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The True Beauty of Avocados

The True Beauty of Avocados

Recipes — By admin on February 18, 2011 1:37 am

The nutritious avocado is commonly cited for being high in fat, and is therefore is considered an automatic no-no when trying to lose weight.  Nutritionists have said that one way to boost the fat burning element of the metabolism is to eat foods containing the amino acid called L-carnitine.  This hormone is found in the liver and helps to metabolize fat and promote fat loss.  And although L-carnitine can be taken as a supplement, digesting a whole food has additional nutritional benefits.  The mono-unsaturated fat in avocados, which are naturally high in L-carnitine, have been shown to lower cholesterol, a hormone that stores abdominal fat.  Therefore, lower your cholesterol and lower your belly fat!

Aside from being a good source of L-carnitine, avocados are packed with magnesium and potassium.  There is some thought that belly fat is decreased because potassium is a natural diuretic, and we can include pantothenic acid, also a component in avocados, that has been shown to reduce stress and lessen the belly-fat producing effects of the sterol called cortisol.

With all the current interest about locally grown products, it’s good to know that both California and Florida have thriving avocado businesses.  Those lucky enough to live near these perennial sunshine states might be lucky enough to have an avocado tree growing in the backyard. If you have to rely on markets, as most of us do, look for fruit that gives to a gentle pressure.  If it’s too hard, the fruit is not ripe, and if too soft, it will be mushy and slightly bitter.  It would be better to by an unripe avocado and take it home for some ripening.  Keep it in a paper bag in a dark cupboard or drawer, and it should be ready in 4 to 5 days.

Historical  studies have revealed that ancient Aztecs made a paste of avocados, chilies, tomatoes, onions and spices, the forerunner of today’s guacamole.  These same studies indicate that avocados were considered aphrodisiacs – while we can’t prove this is so, what’s to stop you from your own “scientific” study?  Think about it at your next happy hour when you order that bowl of chips with the guacamole – better slow down on the margaritas!

Guacamole Fresca

4 large ripe avocados, peeled and pitted

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 green chili, such as serrano, jalapeno or habanero, seeded and finely chopped

1 medium tomato, seeded and diced

1 small (4 ounce) sweet onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Hot pepper sauce to taste

Cut each avocado in half lengthwise and remove the large pit.  Scoop out the flesh with a large spoon.  Add the lemon juice and lightly mash the avocado pulp with a fork.  Season the mix with the sea salt, black pepper and ground cumin.  Stir in the onion, tomato and the chili.  Continue to mash the mixture until the ingredients are well combined.  It can still be a little chunky – it doesn’t have to look like a puree.  Lastly, add the chopped cilantro and season with the hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula, unless you don’t like the spicy heat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it’s ready to use.

Avocados will begin to oxidize as soon as they are cut open.  The dark color is harmless and can be eliminated by mixing it in with the guacamole.  Tradition says that guacamole will not darken if it is refrigerated with the pit plopped down in the  middle.  Give it a try – it might work!

Now that you are doing something nice for your metabolism, don’t undo it all with calorie-laden potato or tortilla chips.  Try this low-fat quickie method for crispy guilt-free chips.

Oven Baked Pita Chips

1 package (6 each) whole wheat pita bread

Sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Separate the 2 sides of a pita pocket, then cut both sides into wedges.  One pita bread should yield 16 chips.  Arrange the chips on an ungreased baking pan and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake in the hot oven for about 15 minutes, then let them finish crisping on the hot  baking pan.  Bake as many of the pita chips as you desire – once baked, they will keep in an airtight container for about 1 day.  Serve with fresh guacamole.