Friday, January 29, 2016

Fruit or vegetable? Avocados and the amazing health benefits

By: Ron Valderrama/Tragically Hip Living

Photo: Google Free Images
I have often wondered, is the avocado a fruit or vegetable? Well, according to it's a fruit and grown on a tree. The origin of the avocado can be traced back to Mexico and Central America, much of our supply comes from here. Most avocados in the United States are grown in the mild climate of Southern California and produces some of the best avocados for a short few months. The nutritional value of the avocado are many, this little guy is loaded with vitamin B1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9, vitamin C, E and K. It also contains Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Sodium, and Zinc. Oh yeah, among many other benefits, it also has more potassium than a banana. 

Photo: Google Free Images
I have never been much for eating enough fruit's or vegetables partly because I can never tell if they are ripe, but as you get older we tend to re-think our health strategy. I used to like avocados when I was younger, then for some reason I stopped eating them. As we age, we tend to gain wisdom and know by experience the difference between right and wrong. Does this mean we have to stop having fun? Absolutely not, I don't think I will ever truly grow up, I will always be a man-boy traveling my own path, probably sticking my finger in places I shouldn't, and doing so just to say I have done that. Pretty sure I will never change, wearing two different socks, maybe just one sock, that's just who I am.

We must also use our wisdom gained over the years and adjust with age. I have decided to start eating avocados again, try new recipes that contain avocados and track how I feel, and see if the benefits really make a difference in my life. 

My plan is to buy organic, sure it cost more, but the benefit saves you more health-wise in the long run. I will be exploring organic farms and hitting some farmer's markets in my area, as well when traveling too. Food production has changed for us, engineering crops to grow at a faster pace and with no regard to health. But let's not get into that right now, that's another story for another time. What we can do is choose organic and choose local, learn where our food comes from and what measures are taken to deliver the safest crop possible.

Photo: Google Free Images
But how do we know when an avocado is ripe? Here is how:

Light green: Very firm, ready in about 5 days.

Medium green: Firm, ready in about 3 days.

Turning dark: Somewhat firm, ready in about a day.

Pre-ripe: Somewhat soft, ready for slicing.
Dark-ripe: Soft and ready to eat.

Avocados should be stored in the refrigerator, cut avocados will turn brown or oxidize if left unprotected. This is due to breaking the cellular walls which cause oxidation to occur, it can be prevented by adding an acidic agent like lemon or lime juice. Covering in plastic wrap or an airtight container in the refrigerator is essential for this delicate fruit.

Until next time, have a tragically hip day!

Ron Valderrama can be reached by email:

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