There are 13 vitamins that the body absolutely needs: vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate). Avocados naturally contain many of these vitamins.

    • MONOUNSATURATED FATS (3g per serving) – Helps to lower blood cholesterol if used in place of saturated fats.
    • VITAMIN K (6.3 mcg/8% DV per serving) – Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in blood clotting. It is known as the clotting vitamin, because without it blood would not clot. Some studies indicate that it helps in maintaining strong bones in the elderly.
    • FOLATE (27 mcg/6% DV per serving) – Promotes healthy cell and tissue development.  This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy.  Folate is also essential for metabolism of homocysteine and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.
    • POTASSIUM (152 mg/4% DV per serving) – In the body, potassium is classified as an electrolyte.  Potassium is a very important mineral to the human body.  It has various roles in metabolism and body functions and is essential for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs:  It assists in the regulation of the acid-base balance; assists in protein synthesis from amino acids and in carbohydrate metabolism; and, it is necessary for the building of muscle and for normal body growth.
    • VITAMIN E (.590 mg/4% DV per serving) – A fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant that protects the body tissue from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals.  Free radicals can harm cells, tissues, and organs.  They are believed to play a role in certain conditions associated with aging.  Vitamin E is important in the formation of red blood cells and helps the body use vitamin K.  At lower levels, vitamin E may help protect the heart.  Vitamin E also plays a role in healthy skin and hair.
    • LUTEIN (81 mcg) – A carotenoid (a natural pigment) that may be associated with a lower risk of eye diseases. Lutein is an important antioxidant that may help your eyes stay healthy while maintaining the health of your skin. It provides nutritional support to your eyes and skin and has been linked to promoting healthy eyes through reducing the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults 65 years of age and older.
    • MAGNESIUM (9.0 mg/2% DV per serving) –An essential mineral for human nutrition.  Magnesium in the body serves several important functions:  Contraction and relaxation of muscles; Function of certain enzymes in the body; Production and transport of energy; and Production of Protein.
    • VITAMIN C (2.6 mg/4% DV per serving) –A water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development.  Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants.  Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals, which are by-products that result when our bodies transform food into energy. Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body.  It is necessary to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.
  • VITAMIN B6 (0.086 mg/4% DV per serving) –A water-soluble vitamin.  Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water.  The body cannot store them.  That means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet.  Vitamin B6 helps the immune system produce antibodies.  Antibodies are needed to fight many diseases.  Vitamin B6 helps maintain normal nerve function and form red blood cells.  The body uses it to help break down proteins.  The more protein you eat, the more vitamin B6 you need.

Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.

Tips On Storing Avocados

Never refrigerate unripened (hard) avocados because they will not ripen in cold temperatures.

Unripened (hard) avocados are best stored in a cool dark place until they have ripened.

If Your Avocados are Not Ripe, Here’s How to Ripen Them

Place unripe avocados in a brown paper bag to ripen. This traps the ethylene gas they produce and helps them to ripen. A firm avocado placed in a paper bag will ripen at room temperature in about three to six days. As the fruit ripens, the skin color will darken.

How to Speed Up the Ripening of Your Avocados

Add a tomato, apple or banana to a paper bag in which you have placed an avocado. This will produce more ethylene gas and speed up the ripening process. It will usually only take one to three days to ripen.

CAJUN GUACAMOLE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 4 ripe, Fresh California Avocados
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup small cherry tomatoes (cut in halves or quarters, if large)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. chopped, fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 of that amount of dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Set aside a small amount of the diced red peppers for garnish.
  2. Coarsely mash (DO NOT PUREE) avocados; stir in lemon juice.
  3. Fold in remaining ingredients.
  4. Top with reserved tomatoes and serve.

Serving Suggestions:
Place in a bowl in the center of a serving plate and surround with celery stalks and cooked shrimp for dipping.
*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.
Guacamole is best made as close to serving as possible. For short-term storage, seal in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the guacamole.

Nutrition information per serving

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 160; Total Fat 13 g (Sat 2 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 2 g, Mono 8 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 300 mg; Potassium 532 mg; Total Carbohydrates 11 g; Dietary Fiber 7 g; Total Sugars 2 g; Protein 2 g; Vitamin A 405 IU; Vitamin C 31 mg; Calcium 21 mg; Iron 1 mg; Vitamin D 0 IU; Folate 83 mcg; Omega 3 Fatty Acid 0.1 g
% Daily Value*: Vitamin A 8%; Vitamin C 50%; Calcium 8%; Iron 6%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 Calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

recipe source: http://www.avocado.org
Sources:
nutrition, recipe and photo source: http://www.avocado.org/avocado-nutrients/
storing tips source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodtip&dbid=16