional value. Let’s start with this one salad recipe created by Geraldine from Green Valley Kitchen.
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped tomatoes
- 1 cucumber – peeled and seeded then diced
- 1 avocado – diced
- 2 tbs minced red onion
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar
- 1 handful parsley – minced – about 2 tbs
- 4 oz feta cheese – cubed
- 2 tbs olive oil – or avocado oil
- 8 twists of black pepper from a pepper mill
What you need to do first is to carefully dice your tomatoes – or cut them in half if you’re using the cherry variety. Then peel, seed and dice a cucumber that you can add into a bowl, together with the tomatoes. Remove the pit from your avocado, dice out the fruit and scoop out the content straight into the bowl.
Now you can also add the cubes of feta cheese into the mix, after which you can also add in the minced red onion and the minced parsley to the composition. Mix the vinegar, olive oil and black pepper together and then add them to your salad. Toss your avocado salad gently, so your avocado and feta don’t break up and serve immediately.
If you’re not planning to eat the salad straight away, make sure you add the avocado last, since it doesn’t refrigerate that well. If you’re adding protein powder to any of these recipes, be sure that you’ll notice a boost in your energy levels as well.
How to Store Your Avocados
As filled as they are with nutrients and easy to prepare, they also need to be stored properly in order for you to benefit from their riches. Avocados are pretty perishable fruit and they will quickly go bad if you don’t follow proper storing instructions.
If you’ve picked avocados that are already ripe, you should know that you can only keep them for one or two more extra days tops, at room temperature. So you can leave them on the kitchen counter, while also keeping in mind that you need to get back to them quickly.
You can establish their level of ripeness by assessing how firm their skin is – if it’s pretty firm, they still need some time to ripen, but if it’s rather soft, then it means they’re good to go. If however you’ve picked a firm avocado, then you can refrigerate it, uncut, for up to 1-2 weeks. This time frame will vary depending on the level of ripeness and the temperature you’ll store your avocados at. If you’re planning to use them in sandwiches or soups, they will need a little less time than they would if you were using them in a guacamole dish.
If you have sliced an avocado, and need to store it, there are a few options available:
For extra fun, you can also try growing an avocado tree:
In the end, we all need to improve on our diets and our nutritional intake – avocados really are great allies in this journey. Their mineral, vitamin and, most of all, their protein content will help build a stronger immune system, while also preventing unpleasant health conditions down the road. The protein in avocados certainly sets them apart from a great majority of other fruits.
Avocados can be found pretty much anywhere across the world and will often play well with your budget, as well. They are versatile and can be consumed in a wide variety of ways, but keep in mind that raw avocados are the most nutritious way in which you can possibly enjoy them. Follow the recipes above and enjoy everything these delicious antioxidant fruits have to offer.