Food of the week: Avocados

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 4.34.26 PMBy Shelby Carl
Calories: One cup, sliced: 234

High In: potassium, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C

Known throughout the centuries under a variety of different names, the avocado has been part of the diet of civilizations since the age of the Aztecs and Incans. According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources center, the avocado is a cultigen, or species cultivated so long ago that it’s exact ancestry is unknown.

The Aztecs called avocados “ahuacatl”, which changed once the conquistadores began to explore and document the areas in which avocados are grown. From the Aztec’s “ahuacatl”, the name morphed into “aguacate” and “alvacata”. George Washington even wrote about “agovago pears” he found in Barbados. It was not until 1696 that the naturalist Sir Hans Sloane coined the term “avocado” and it stuck.

Avocado consumption in the United States has been climbing since the 1990s, according to an article by Roberto A. Ferdman in The Washington Post. With the fruit’s various health benefits, it comes as no surprise.

Some might be daunted by the avocado’s high fat content, which accounts for three-fourths of the avocado’s calories. However, according to Medical News Today, the type of fat found in avocados is monounsaturated fat, which may lower one’s risk for heart disease and stroke and lower bad cholesterol. Avocados also contain 11 grams of fiber, or almost half of an adult’s daily recommended intake. Researchers are also looking into using avocados for disease prevention.

Avocados have been shown to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and improve diet quality as well as facilitate a lower Body Mass Index. They are also rich in phytochemicals, which some scientists believe may aid in the prevention of cancer.

Recipe of the Week: Raw, Vegan “Nutella” Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For the cupcake:

• 1 cup hazelnuts

• ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

• 2 cups (8 oz.) dates, pitted

• ¼ cup organic maple syrup

• 2 tsp vanilla

• ½ tsp cinnamon

For the filling:
• 1 ripe avocado
• ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• ¼ cup organic maple syrup
• ¼ cup coconut oil
• 2 tbsp hazelnuts, crushed (for topping)

INSTRUCTIONS
• Place hazelnuts and cocoa in a food processor and pulse. Add dates, syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon and pulse until everything is mixed.
• Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray (or use coconut oil).
• Evenly distribute the hazelnut mixture into the tins, making sure to press down on the bottoms and smooth out the sides either with a spatula or with your hands.
• Place tin in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, allowing the mixture to harden and take the “cupcake” shape.
• For the filling, smash an avocado in a bowl with a fork. Try to get most of the clumps out if you can.
• Add cocoa, syrup and coconut oil to the bowl and, using an electric mixer, mix everything together until smooth.
• Use a spoon to put chocolate mixture into the cupcakes.
• Lastly, crush hazelnuts and sprinkle on top of cupcakes.

Source: Thealmondeater.com

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