Guacamole is a classic Game Day favorite, with the star ingredient being the avocado, of course.But there is a whole world of other possibilities for the avocado once you have mastered guacamole.The avocado is a "jack of all trades" -- you can use it in cooking, as a beauty supplement, and for its health benefits as well.This week, we havelarge California Grown Avocados on sale for 99 cents each. It's the perfect time to get to know this super-food and its many different uses.
Avocado and Your Health
It's amazing to see just how many ways that avocados are beneficial to your health. Avocados are healthy for your heart. Avocados contain a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. It is believed that regular consumption of beta-sitosterol help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Avocados are also great for your vision. They contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are two phytochemicals that are concentrated in the tissues of the eyes. They provide antioxidant protection to help minimize damage, including damage from ultraviolet light. The monounsaturated fats in avocados also support the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, which may help to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration. Some of the most abundant nutrients in avocados are Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Potassium and Vitamin E.Avocados also do not contain any trans fat, cholesterol or sodium, and are low in saturated fat.
Cooking with Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is edible oil that is pressed from the fruit of the avocado. Avocado oil is an excellent option for high heat cooking because it has a high smoke point. The smoke point for avocado oil ranges between 480 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Aside from sautéing with it, you can also use avocado oil as a substitute for canola oil when making mayonnaise, you can drizzle it over fish before roasting or baking, use it to top your bowl of fresh made guacamole, drizzle it over hummus, finish soup with it, or even substitute it for olive oil when making a salad dressing.
Another cool way to cook with avocado (using the fruit, not the oil), is to substitute it for butter in baking. You can substitute avocado for butter in a 1 to 1 ratio. However, it doesn't melt the same way as butter, so it will coat your dry ingredients differently. You need to increase your wet ingredients a little bit, and the easiest way to do this is to substitute avocado for half of the butter. To do this, scoop the avocado into a small bowl and mash it. Then, press it into a measuring cup and combine with the softened butter and you're ready to go. If you are doing the full 1 to 1 ratio you will want to lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees. Using this substitution will cut out a lot of the "bad fat" and replace it with the "good fat."
Avocado Oil and your Skin
Avocado oil isn't just for cooking; it is also hailed as an excellent source for skin and hair care. You might not realize that avocado oil is already present as an ingredient in many beauty products including baby products. Avocado oil enhances your skins ability to generate collagen by naturally triggering the production of it. The vitamins, minerals and healthy fats in avocado oil also help to moisturize your skin, help heal cracked skin and reduce inflammation. Believe it or not, avocado oil is also an excellent option for a hair conditioner or leave-in treatment for split ends. Simply cover your scalp with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the oil, and leave it wrapped in a towel for 20 minutes before shampooing as normal.
As you can see, you can do much more with avocados than make guacamole! Its benefits span cooking, health and beauty uses. Bravo avocado for being an amazing super-food!