Avocado, Benefits and Instant Recipes

Avocado

Avocado is a fruit rich in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids MUFA “Oleic acid” the good fats that help decrease LDL (the bad cholesterol) and maintain HDL (the good cholesterol).

Despite it’s a fruit, it’s always categorized within the fats group due to the high content of the monounsaturated fats. It’s also a rich source of:
– Antioxidants (protect against arthritis, cancer, heart disease, cataracts, aging etc.)
– Vitamins E
– Vitamin C
– beta-carotene
– Potassium
– Protein
– Dietary Fiber

The misconception of “Avocado” is bad and fattening is not actually correct, Avocado as seen above is a rich nutritious food item with several nutritious health benefits, yet always remember, everything in moderation (Check out the references for more details regarding Avocado and weight loss).

Food Ideas
We will be demonstrating a couple of simple, fast and easy salty and sugary recipes that are made from an Avocado Base accompanied with Labneh.

The Salty Ingredients

The Sugary Ingredients

Base
Avocado + Labneh

Salty Avocado Dip or Spread
Base + Green Onions + Sesame Seeds

Garnish
Green Onions + Sesame Seeds

A great Dip with some raw fresh vegetables, tortilla chips and a great Spread for Sandwiches

Sugary Avocado Dip or Spread
Base + Honey + Walnuts

Garnish
Walnuts

A great Spread for a lovely mini pass-around healthy dessert

For all vegetarians, lactose intolerant, non-dairy consuming individuals; instead of Labneh you can use our famous “Hommos” base (boiled mashed smooth hommos, without any added ingredient).

Sa7tein :):)

Photo Courtesy: Strawberry Blu

Related References

http://www.livestrong.com/article/310714-is-avocado-good-for-your-health/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fat/NU00262
http://www.avocadosource.com/CAS_Yearbooks/CAS_76_1992/CAS_1992_123.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge-newspaper-2009/jun-05b.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avocado

Tahini contains Cholesterol??

Before answering this question on whether Tahini contains cholesterol or not, it’s important to point out what’s cholesterol, why it’s needed, why it’s harmful and its basic dietary sources.

Cholesterol is fat substance that is made by the liver (naturally) and is contained in our foods. It’s important to know that our body needs some cholesterol to function properly; for example cholesterol is needed for the structures for the body’s cell walls, hormone production etc. Yet, high intakes of cholesterol along with the high consumption of bad fats through the diet can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in the blood causing heart complications (blocking arteries, strokes etc.)

Cholesterol from the diet can only come from animal sources such as high fat meats, full fat milk, cheeses alongside with coconut, palm oil and cocoa butter and similar sources. Thus, as you can see almost all plant source foods do not contain cholesterol.

Tahini is a paste made from grinding roasted sesame seeds. Therefore, it originates from a plant source. Thus, it doesn’t contain any amounts of cholesterol. On the contrary, it’s rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the good fats) that have been correlated with decreasing levels of blood cholesterol especially if used in the diet in place of the bad fats.

In conclusion, tahini is cholesterol-free and is rich in healthy fats which can help reduce total cholesterol levels yet, keep in mind 1 tablespoon of tahini contains between 80-90 kcal most of which are from fats; so always be alert to the quantities eaten.

The Manoushe…

The Manoushe is a traditional Lebanese pie; initially know as the Thym Pie.

It’s a traditional street on-the-go food found everywhere and on all streets of Lebanon. It’s usually eaten on breakfast.

The Manoushe has evolved over the years. It’s now made with different ingredients and flavours. Flavours include: Lebanese Thym, Cheese, Kishik, Spinach, Lahm b Ajeen (Meat), Eggs, Awarma, kafta etc.

Those flavours evolved to include a mix of cheese & thym, cheese & tomato sauce, thym & labneh, thyme & hot pepper paste, shanklish, Bulgarian cheese, Feta Cheese, kishik with awarma, Kishik with walnuts, purslane, eggs with awarma, awarma with labneh, kafta & Cheese, kafta & Hommos, soujouk, soujouk with eggs etc…

All those combinations developed with the development of consumer preferences; some people prefer it plain, others with extra spices, extra lemon, cocktail etc…

It has been also transformed into a dessert pie, with chocolate, halawe, sesame and butter, honey and their combinations with fruits such as bananas or dried fruits and nuts…

Caution:

If we consider a regular thym manoushe of around 150g (the dough); that means the dough alone is around 5 exchanges of carbohydrates, which is equivalent to 2.5 loafs of medium sized Lebanese bread. Thus, if you eat a manoushe you’ll be consuming most or all your carbohydrates (of course depending on each individual daily intake requirements) in a single meal, not taking into consideration the stuffing yet.

That being said, if you have the choice to chose between two manoushes of the SAME size (diameter) and the same type; yet one is of a thinner version (made of less dough) go for the thinner one…

Open Sesame…

Sesame is a flowering plant… its seeds are rich in oil. The seeds are further processes to give sesame oil or stone grinded to give sesame paste know as Tahini…

Seeds, oils or pastes are greatly used in cooking… especially in the Lebanese cuisine…Seeds usually sprinkled on breads and pastries, while oils and tahini are usually used in appetizers such as the “Hommos” or in dishes such as the “Kebbe Karnabiyeh”…

Nutritional Benefits:

Sesame is rich in minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium…) and in vitamin E, thiamin, healthy proteins and dietary fibers. It contains some phyto-nutrients such as omega-6 fatty acids and flavonoid anti-oxidants and it’s also a rich source of poly-unsaturated fatty acids…

Sesame helps prevent high blood pressure, protect the liver from oxidative damage
(sesamin and sesamolin) and helps strengthen the heart and the nervous system (Vitamin E).

1 tablespoon of sesame (~10g) = 52 Calories.

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