Life Wellbeing Avocados: Surprising health benefits, great with prawns and cheap
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Avocados: Surprising health benefits, great with prawns and cheap

Avocados
Avocados, replacing carbohydrates, suppress hunger without adding calories. Photo: Getty
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Over the last couple of years, two main things happened with avocados. Multiple studies revealed how they’re good for the waistline and the brain. And a lack of demand because of all those COVID-closed cafes means they’re cheap as chips.

As we previously reported, a US study found that women who eat an avocado every day enjoy a reduction in ‘bad’ fat – known as visceral abdominal fat – and a redistribution of belly fat away from the organs, giving them a healthier profile.

A University of Wollongong (UOW) study has found an association between greater consumption of avocados, a reduction in body weight, and shrinking of the waistline.

This falls into line with previous studies, but this study – partly supported by the avocado industry – also found that “greater consumption of
avocados was also associated with significantly lower consumption of discretionary (junk) foods”.

This finding is supported by US research which found that “meals that include fresh avocado as a substitute for refined carbohydrates can significantly suppress hunger and increase meal satisfaction in overweight and obese adults”.

There’s research suggesting avocados may protect against liver damage, keep ‘bad’ cholesterol away, improve focus and attention in overweight people and maintain a healthier gut.

 The great avocado glut

For months now, avocado growers have been “smashed” by a glut of fruit that has driven down prices to such an extent that some crops are being dumped.

The abundance of $1 avocados, a result of the shuttering of cafes during COVID-19 lockdowns, has made news overseas, with The Washington Post talking about farmers being “crushed”.

Prawn and avocado canapes. Photo: Getty

In the US, the problem has gone the opposite way. The US imports avocados cheaply from Mexico, but this year supply issues have caused prices to “roller coaster”.

The Australian export effort is still a work in progress.

According to Avocados Australia, the plan was to export, by 2021, more than 10 per cent of production “to markets where customers have a willingness and capacity to pay a premium for Australian avocados”.

Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong are the main importers, but not to an extent that can remedy the glut crisis.

What to do with all these avocados?

Smashed avocado on toast, the popular and sometimes ridiculed cafe brunch dish, often served with a poached egg, is a nice enough start to the day. But overall, it’s a bit bland.

Classic prawn cocktail, updated. Photo: Getty

Probably the best way to make use of all these avocados over summer is to team them up with seafood, which is also cheaper than usual.

When avocados were taken up by high-end restaurants in the late 1960s and 1970s, the prawn cocktail was seen as a pretty ritzy way to start a meal.

This was simply a grilled or boiled prawn planted in the hollow of half an avocado and smothered with a sweet-ish “cocktail” sauce.

These became popular at suburban dinner parties in the 1980s – and they make for a fun, if somewhat overdone treat.

For a modern, tastier version, see here.

What’s interesting about the prawn and avocado combination – and my favourite is sticky grilled prawns shot through with garlic and lime juice on a crostini with avocado butter – is that the healthy fats in the avocado offset somewhat the cholesterol in the prawns.

Grilled salmon, watercress and avocado salad. Photo: Getty

And if prawns aren’t your thing, try avocado with lobster, scallops, bugs and/or any kind of grilled fish in a salad. Keep the avocado cubes smallish.

One simple and healthy thing you can do with avocado is use it as a butter substitute, with the kids’ lunches or with whatever they like on their toast. Where butter is hard on the heart and the waistline, avocado is not.

And let’s face it, avocado is a bit like rice or potatoes in that it soaks up flavour, rather than dominating it. But where rice and potatoes have that naughty moreish quality, avocado fills you up.

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