The Elixir – Uptown Soul Food: Avocados

BY Eileen Z. Fuentes (@theSPEACHgal)

My first SOUL food article was such a hit that I am super excited to feature another of many more articles in this series. My aim is to get you more familiarized with the foods that are available in our neighborhood and more importantly to encourage you to go out and actually eat them! But first, for those of you who may not know what SOUL food is, let me start by defining that… It stands for foods that are;

Seasonal, Organic, Unprocessed, and Local.

Avocadoes are one of the most satisfying, nutritious superfoods that Mother Earth has blessed us with. Could you believe that some people are afraid of this amazing fruit (yes fruit) because of its high calorie content? These poor souls are truly missing out on one of life’s grandest gifts. Avocadoes are considered a complete food because they supply potassium, magnesium, vitamins, protein, starch, fiber and very-good-for-you fat…the monounsaturated kind that has the power to protect your heart and lower your cholesterol. And contrary to popular belief, avocadoes can actually aid in weight loss as the body prefers to burn monounsaturated fat when exercising over the saturated kind found in meat and dairy. It can also help your body absorb other nutrients more efficiently. If that is not enough, emerging research indicates that eating avocadoes supports brain health and function.

Selecting avocadoes is easy. There is really no need to select the organic version as this fabulous fruit is #2 on the clean fifteen, meaning it is less likely to test positive for pesticide residue. Like many Uptown inhabitants, the avocado is native to the Caribbean, Mexican and South/Central America, so you can easily get them anytime beginning in the spring through early fall. When buying avocadoes, you should go for those that are free of dark spots or cracks. It should yield slightly to the touch when pressed but should maintain some firmness. You can also take off the stem for more clues. If it is green underneath, the avocado is ripe. If it’s brown, it’s not. If you happen to get them before they are ready to eat, just place it in a paper bag on your counter until it ripens. When all else fails, just ask the person selling it to pick one for you until you learn to do this yourself.

There are so many things you could do with avocadoes from a basic salad to using it as a spread on your sandwich instead of butter or mayo. You can also top your soup with it or blend it with a couple of other ingredients it to make a homemade creamy dressing. I personally love love love guacamole and if you want some great recipes, click here. Rick Bayless is the world’s greatest guacamole guru hands down. For those of you who still aren’t convinced that you should run out and eat an avocado right now, here is some targeted advice.

*Men: Protect your goods…avocado is a potent prostate protector as it inhibits the growth of cancer cells specifically in this precious body part. Here’s a fun fact: The avocado had an ancient reputation for increasing sexual prowess. The Aztecs, whose name for the avocado was ahuacatl, which means testicle, used the ahhhhh-vocado as a sex stimulant and believed so deeply in its sexual nutrients that virgin women were forbidden to leave their houses during avocado harvest days. Click here for more trivia on this topic.

*Ladies: Did you know you could get your sexy on with avocadoes? In one word, YES! There is probably nothing else that moisturizes and nourishes your hair (and skin) like homemade avocado conditioner. Some of you may already know that a mashed ripe avocado, mayonnaise, olive oil, honey and an egg (vegans can substitute mayo for coconut milk and omit the egg/honey) can turn your hair from dry and brittle to shiny and supple. And note, leftovers can be frozen for later use or rubbed on your feet for an at-home pedicure.

*Parents: Sneaking health into our children’s bellies has never been easier! Start introducing the avocado to your kid’s diet right away. Avocadoes make an excellent baby food when pureed with other vegetables. As your kids grow, you can sneak it into their food, which is easy because of its creamy texture. Add it to a fruit smoothie and its consistency will be very similar to ice cream. They will have no idea.

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