Eating two or more servings of avocado every week reduces the risk of heart disease by a fifth, according to a new study from the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAMA).
The research, which looked at the diets of more than 110,000 people, found eating one of the green fruits a week (the equivalent of two servings) appears to slash the risks of coronary heart disease by 21 per cent compared to people who do not eat avocado.
Aside from being delicious, avocados also contain dietary fibre, healthy monounsaturated fats and other key vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and vitamins C, E, and K.
Dr Lorena Pacheco, lead author from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, says: “Our study provides further evidence that the intake of plant-sourced unsaturated fats can improve diet quality and is an important component in cardiovascular disease prevention.”
Here are eight ways to get more avocado – without a slice of toast in sight.
1. In your favourite green smoothie bowl
Smoothie bowls may be less trendy now than they were five years ago, but they still remain a popular breakfast option, particularly in the spring and summer. Adding avocado to your blender will help you thicken your bowl, particularly if you also use frozen bananas. Mix blueberries, spinach and raspberries for a sweet and tangy start to the day.
2. As a tasty guacamole
Guacamole has its roots in Central America. In Mexico, avocados grow in abundance, and the Aztecs were said to eat it combined with spices. These days, the tasty dip is more often used to top popular Tex Mex dishes such as enchiladas and nachos.
However, if made simply and fresh at home (by mashing up ripe avocados with garlic, lime, black pepper and chillies) guacamole with tortilla chips or crudités makes an excellent snack and is an easy way to get those vital vitamins in.
3. In a creamy pasta sauce
Want a creamy pasta without the cream? Adding avocado to a blender with tasty ingredients such as basil, chilli, lemon juice and black pepper, and combining until a creamy sauce will make an easy topping for your pasta of choice. Add a little bit of Grana Padano and you have a quick and healthy midweek meal.
4. In a chocolate mousse
You read that right. Avocado makes a great substitute for eggs in a vegan chocolate mousse – which can make an indulgent pudding vegan. You can’t taste the avocado when it is paired with high cocoa dark chocolate and some of your favourite dairy-free milk. This dessert is a lush final course for a dinner party and can be made in less than 10 minutes, because it turns out that avocados and blenders go hand in hand.
5. Stuff them
You may be used to stuffing a capsicum, a sweet potato or a mushroom, but you can also stuff an avocado. Take out the stone (carefully – apparently injuries from removing them are on the rise), and add couscous, rice, beans, cheese, cooked prawns, whatever you like.
5. In banana muffins
Because it’s high in fat, thick and creamy, avocado is a great addition to a muffin, particularly with banana. It’ll make an excellent breakfast or snack and paired with chocolate chips is a sure-fire hit with kids and grown ups alike. No need for butter and oil, the avocado is doing all the work.
7. Bake them
A great alternative brunch to the usual avocado toast (delicious but becoming rather overdone). Take the stone out of your avocado, crack an egg in the hole, top with cheese or herbs and bake it. This will be delicious with a hollandaise sauce and some sourdough or a zesty Pico de Gallo (Mexican tomato salsa).
8. Drink them
In the 19th century, French colonisers brought the avocado to Thailand and it can be seen on menus now in a very sweet capacity. Sinh Tố Bơ is a cold drink, much like a milkshake, made with condensed milk, coconut milk and ice. It has a beautiful green colour, milkshake-like texture and a nutty taste. The name translates to ‘butter fruit smoothie’ and is a very accurate description.
Avocados can be expensive, but keep an eye out for when they are on special. Even if they’re very ripe, they’re perfect to throw in the blender.
What’s your favourite way to eat avocado? How often do you eat them? Let us know in the comments section below.
– With PA