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Avocados were first cultivated in South America with later migration to Mexico. It was believed that a Mayan princess ate the very first avocado and that it held mystical and magical powers. European sailors traveling to the New World used avocados as their form of butter. Avocados were first seen in the United States in the early 1800's. California is currently the largest producer of avocados stateside. There are more than 80 varieties, with the "Hass" variety dominating the crop share. A single mature avocado tree can produce more than 400 pieces of fruit in a year.
Cut the avocado in half, slightly twist the two halves, separate, and remove the seed. Starting at the small end and remove the skin with a knife, or, if you prefer, you can also scoop the flesh out with a spoon.

To retain a fresh green color, avocados should either be eaten immediately or should be sprinkled with lemon or lime juice or white vinegar

Varieties

There are several varieties of avocados and each have a unique flavor and texture. Here are some of the most common avocado varieties in the United States.

Fuerte



Avocados

Serving size 1/2 cup, cubed (75g)
Amounts Per Serving % Daily Value
Calories 120  
Calories from Fat 100 
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 1.5g 8%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Sugars 0g 
Protein 1g 
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 10%
Calcium 0%
Iron 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
This avocado is known for its thin smooth skin and creamy pale green flesh. The skin remains green when ripe. It is available late fall through spring.
Considered a medium to large sized, pear shaped fruit. 

Gwen

Considered a Hass to some folks, but really is a different kind of avocado. With its medium to large oval shape and its thick pebbly green skin, this avocado's skin remains green when it's ripe. Gwen varieties are available late winter through late summer.
 
Hass

The most common type of avocado in the United States is known for its purplish black pebbly skin. The skin darkens when the fruit is ripe and its flesh turns to a creamy pale green. This is the only year round avocado.
 
Pinkerton

This variety looks like a long pear with pebbly green skin. The skin darkens when the fruit is ripe. The flesh is a creamy pale green with a small seed. This avocado is available winter through spring.
 
Reed

Also known as the Summertime variety avocado, it is a large round fruit with thick green slightly rough skin. The skin stays green and the flesh is a buttery yellow when the fruit is ripe. This fruit is only available in the summer and early fall.
 
Zutano

Available fall through early winter, this avocado is characterized by its shiny, yellow green skin and pear shape. It is a large sized fruit that stays the same color when ripe and has pale green flesh.
 

Recipes

California Avocado Tacos


Serves 12.
Each serving equals 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: California Avocado Commission

Ingredients

1 ripe California avocado, peeled and seeded
1 medium onion, julienned
2 large green peppers, julienned
2 large red peppers, julienned
1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1½ cups fresh tomato salsa (see below)
12 flour tortillas
non-stick cooking spray

Fresh Tomato Salsa

1 cup tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup onions, diced
½ clove garlic, minced
2 tsp cilantro
1/3 tsp jalapeño peppers, chopped
½ tsp lime, juiced
pinch of cumin

Spray skillet with cooking spray. Lightly sautè onion and green and red peppers.

Cut avocado into 12 slices. Warm tortillas in oven and fill with peppers, onions, avocado slices and salsa. Fold tortillas and serve.

Salsa Preparation:
Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate in advance.

Nutrition information per serving (tacos with salsa): Calories 170, Fat 6g, Calories from Fat 4%, Cholesterol 3mg, Sodium 167 mg.
Avocados are loaded with nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and folate. They re also cholesterol and sodium free. Avocados contain 60% more potassium per ounce than bananas. This fruit is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat.

How to Select, Ripen, and Peel an Avocado
Look for firm avocados if you're planning on using them later in the week, otherwise, select fruit that yields to gentle pressure for immediate use.

Color alone will not tell you if the avocado is ripe. Ripe fruit will be slightly firm, but will yield to gentle pressure.

To speed the ripening process, place the avocado in a paper bag, and store at room temperature until
ready to eat (usually two to five days).
Placing an apple together with the avocado speeds up the process even more.
Avacado
Benefits of Avocado

Compared to most fruits, avocados have higher concentrations of many B vitamins, as well as beta-carotene, magnesium, and vitamins E and K. These nutrients support and sustain your overall health, not to mention your energy, metabolic functioning, and bones.

The American Heart Association recommends a diet that is low to moderate in fat. According to The Calorie Control Council, an organization that promotes healthy eating and exercise, 30 percent or less of calories should come from fat. Because fat is essential in all diets, it may be hard to decide which fats to ingest and which fats to cut. Reduced fat foods, or "fat replacers," can often act as a healthy substitute for fatty foods in the diet. Fat replacers provide the taste and texture of high fat foods without the harmful excess of cholesterol, fat, and calories fatty foods contain.

The American Dietetic Association has confirmed that reduced-fat food options help maintain the food selection process, making dieting for weight loss an easier transition