Surprising good-for-you food: Avocados

2008-11-30 23:28:57 (GMT) (Caymanmama.com - Food News)

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Avocado - power food

San Antonio, Texas (CaymanMama.com) — Here in the south, you will hard pressed to find a person who doesn’t love to dive into a fresh bowl of guacamole or add a fews slices to a hamburger.

For years, health nuts have given avocados a bad rap due to their impressively high fat content. However, avocados pack quite a health food punch and will add a slew of vitamins and body essentials to any diet. After all, a little goes a long way.

The green fruits are one of the best sources for heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and contain active compounds that have been shown to prevent cancer.

In addition, this pear-shaped power food is virtually overflowing with antioxidants, including familiar disease-fighting compounds such as lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Avocados have been shown to help the body absorb phytochemicals from other foods too.

If your plan to serve a salad at dinner time, add a few slices of avocado. The lycopene in tomatoes or the beta-carotene in carrots will be better absorbed with even a small amount of avocado.

In fact, according to Healthy Living Magazine, scientists guess that the high fat content may aid the body in absorbing these antioxidants.

Enjoy this heart-healthy recipe using this surprising good-for-you food by Cooking Light.

Avocado-Tomatillo Dip with Cumin Pita - Courtesy of Cooking Light

“Tart tomatillos keep this dip a bright green and prevent the avocado from discoloring, even after a day or two in the refrigerator. Look for tomatillos in the produce section of most large supermarkets.”

Yield: 2 servings (serving size: about 2 1/2 tablespoons dip and 4 chips)

Ingredients

Chips:

• 3 (6-inch) pitas, split in half horizontally
• Cooking spray
• teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
• teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Dip:

• 1/2 pound tomatillos (about 5 large)
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
• teaspoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
• ripe peeled avocados, seeded and coarsely chopped

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare chips, coat rough side of each pita half with cooking spray; sprinkle pita halves evenly with cumin seeds, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cut each pita half into 8 wedges; arrange wedges in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

To prepare dip, discard husks and stems from tomatillos. Place tomatillos in a small saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Cool to room temperature. Place tomatillos, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Add sour cream and avocado; process until smooth. Serve with chips.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 106 (42% from fat)
Fat: 5g (sat 0.7g,mono 2.9g,poly 0.8g)
Protein: 2.6g
Carbohydrate: 13.9g
Fiber: 2.8g
Cholesterol: 1mg
Iron: 0.9mg
Sodium: 266mg
Calcium: 33mg

Maureen Callahan, Cooking Light, JANUARY 2006



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