Include an alligator pear, or two in your diet

Find out why avocados are so good for you.

Did you know that there are more than 80 varieties of avocado? The year round Hass avocado is the most common; it is also known as alligator egg due to its color, texture and shape.

Avocados are a powerhouse of nutrients. They are a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamins C and K, folate and B6. The avocado also has anti-inflammatory properties that have been well documented in arthritis cases. Avocados are one of the few plant foods that provide saturated fats. A serving of half an avocado provides 15 grams of unsaturated fat and two grams of saturated fat.

According to the California Avocado Commission (CAC), an avocado should be peeled like a banana due to the fact that most of the avocado’s nutrients and healthy properties are in the dark flesh that is right underneath the skin. The CAC recommends you cut the avocado in two halves that are connected by the seed. Twist both halves until they separate. Remove the seed then cut each half to produce four quartered sections. Peel the sections just like you peel a banana. This way you preserve the dark green flesh that’s full of antioxidants.

Choose slightly soft avocados with no dark and sunken spots. A firm avocado will ripen at room temperatures in a few days. To store a used avocado, sprinkle its surface with lemon juice and wrap in a plastic wrap or bag.

Besides the famous guacamole salad, you can add chunks of avocados to your salad, add to your bowl of broth-base soup or bean soup right before enjoying it, or even in baking, especially avocados that started browning. To use avocados in baking, use a one-to-one substitution ratio for butter or oil.

For more information about healthy eating, contact a Michigan State University Extension educator in your area.

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