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Get Creative with Avocado

The other day I was eating lunch in our staff break room with some of my coworkers. As I was assembling my lunch and adding my mandatory scoop of avocado atop my chicken and kale, my co -workers winced in disgust. "I can't eat avocado alone" they kept saying. Guacamole seems to be the only way Americans consume this fabulous food. And knowing why they are a healthy selection is also something most of us lack. We just know that guac tastes great on those tortilla chips!

Let's crack on open the nutritional profile of this wonder fruit.

One serving of avocado provides a source of:

- monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids

- antioxidants, including Vitamin E. A source of fiber,Vitamin K and folate.

- many essential minerals including potassium, thiamin, iron, riboflavin, niacin ,magnesium and manganese

"But they are SO high in fat! Isn't that bad?"

Monounsaturated fat is a fatty acid that helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and boosts HDL (good) cholesterol. Research suggests that the fat in avocados also increases the body's ability to absorb and use antioxidants. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that may help prevent heart disease.

*LDL: low-density lipoproteins

*HDL: high-density lipoproteins

"So I can feel good about eating a whole bowl of guacamole?"

Too much of a good thing can indeed be bad.

A serving of avocados is one-quarter cup sliced avocado. This is about one-fifth of a medium avocado.

Fun Facts about Avocados

- California ranks number one in avocado production, growing more than 90 percent of the nation's crop.

- Avocados are grown mainly along the coastline of Southern California. San Diego County leads the State (41%) in production.

- Although avocados are grown year-round, more than 75 percent of California's shipments take place between March and August.

More than just Guac: 5 New Ways to Use Avocados

- As a spread: on toast or sandwiches in lieu of butter/ mayo for a rich and velvety, cholesterol-free topping.

- Sliced in salad they are spectacular-swap this topper out for one of your other "less than healthy" choices: croutons, bacon bits, or heavy dressing.

- From bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwiches to lush avocado burgers or avocado wraps - avocados add creamy flair to any sandwich.

- Stuff them-eggs, veggies, meat-the combinations are endless! Here is my favorite way to eat an egg in the morning:

- In pudding-say WHAT? Yes, check out this recipe for a healthier dessert tonight!