1 Food 3 Ways: Avocado


Avocados are one of the healthiest foods on earth, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that they are utterly delicious as well. Lowering bad cholesterol, helping the body to absorb nutrients and preventing cancer and heart disease are just a few of the benefits we can enjoy from eating them. Additionally, avocados even trump bananas in terms of potassium content, a nutrient effective in lowering blood pressure.

But why stop at the internal perks? This super-food is also a stellar beauty booster, containing high amounts of protein, which is critical for hair health. Vitamins B, E and K are also key in maintaining a healthy metabolism (translation: keeping your waistline thin). They’re also a great source of glutathione, the antioxidant that helps fight free radicals that lead to wrinkles.

We could go on and on in listing the benefits of avocados, but we think you get the point – Avocados are awesome! Instead, we’ll share three ways to use the ingredient for breakfast, lunch and dinner:

Breakfast Idea: Avocado and Cantaloupe Salad

Image Courtesy of Whole Living

Ingredients:
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
4 tsp. honey
1.5 tbsp. olive oil
1.2 tsp. coarse salt
1 cantaloupe, quartered and seeded
1 avocado, halved, pitted and skinned
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Click here for the cooking instructions from Whole Living.

Lunch Idea: Avocado Bowl
Ingredients:
2/3 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup corn, drained
½ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup fresh cilantro
½ cup chunky salsa
2 green onions, sliced thinly
10 drops hot sauce
2 large ripe Avocados
4 bunches alfalfa sprouts
Click here for the cooking instructions from the Hass Avocado Board.

Dinner Idea: Thai Shrimp, Avocado and Watermelon Skewers

Image Courtesy of Clean Eating

Ingredients:
1 jalapeno pepper
1 large clove of garlic
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 cup low-fat coconut milk
1/3 packed cup fresh mint
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. fish sauce
24 jumbo shrimp, cleaned and peeled
High-heat cooking oil (sunflower or grape seed oil)
1 avocado, cut into 16 cubes
3 cups cubed watermelon
8 skewers
Click here for the cooking instructions from Clean Eating.

Spa Foodie: Dissect Your Guacamole for Super-Spa Sunday!

As the Giants take on the Pats in an epic rivalry this Sunday, there’s really only one thing on my mind: THE GUACAMOLE (and Victor Cruz’s salsa to go with it, of course). Superbowl Sunday means nothing to me without an endless supply of someone’s homemade guac. My trick is adding a lot of cilantro and a little Adobo, but as it turns out, those are about the only two ingredients that don’t translate to the guacamole spa dissection you’re about to witness.

Turn your Superbowl Sunday into Super-Spa Sunday! Tackle (Eli Manning and Tom Brady style) skin and hair problems using the essential ingredients of guacamole, all packed with vitamins and some very surprising beauty benefits. Ready for some mind-blowingly simple DIY spa recipes? KICK OFF!

AVOCADO

 

Avocado-Honey Mask for Dry Skin: Mash up 1/2 avocado, rich in Vitamin E to help rebuild skin collagen, and mix in 2 tablespoons of honey. Apply to your face and neck and let it sit for 10-12 minutes, then rinse with warm water and a washcloth. From a previous post by The Chefanies.

Avocado Hair Conditioning Mask: Beat up 1 raw egg, mix in 1/2 mashed avocado. Massage into your hair for 5 minutes then rinse thoroughly.

Avocado-Coconut Oil Hair Color Protector: Microwave 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and massage it from roots to ends. Then, mash an avocado and massage it on the ends only. From a previous post with Rita Hazan’s hair tips for lasting color.

LIME

Lime Facial Toner for Blemishes: Lime juice (and lemon juice) have high acidity, which exfoliates the top layer of skin and helps fade pigmentation, blemishes and freckles over time. Rub lime wedges (preferably not straight from the Corona bottle) onto your face, focusing on unwanted blemishes. Let it dry completely, then  rinse with water.

Lime Body Toner: Using the same theory as the facial toner, even out darker or discolored skin on your knees or elbows. Cut a lime into two, then rub each half onto your knees/elbows. Let it dry, and rinse thoroughly.

