We are all aware that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential for optimum health, but families with young children often find it difficult to get their kids to eat enough vegetables and fruit. While all vegetables and fruits provide at least some sources of nutrients and important vitamins, there are some that contain gold mines of nutrients—antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids—all vital to our health.
Avocados, a.k.a. alligator pears, are a fruit native to Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. They provide many health benefits. Avocados are packed with potassium and folate, vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, copper, iron, phosphate, and magnesium, as well as fiber, protein, phytochemicals, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
Health benefits derived from the avocado include the following:
- Helps maintain low cholesterol levels (through phytochemicals)
- Promotes a healthy heart and protects against stroke (by providing vitamin E, B6, folic acid, and monounsaturated fat)
- Lowers cancer risk (by providing oleic acid)
- Promotes healthy births (by providing folate)
- Slows down the aging process and protects against free radicals (by supplying phytochemicals and antioxidants)
- Moisturizes and adds oils to the skin and hair
- Helps with vitamin absorption
- Promotes eye health (by providing lutein)
- Regulates blood pressure (by supplying potassium)
- Reduces inflammation (through phytonutrients)
In some Asian cultures, avocados are used in smoothies and boba drinks. This is an excellent way to get small children to receive the nutritional benefits of avocados. Avocados are high in calories and good fats, making a smoothie a healthy meal replacement for young and old.
If the benefits aren’t enough to entice you to add avocados to your diet, then this recipe will. Try this simple recipe for a delicious nutrient-packed avocado smoothie for adults and kids alike.
1 ripe avocado
2 cups almond milk, soy milk, or non-fat milk
1-2 tablespoons of Stevia, regular sugar, agave, honey, or other sweetener of choice
Optional: Half cup of ice
1.) Cut avocado, remove seed, and scoop out insides with spoon.
2.) Add milk, avocado, sweetener, and optional ice to a blender; blend on high until smooth and creamy. Sweeten to taste.
3.) Pour into cups or glasses and serve with straw. Enjoy!
Makes one large or two smaller smoothies.