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Green Pesto Salad

There’s nothing better than a perfectly ripe, creamy avocado, spread on a slice of toast with a good drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper! So many people are afraid of avocados as they are known for being high in fat and so can in turn cause weight gain! But let me tell you, the nutritional benefits avocados provide far outweigh the fact that they are a little higher in fat, and they are essential to any well balanced diet!

BENEFITS

The following is a list of the many benefits a serve (1/3) of avocado can provide to you!

  • NUTRIENT PACKED – As mentioned above, avocados are super nutritious and contain 20 different vitamins and minerals, including; Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Folate, Potassium, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E. These vitamins and minerals are all great for healthy skin, eyes, nails and hair, for cell regeneration and keeping our organs operating efficiently.

  • POTASSIUM POWER - Potassium is a nutrient that most people aren’t getting enough of, though fortunately avocados are high in potassium… with a serving containing 14% of the RDI, compared to 10% in bananas (which are commonly associated as a high potassium food)! High potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure! So eat up!

  • HEART HEALTHY FATS - Again, avocado is a high fat food, with 77% of the calories in it being from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence! But as I am sure you have heard not all fats are bad and conveniently, majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid. This is a monounsaturated fatty acid and has been linked to reduced inflammation which in turn contributes positively to reducing the risk of many chronic diseases such as, cancer.

  • INCREASE NUTRIENT VALUE - As previously mentioned, some nutrients are “fat soluble,” meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be effectively used. They include vitamins A, D, E and K… along with antioxidants like carotenoids and through adding avocado or avocado oil to a salad has been shown to increase antioxidant absorption by 15x. So, in case you needed another one, this is an excellent reason to always include a healthy fat source when you eat veggies. Without it, a lot of the beneficial plant nutrients will go to waste.

  • FULL OF FIBRE - Fiber is another nutrient found in avocado and is an indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is linked to a lower risk of many chronic diseases.

USES

The thing I love about food is that there are endless possibilities of ways you can use it, some which can make the food more tolerable, some which can increase the nutritional properties and some which don’t even require eating! Here are some of my favourite uses for avocado:

  • Avocado scramble – mixing some mashed avocado through your scrambled eggs

  • Avocado on toast

  • Simple chopped in a salad or spread on a sandwich/wrap

  • ½ an avocado drizzled with lemon juice and dukkah spices

WATCH OUT!

I must admit I am one of those people who when told “less is more” ignores that advice COMPLETELY and will instead use half the product in the first use or drench my whole meal with the “SUPERFOOD”. I think that especially in regards to products and foods that are deemed “healthy” for you, people are more likely to consume/use extra in the hope that it will make them SUPER HEALTHY, SUPER QUICK! Though I have come to realise that sometimes having too much of a good thing can actually to more harm than good! It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health, therefore, it is better to eat a diet with variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health! Some of the not so happy side effects that can occur if you overdo it are:

  • WEIGHT GAIN – you have to remember that they are high in fats which contribute to excess kilojoule consumption!

  • TOO MUCH FIBRE - Too much fibre is bad and may give rise to problems like upset stomach, diarrhoea, bloating and gastrointestinal irritation

  • TOO MUCH POTASSIUM - Too much potassium can cause dehydration, type 1 diabetes, Addison’s disease and internal bleeding!

Recipe

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Large bag of mixed lettuce

  • 1 avocado, sliced

  • ¼ cup homemade pesto

Homemade Pesto

  • 1 bunch basil, leave removed

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1/3 cup patmesan, grated

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Make pesto by combining all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and blending until combined. Then drizzle through olive oil whilst the machine is still blending and pesto is smooth or chunky (however you like!). Give it a taste and adjust seasoning as desired! Sometimes I like a more cheesy or garlicky pesto!

  2. For the salad just place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well with your hands! Add more olive oil if needed!

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