SALT

Salt Bath for Itchy Skin: Just add a cup of table salt or sea salt to your bath. It will help relieve itchiness and also soften skin while you settle into a deep relaxation.

Simple Salt Exfoliation: After the shower, simply sprinkle some salt on your hands and rub it all over your skin. It will remove dry skin and also get your circulation going. Try it the morning after the ‘bowl to wake you up!

Citrus Salt Body Scrub: Mix together 1/2 cup of fine sea salt and 2 tablespoons of almond or grapeseed oil, then add 5 drops of orange essential oil. In the shower, massage it in circular motions, concentrating on the rough spots.

Salt Spray-Toner for Oily Skin: Fill a spray bottle lukewarm water, add a teaspoon of salt, and spray on your face. Blot dry.

ONION

Onion Juice Rinse for Hair Growth: Sounds smelly, huh? Well, onions are known to be a natural way restore hair follicles and encourage hair growth by stimulating scalp circulation (lots of sulfur), so if you’re willing to put up with the smell: Squeeze the juice out of a medium uncooked onion (blend it then strain it – this could take an hour, and you’ll need to push with a spoon to get all the juice out). Apply the onion juice to the top of the scalp, and gently massage into hair roots. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then wash with shampoo thoroughly. Repeat twice a week or more to see some real results!

TOMATO

Tomato and Lime Pore-Shrinker: Tomatoes have cooling elements to soothe skin and lots of vitamin A and C to brighten skin tone – and you already know what limes do! Combine a tablesoon of fresh tomato juice with a 3 drops of lime juice, and apply to skin with a cotton ball. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Beauty touchdown, baby!

Aging Backwards: Secret #6 – All About Avocados

Column by Jackie Silver

Cue music – Ole, gimme some guacamolay! The poor avocado has been misunderstood in the past because of its high fat content, but avocados provide more than 25 essential nutrients. A serving of avocado, which is one-eighth of the fruit, has only 5 grams of fat per serving, but that fat is the monounsaturated kind, which is heart-healthy and may help to lower cholesterol. Avocados are also rich in omega-3s, another heart-healthy ingredient.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the avocado (besides its inherent sexiness) is the potassium content. Compared to bananas, avocados have 60 percent more potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. Adequate intake of potassium can counteract some of the effects of salt on blood pressure. Remember, though, everything in moderation. A whole avocado has 520 calories and 40 grams of fat. Even though it’s “good” fat, it can still add up to weight gain.

The avocado (Persea americana) originated in south-central Mexico, sometime between 7,000 and 5,000 B.C. But it was several millennia before this wild variety was cultivated. Archaeologists in Peru have found domesticated avocado seeds buried with Incan mummies dating back to 750 B.C. and there is evidence that avocados were cultivated in Mexico as early as 500 B.C. Avocados From Mexico are in season year-round. When shopping for avocados, looks for a pebbly skin. Ripe avocados will look almost black and will be soft when gently pressed. To ripen a green avocado, keep it at room temperature for three to seven days. To hasten the process, you can put it in a paper bag (never plastic) and loosely close the top. For more tips on becoming an “avocado expert,” check out Avocados From Mexico.

Here are some creative ways to enjoy avocado:

• Instead of slathering mayo on your sandwich, why not mash up some avocado and spread it on your sandwich? One tablespoon of mayonnaise has about 110 calories of pure fat. One-fifth of a medium avocado has about 50 calories, with 35 calories from fat, but remember – it’s the “good” fat.

• In a food processor, mash one half of an avocado with a half cup of organic cottage cheese, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on top, sprinkle with black pepper and use it as a dip with cut vegetables for a protein-rich, tasty, healthy meal or snack.

•  Make an avocado boba drink. Boba drinks usually contain soft, chewy tapioca balls in the bottom of a drink such as tea or coffee, but here’s a creative twist: Using a tiny melon scoop, make avocado balls and add them into tomato or vegetable juice for a new, healthy spin on boba.

•  Cut up avocado chunks and put them on top of gazpacho, the cold Spanish tomato soup, for a filling snack that’s nutritionalicious!

