Why avocados are a healthy and tasty part of your diet

People say that millennials are the generation of avocado toast. But they are on the right track. Avocados are both healthy and tasty, and they are also good for your health in many ways.

Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, a registered dietitian, says, “Avocados are a great way to add to a healthy diet.” Here are some good reasons to give these wrinkled green fruits a second look and add them to your regular diet.

One avocado has a lot of healthy things.

There are hundreds of different kinds of avocados. They can be big or small, wrinkled or smooth. What they have in common is a big round pit, creamy green flesh, and a lot of nutrients packed into a pear-shaped package.

Zumpano says that avocados have a lot going for them in terms of health, whether you add a slice to a salad or sandwich or use them in a more complicated recipe. Here are just a few of the many vitamins and nutrients that are in just one avocado.

  • Monounsaturated fats: Avocados have a lot of these fats, which are good for your heart and help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. Heart disease and stroke are less likely to happen if your LDL levels are low.
  • Folate (B-9): Avocados have a lot of folates, which are important for cell growth and normal cell function.
  • Vitamin K-1 is important for blood clotting and may be good for bone health as well.
  • Potassium is an important mineral that helps keep blood pressure in check and keeps the heart-healthy. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas.
  • Copper: Copper isn’t in a lot of foods that most Americans eat. Copper plays a part in how iron is used.
  • Vitamin C: Helps the immune system work and keeps the skin healthy.
  • Vitamin E: This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that keeps cells from getting damaged.
  • Vitamin B-6: B vitamins help make energy from food.
  • Fibre: Both soluble and insoluble fibre can be found in avocados. And fibre can lower your cholesterol and blood sugar, keep you regular, and make you feel full and satisfied after a meal.
  • Low sugar: Compared to most other fruits, avocados are not very sweet.

How to enjoy avocados

When it’s ready, an avocado is firm but not rock hard. Can’t wait to eat it, but it’s not ready yet? Put it in a paper bag and leave it on the counter until you can squeeze it a little. Once it’s ripe, you can put it in the fridge for a day or two to keep it from getting too soft too quickly. (Or just eat it right away, since a ripe but not too ripe avocado is a treasure that only lasts for a short time.)

But don’t do too much. Avocados are full of healthy things, but they don’t have very few calories. About 75 calories are in a 50-gram piece, which is about a third of a medium-sized avocado. Up to 400 calories can be added to your daily diet with a whole large avocado.

Zumpano says that moderation is the key to most things. “Avocados are great foods to add to your diet as long as you watch your portion sizes,” she says.

Recipes for avocados that even sceptics will love

Zumpano says that avocado is good for people of all ages. Babies like it best when it’s mashed with a banana. There are almost too many ways to use an older palate. Here are some ideas to get you going:

  • Slices of avocado can be put on burgers and burritos.
  • You can make quesadillas with them.
  • Vegetables, avocado, and poached eggs are a great way to start the day.
  • No time for guacamole? You can make guacamole quickly by mashing avocado into store-bought salsa.
  • Add them to a salad, like a tomato avocado salad with shallot-lemon dressing or a spicy mango, avocado, and black bean salad.

Zumpano says that the smooth, creamy fruit can also be used to replace less healthy fats in your diet. Here are a few more ways to add avocado to your diet.

  • Instead of putting mayonnaise on a sandwich, put avocado on the bread.
  • Instead of shreds of cheese on your salad, try slices of avocado.
  • Instead of putting butter on your toast, try avocado toast.
  • Instead of snacking on cheese or sour cream dips, dip your vegetables in guacamole.
  • mashed avocado can be used in place of butter or oil in recipes (such as in these chocolatey avocado brownie bites).

She says, “If you use avocado instead of other fats, you can enjoy the taste and nutrients and also cut back on saturated fats.”

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