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Nutritionist’s Notebook: Avocado

Avocado is a staple for most vegans and lately it’s also become very trendy, making an appearance in almost every dish imaginable from burgers to cakes. We all know it contains good fats, but what else is there to know? Avocados grow on the avocado tree, native to Mexico, and are now cultivated across the world in tropical and subtropical climates as well as the Mediterranean. Fun facts: avocado is technically a berry and its original Aztec name āhuacatl also means testicle. Avocados are harvested when they reach maturity (full size) but are unripe. They are usually stored in coolers at low temperatures and ripen in about one to two weeks once they are exposed to room temperature. If you want to speed the process up, put them near bananas or apples as these release natural ethylene gas which helps avocadoes to ripen. Some shops sell ripened or ‘ready to eat’ avocados which have been treated with synthetic ethylene in ‘ripening rooms’ so they are edible straight away.


Avocado is much fattier than other types of fruit. About three quarters of avocado’s energy comes from fat and most of it is monounsaturated oleic acid. This is the same fatty acid that you can find in olives and olive oil. Oleic acid is not an essential fat but a healthy one as it has cholesterol and blood pressure lowering properties. And so do phytosterols – natural compounds abundant in avocados – they help lower bad cholesterol and are anti-inflammatory.

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About PlantBased

First things first — I hope you’re having an incredible summer. Just because autumn is on the horizon don’t stop enjoying every moment that is left to enjoy the Great British outdoors. There’s something about the later part of summer that makes me want to gather my friends and family around a campfire to enjoy an array of toasted treats and fire roasted foods. Whether it’s at the beach or outside your back door, sitting beneath the stars as another summer day draws to an end can feel euphoric. Before long we will all be wrapped up in winter coats and wishing that we could relive those special summer moments. So to encourage you to set up camp, sing some of your favourite songs, toast some tempeh skewers and dig into some gooey s’mores we’ve a whole collection of recipes dedicated to cooking fireside. In this issue we’ve taken a closer look at the sweet potato and the multiple ways it is used in the kitchen beyond its original potato format. Don’t knock it, until you’ve tried. Trust me. In between all the sweet and indulgent treats (there’s a lot of them), we’ve also delved into the nutritional side of following a plant-based diet in a bid to highlight that the benefits of eating plants isn’t just to enhance the health of the planet — but us too. From an in-depth interview with The Plant Powered Personal Trainer (aka Adam Stansbury), to Food for Thought with Heather Mills and a one-on-one chat with the blogger Laura-Jane Koers about her latest cookbook — we want to transform negative connotations associated with vegan nutrition. Plus, we’ve dedicated this month’s Special Report to vegan pregnancy, whilst our Nutritionist’s Notebook explores the notorious super veg, avocado. Oh, and whilst we are on the topic of superfoods, we’ve put together an ultimate healthy and wholesome grain breakfast guide packed with ancient oat recipes (including chia). Enjoy the issue. And enjoy the last of the warm summer sun.