Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Avocado Toast - It's Everywhere!
Why It's A Healthy Dish

Sliced or smushed, avocado is a healthy and popular topping.

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A Popular Menu Item
It's seems that whenever I try a new popular restaurant, avocado toast is on the menu. I'm not sure how or when this dish became so popular, but it seems to have really taken off. And why wouldn't it - avocados are one of America's favorite foods. Their consumption has quadrupled since 2000 and by 2015, the consumption of Hass avocados surpassed 2 billion pounds! I eat avocados every day in some form or another.

Although many people worry about avocado's fat content, they shouldn't. Their combination of "good fats"  (phytosterols, polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols, and oleic acid), give avocados their anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is the root of many diseases such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimers, and other degenerative disorders. 

In addition to reducing inflammation, they help us absorb carotenoids, an important plant chemical that protect us against numerous cancers. They are also a great source of dietary fiber, as well as vitamin C, E, K, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, and potassium.

Avocado Toast 
You don't need a particular recipe for avocado toast. Here are some suggestions and ways to prepare that it I've seen in restaurants. 

Select bread for the toast. Pick a small baguette if you are making an appetizer or a larger crusty bread if you are making this dish for a meal. Sour dough bread is an excellent choice. You can also consider using bagels. The picture above is avocado on a sprouted wheat bagel but an "everything" bagel with garlic, onions, and seeds would be an exciting and bold choice. If you want to avoid gluten, use any gluten free bread such as corn bread, homemade bread made with gluten free flour, or any commercial gluten free bread slices. Lightly toast whatever bread you select.

Slice or Smush
Avocado's will quickly oxidize and turn brown so you shouldn't prepare the avocado until you are ready to eat it. Thinly slicing the avocado is often a prettier presentation but feel free to smush the avocado with a fork and spread the avocado on the toast. Although not as pretty, it's easier to eat avocado that is smushed and evenly spread on the bread.

Select a Topping
Here are a few toppings that are healthy and popular. Select one or more.
* Seeds are my favorite topping. The above picture shows raw sunflower and black sesame seeds. Hemp and pumpkin seeds are also a good selection. 
* Crushed nuts such as walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamia, pistachios or sliced almonds are great choices.  
* Raw sprouts are a healthy and attractive topping.
* Fruits and veggies can be added such as thinly sliced apples, pears, mango, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and grilled corn.
* Season with spicy chili pepper flakes or finishing salts and other spices such as fresh dill, cilantro, parsley, and more. 
* For those who enjoy fish, top with thin slices of those high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury such as smoked salmon, anchovies, herring, and sardines.

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