The Alligator Pear – or How to Love an Avocado
Fun fact: The avocado was at one time called an “alligator pear” for its dark, rough skin.
Another fun fact: Later, sailors began using the creamy insides of the avocado as a kind of topping on biscuits called “midshipman’s butter.”
Regardless of what you choose to call it, there’s no doubt that the avocado is an awesome addition to any meal.
So What is an Avocado?
It seems like a silly question, right? But it’s an interesting one, nonetheless.
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An avocado is a fruit, and more specifically a berry. It’s one of the few fruits (along with olives and coconuts) that has a lot of fat, rather than just a lot of sugar.
The avocado is native to Central and South America, but within the United States, California is the primary producer. Because of its high fat content, avocado is often used as a meat substitute in salads, and of course we all know just how important this green guy is in guacamole! But what makes avocado so great?
The Health Benefits of Avocados
1. Studies have shown that having a hearty serving of avocado reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome, a general term encompassing a group of symptoms that increase your risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and diabetes. By reducing inflammation in your body, avocadoes ensure that your organs and tissues get adequate blood flow and do their jobs the way they’re supposed to.
2. Avocadoes contain phytochemicals that, individually or in combination, may help prevent cancer. Research into these potential anti-cancer antioxidants shows that the compounds inside avocadoes help the body to replicate cells the way it should. Since incorrectly replicated cells lead to cancer, making sure that the cells reproduce the right way goes a long way in stopping cancer!
3. Across the board, avocados have a variety of micronutrients (vitamins C, K, B6, etc.) and a lot of healthy monounsaturated fat.
4 Awesome Avocado Hacks
1. Mash an avocado into a paste and apply it straight to the skin to treat sunburn and prevent blistering and scaling. But if you don’t have a sunburn, don’t worry! Throw some avocado on anyway to see smooth, moisturized skin.
2. Toss some avocado, egg, and olive oil together and slather it on your head to repair damaged or dry hair. Apparently (I haven’t tried it), regular use of avocado as a hair product can speed hair growth and treat hair loss. The ancient Egyptians used avocado for this purpose.
3. If you’re in a pinch, you can use avocado as a butter substitute in recipes. The ratio is a simple 1:1, but there are some other things you may want to keep in mind if you choose to go this route.
4. Got a great avocado recipe but can’t make it because your avos aren’t ripe yet? Stick them in a bag with an apple or a banana to speed up their ripening! The gases from the ripe apples and bananas encourage the avocadoes to continue maturing quickly.
Whether you choose to eat your avocado or to mash it up and turn it into something awesome, it’ll do your body good no matter what.
3 Recipes Using Avocados
So get creative and see what sorts of things you can do with a little of this creamy green goodness!
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