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Brain Food: The Fruit With the Funny Name is Seriously Good For You

This entry is part of a series, Brain Food»

Hass Avocados

Avocado; an odd word, really, completely made up. Not that old, actually. Less than a century. California growers decided to rename the Mexican fruit, the ahuacate, to make it sound more appealing to the potential American market. They didn’t like the alternative in use, the alligator pear. (They also didn’t like the the fact that ahuacate is the Aztec word for testicle, but what could you do?) These farmers were on to something, though, and they took full advantage of their early position. Today, California produces the vast majority of avocados grown in the United States.

The appeal of the avocado is in its unique flesh. A yellowish green, this meat is so versatile and tasty! I can be sliced, diced, mashed and more. The flavor isn’t sweet, but rather nutty and bit oily, like butter. The fruit finds its way into baby food and party dips, drinks and ice cream. Use sliced avocado on sandwiches or salads, or just eat the flesh directly out of its shell. Avocado pulp matches well with sweet, salty, and acid ingredients, making it a great team player for a variety of dishes. Stands up well to zesty chiles and other strong flavors too.

Hass Avocado

Americans consume mostly Hass avocados, which are dark-skinned and smaller than other types. The Hass has a higher fat content than many other varieties (and there are over 400), but the fat is monounsaturated; the “good” kind that aids good blood flow. Avocados are almost as good for your noggin as blueberries. The only downside, maybe, is the calorie count. These green goodies aren’t lightweights on the energy scale!

A number of nutrition specialists say eating a quarter of an avocado each day is good. Just don’t get caught in the “if one is better, then four is much better” trap. Unfortunately, avocados taste so good it’s hard to stop with a small portion. Moderation’s the key, though, to unlocking the brain boost without bursting the belt.

So don’t worry about the funny name; eat green and you’ll be smarter in the long run…

Enjoy the (Pebble-Skinned Imitation Pear) Heat!

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