The avocado was once merely the safe and easy dinner-party starter. It’s quite hard to go wrong – just throw some prawns and a bit of marie-rose sauce over a half avocado and voilà! You have a great party-pleaser, albeit a slightly unimaginative one.
All that changed in 2017, when avocados became the healthinista flavour of the year. Especially when spread on toast. Still unimaginative, but hey.
Avocado on toast has truly become a thing. I wish I could tell you something really exciting about avocados, seeing as they are so great. But what’s to say? The avocado is a fruit (and toast is toast). It’s a lovely, filling, fatty fruit, making it quite a rare thing.
But it has no magic ingredients that will instantly make you slim, popular or immortal. However it does have just the sort of quality nutrients you’d expect from a plant food, the sort of thing we should all be eating, all the time. So here they are: vitamins C, E and K; folate and other B vitamins. The avocado is also positively loaded with potassium, the mineral that is so good for the cardiovascular system.
You’ll also get loads of soluble fibre, the sort that feeds friendly bacteria and helps keep blood pressure within range. Plus, the avocado is a good source of carotenoids – plant antioxidants. The ones you’ll find in the avocado are lutein and zeaxanthin, which are associated with healthy vision.
The avocado has a creamy, buttery flavour, thanks to its high levels of fat. It is about 75 per cent fat, which is quite something for a fruit. That fat is mainly monounsaturated, just like olive oil. Olive oil, as everyone knows, is famed for its beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, just like potassium.
In addition to all this nutrition, avocados taste great, and are exceptionally convenient. Originally from Mexico, this fatty fruit bulks out a salad, can be stuffed into a sandwich to improve its nutritional credentials, and takes seconds to prepare. It is also the main ingredient of the popular dip guacamole – see recipe below.
You get the picture. The avocado is highly nutritious. So eat avocados.
But please can we not get so excited about discovering yet another real food. The avocado is a typically nutritious plant food of the sort we should be eating all the time, and taking for granted, without creating a Twitter storm or launching a million blog sites. You can take any fruit or vegetable, put it under a microscope and find a vast array of quality nutrients, all known to be health-promoting. So just eat lots of them. And if avocado is your thing, go for it.
And if health is also your thing, leave out the toast and instead mix avocado with quality ingredients. This morning I chopped up some bacon with some mashed avocado, and called it breakfast. I added a few drops of red pepper sauce for some extra zing. It was great, and I’ll be doing that again quite regularly.
How to make guacamole
2 ripe avocados
1 finely chopped red onion
1 chopped tomato
1 clove garlic, crushed,
Chilli pepper, finely chopped, or drop of hot pepper sauce
Juice of a small lime
Handful of chopped coriander
Fresh ground black pepper
Mash all the ingredients together in a bowl.
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