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The scoop on avocados.

Emma Stirling
Emma Stirling APD

Do you love an avo? We do at GI News. Not that there is a huge GI story. In fact avocados are too low in carbohydrate to test for GI. We just adore their velvety texture, healthy fats and essential nutrients and all the fab ways you can add them to enhance your low GI meals throughout the day. Let’s take a look at some fresh research and show you clever ways to spread the love around.

Science scoop Avocados are a versatile, nutrient dense fruit, rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats, while naturally low in carbohydrate and sodium. Half an avocado can provide the average adult:

  • 5g of fibre (17% of adult fibre needs)
  • 36% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for folate
  • 31% of RDI for vitamin K
  • 24% of RDI for vitamin E
  • 15% of RDI for potassium

A recent literature review of avocados and health, in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, has found that the addition of avocados to the diet may have a positive effect on heart health and other lifestyle conditions such as weight management and healthy aging. The review concluded that eight preliminary clinical studies have consistently demonstrated positive cardiovascular benefits from avocado consumption. Avocados may help promote healthy blood lipid profiles and enhance the bio-availability of fat soluble vitamins and phytochemicals within the avocado or other fruits and vegetables, naturally low in fat, that are consumed with avocados.

Smarter spread
The obvious place to start is to make a smart switch and use avocados as a replacement for your regular spread. Even though you may only take “a little butter for your bread” evidence suggest that our intake of saturated fat is too high and smart switches made on a daily basis can add up to big, health benefits.

Keep it real The second place most people reach for an avo is for guacamole dip. With the Mexican cuisine craze taking over Australia we’ve sourced this authentic recipe just for you below. But why not push your culinary creativity?

Niki Segnit, author of The Flavour Thesaurus, writes passionately about their versatility: “No wonder it’s hard to stop grazing on avocados: they taste like grass and have the texture of butter. Delicate avocado goes well with other subtly flavoured ingredients, such as mozzarella and crustaceans; the later love the light anise note in avocado flesh”. Try avocado in the obvious salads, dips and canapés, but also experiment. How about in a green smoothie with kale or spinach? An iced, avo gazpacho? Or as a butter replacement in baking? We have two more recipes to tempt you further down.

Victor Pisapia’s authentic guacamole
‘Superb guacamole depends on perfectly ripe, flavourful ingredients. The black, bumpy-skinned Hass variety is preferred because of its rich flavour’ says Victor of Victor’s Foods, Sydney. Serves 10–12

4 avocados
½ red onion (finely diced)
1–2 jalapeño chillies, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
3 tbsp chopped coriander
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
salt to taste
1 tomato, diced

Cut the avocados in half and remove the seed. Scoop the avocado flesh out with a large spoon and place into a mixing bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork until a very chunky mash is formed. Add the onion, chillies, coriander and lime. Mix with a fork to keep chunky. Taste and add salt or more lime to taste. Garnish with the diced tomato and serve with:

  • toasted corn or flour tortilla chips
  • julienne vegetables or jicama sticks
  • burgers, your favourite sandwich or eggs such as Huevos Rancheros
  • quesadillas, poultry, seafood, fajitas and wraps
  • cooked prawns and pico de gallo.

Emma Stirling is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and health writer with over ten years experience writing for major publications. She is editor of The Scoop on Nutrition – a blog by expert dietitians. Check it out for hot news bites and a healthy serve of what’s in flavour.