•  Add avocado on top of any omelet for a burst of extra flavor.

• Put it on your face! Try this hydrating honey avocado face mask.

Jackie Silver is Aging Backwards and she shares her secrets, tips and shortcuts in her book, Aging Backwards: Secrets to Staying Young, on her website agingbackwards.com, on TV, on radio, in print and in person. She is a frequent television news guest, one half of The Ageless Sisters radio show, a columnist with The Tampa Tribune and contributor to numerous websites. In addition, she is the National Anti-Aging Beauty Examiner, New York Beauty Products Examiner and NY Charity Examiner for Examiner.com. Silver is a New York City based speaker and coach and is sought-after as an anti-aging and beauty expert by the media.

Spa Foodie: Avocado Honey Hydrating Facial Mask

Guest contributor: The Chefanies

It’s Cinco de Mayo and we’re celebrating here at Spa Week Daily with one of our favorite south of the border imports: avocados (green and sexy!). Before hitting up tonight’s parties, get soft, glowing skin with our Avocado Honey hydrating facial mask. Avocados are great for you, inside and out. They are super rich in vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamins A, C, and K – all of which help brighten and tone the skin. Both avocados and honey contain natural humectants, which are chemicals that attract and hold water, making this mask a great moisturizer.

INGREDIENTS:

Half of a ripe avocado

2 Tablespoons of honey

Mash the avocado with a fork or mixer and mix in honey. If the honey is really thick you can heat it up slightly to make it more liquid or dilute it with a tablespoon of hot water. Apply the paste to face, avoiding eye area and mouth, and leave on for 10-12 minutes. Rinse with warm water and a washcloth.

NOTES: Be sure to choose a ripe avocado for this mask. A ripe avocado will be a deep brown color that yields to the touch, but isn’t mushy. Make sure to cleanse your face before applying this mask to achieve the best results.

The Chefanies is the blog of 2 Stephanies cooking up a healthy storm using fresh, seasonal and organic ingredients. We focus on everyday cooking that is impressive enough for entertaining and hearty enough to enjoy solo. Go to thechefanies.com for more!

Lose Weight By Accident: Fiber Magic

Guest contributor: Kavita Jhaveri-Patel

I don’t know if it is just me, but I have been seeing commercial after commercial on fiber. Anything from orange flavored chalky powders that mix easily into water to fiber packed chocolate bars.

Fiber is absolutely necessary especially when you are feeling plugged up, bloated, fat, and totally uncomfortable. However these quick methods of getting fiber may help you in the short term; but as soon as you are done with the chalky stuff, guess what happens. You are right back where you started…stuck…. literally!

So how do we permanently resolve this? You CAN incorporate the right sources of fiber into your diet, and not only will you regulate yourself, but you will also lose belly fat by accident. How good does that sound?

Here are my TOP 3 quick and easy natural fiber sources:

Avocados: The most fabulous fruit ever! It is tasty on its own, creamy, and awesome with blue corn chips. Oh did I also mention, one medium sized avocado, has almost 12 grams of fiber! I think this is nature at its best! It taste sooo good it feels bad, and keeps your digestive tract working nicely and your colon clean.

Oatmeal: A hot bowl of apple cinnamon sweetened with maple syrup oatmeal sounds like the perfect dessert… I mean breakfast. 1 cup of oatmeal has 12 grams of fiber. Incorporate oats into your diet daily, and soon the belly fat will flatten and decrease your cholesterol AT THE SAME TIME.

Eat whole fruits not juice: Eating the whole fruit, like the whole orange is better than having orange juice. Why? Because you eat the fiber that helps you to break down the sugars that are natural in fruit. The fiber, or white part of the orange, is good for you and helps you to even out your blood sugar levels, hence helping you lose weight.

In order for you to feel lighter in more ways than one, get your fiber on!

Body confidence expert and health and lifestyle speaker Kavita Jhaveri-Patel. She has been featured in Time Out New York, Healthy Style NY, and has been mentioned on FoxLive News. Receive her free report 7 Mistakes Most Women Make When Trying to Lose Weight and How to Avoid Them by clicking here.