Saturday, April 7, 2007

An Avocado a day...

I like apples, but just think how marvelous life would be if we could substitute "avocado" for "Apple" in the old adage about keeping the doctor away.

Well perhaps that's not so far off the mark. On the Cancer Cure Foundation website listing of cancer fighting foods, avocados are first on the list (probably because avocado starts with "A"). According to the website, "Avocados are rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that attacks free radicals in the body by blocking intestinal absorption of certain fats. They also supply even more potassium than bananas and are a strong source of beta-carotene. Scientists also believe that avocados may also be useful in treating viral hepatitis (a cause of liver cancer), as well as other sources of liver damage." And WebMD praises the avocado, citing a study that showed subjects who ate an avocado daily for a week had a significant drop in total blood cholesterol levels, and LDL ("bad fat") levels while at the same time their HDL ("good fat") levels rose.

I did a little happy dance when I read this, always delighted to have an excuse to eat an avocado. My happy dance got a little more frenetic when I spotted grapefruit on the Cancer Cure Foundations list, as well.

Every winter, my parents send us a case of the most wonderful Texas Ruby Red grapefruits from Bell's Farm in McAllan, Texas. There just isn't a better gift than this! Huge, sweet and wonderful, Chuck and I try to make them last as long as we can. Chuck carefully removes the peel and the bitter white layer just underneath by scraping lightly with his pocketknife; we split one per evening, eating them segment by segment like oranges. Cancer Cure says about grapefruit "Grapefruits, like oranges and other citrus fruits, contain monoterpenes, believed to help prevent cancer by sweeping carcinogens out of the body. Some studies show that grapefruit may inhibit the proliferation of breast-cancer cells in vitro. They also contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, and folic acid." To make a good thing even better, an Isreali study, also mentioned on WebMD found that participants eating a low fat, low calorie diet showed a greater drop in cholesterol if a red grapefruit was added than if they ate a white grapefruit or no grapefruit at all. Triglycerides in the red grapefruit group were also lower than with the other two groups. (And red grapefruit taste far superior to pink or white, in my opinion.)

Despite enjoying them just as they are, I do occasionally, make a very simple and delicious salad, combining grapefruit, avocado and red onions. When I tell people about this, they are always surprised and a little hesitant about the combination. But everyone who has tasted it has thought it was terrific. I am very happy to enter it into Mele Cotte's Cooking to Combat Cancer Blog event.

Grapefruit, avocado and red onion salad

For 2 servings

1 ripe avocado, peeled and coarsely diced (Avocado should be soft but not squishy)

1 large Ruby Red grapefruit, peeled, segmented and membranes removed

approximately 1/4 cup chopped mild red onion.

salt to taste

pinch of Korean red pepper (or other coarsely ground red pepper) (optional)

Combine everything but salt and red pepper in a bowl, mixing carefully so that the avocado and grapefruit don't get overly squashed. Sprinkle salt , toss again, and sprinkle the pinch of red pepper over the top.

The citrus should keep the avocado from darkening, but this should be eaten fairly soon after preparing- I've not found avocados to keep well once they have been cut.

Neither grapefruit nor avocados are local foods here in Central Pennsylvania, but there are some things and some times when the rules have to relax. Both of these fruits fall in that category!

(Please note, if you are taking any meds you should check with your doctor or pharmacist about possible drug interactions between grapefruits and a number of commonly prescribed drugs for a variety of conditions. In the course of writing this, we discovered that the Lipitor my husband takes is one of those cited, and we will be checking with his doctor before grapefruit season next year.)


cookiecrumb said...

Yums! Brilliant. And look, you supremed your grapefruit segments.
(Here's to the "A" foods.)

Chris said...

Willa, Thank you for participating. This is a fantastic and informative post!I love avocadoes and grapefruit - specifically ruby red, so this is a must try for me. :)

Willa said...

LOL- I had to look up supreming to se what it was I did! I really don't like the membranes. Back when I was a teenager, I heard somewhere that all of the nutrients of citrus were in the white stuff and the membranes, so I dutifully ate them, but for something like this, they have to go.

Arfi Binsted said...

it looks refreshing! i like the combination of the vegies and fruits in a bowl. sensational!!

Susan said...

Your salad is lovely! I'll have to add red onion to my next time. Excellent idea to include the warnings about the meds.