Fruit of the month: Avocado

By Paula Solano

In February, we observe a host of meaningful observances — Black History Month, American Heart Month, National Children’s Dental Health Month, National Weddings Month, Valentine’s Day, and more.

The seasonal fruit for this month’s Better Living for Texans blog is the avocado. Avocados are in season in the spring, summer, and winter. Avocados are native to the tropics of Central America. The United States provides 6% of the world’s avocado crop, ranking third to Mexico and Chile. California is the largest producer of avocados in the United States. An avocado tree can produce up to 400 avocados annually. 

Nutritional Facts and Health Claims

Avocados are cholesterol-free; high in vitamin B6; sodium-free; high in vitamin E; and a good source of potassium, magnesium, folate, and fiber. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association recommend consumption of nutrient-dense foods, limiting the number of saturated fats, trans fat, added sugars, and sodium consumed. Avocados are considered a good source of good fat (75 percent of the fat in an avocado is unsaturated). 

Hypertension & Sodium: 

Avocados are sodium-free. Diets low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a disease associated with many factors. 

Shopping, Storage and How to Cut: 

— Choose avocados that are firm — which give slightly when pressed. These are normally ready to eat. 

— Store unripe avocados at room temperature. To ripen a firm avocado, place it in a paper bag with an apple.

— Cut avocados in half length-wise around the pit.

— Hit the pit with a sharp knife, twist to free pit and discard. 

— Cube, slice, and scoop with a spoon or knife.

Get the Facts!

Wash your hands as recommended by the CDC, and clean contact surfaces often. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture MyPlate provides recipes, tips and resources to guide you in creating a healthy eating plan. Start simple, download the MyPlate App, an easy-to-use app that will help guide you and track your progress.

Use:

Avocados can be added to salads, soups, as guacamole, on sandwiches, applied as butter on toast, a substitute for sour cream. Avocado also makes a great puree to serve as baby food.

Here are two avocado recipes from EatFresh.org — Avocado Puree and Avocado Garden Salad. The first is for use as baby food; the second one is for those of us who are older.

Share your favorite recipe with us.

Enjoy!

Paula Solano is a Master in Public Health student at Baylor University, certified Community Health Worker, an intern at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. A Waco native, she is passionate about serving her community, particularly underserved and underrepresented citizens. 

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Due to the continued spread of COVID-19 and the challenges it poses to communities across Texas, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and many others continue to practice public health recommendations. Whether we are communicating online or face-to-face know that program content will always be research-backed to help individuals navigate decisions for themselves and their families. For information on resources, ideas, and programs for yourself and family visit Texas A&M AgriLife’s HUB

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. To learn more about SNAP or to apply for benefits, visit www.yourtexasbenefits.com 

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021) Your Guide to Masks. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

Eat Fresh (2021) Avocado. Retrieved from: https://eatfresh.org/discover-foods/avocado 

Fruits and Vegetables (2021) Avocado. Retrieved from: https://fruitsandveggies.org/fruits-and-veggies/avocado/ 

Harvest of the Month (2011) Exploring California Avocados Taste Testing. Retrieved from: https://harvestofthemonth.cdph.ca.gov/documents/Spring/Avocados/Avocado%20-%20Educator’s%20Newsletter_Final.pdf 

Iowa Nutrition Network (2020) Avocado. Retrieved from: https://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/Files/INN/Avocaco.pdf

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