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Avocado: Good Food With a Bad Rep

Orange Icon  Avocado: Good Food With a Bad Rep

Orange Icon  Avocado: Good Food With a Bad Rep

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Whenever a member tells me about a piece of wrongheaded "health advice" that they heard growing up, I can't help but get upset. Even though the misinformation wasn't malicious - there are plenty of seemingly logical reasons to think low-fat diets would help people lose weight - I constantly meet people who are missing out on absolutely delicious foods that are also powerful sources of vitamins and nutrients, all because these foods have a high fat content.

Consider for example, the avocado, which boasts the following health benefits:

  • An ample supply of vitamin B6, folate, and vitamins C & E
  • Generous servings of calcium and magnesium - for bone health - and potassium
  • Fiber and heart healthy nutrients

Avocado also has a high fat content: one serving contains 4.5 grams of fat.

I cannot count the number of people I've met who have avoided avocado because everything they've read about how to diet says to avoid all fattening foods. It's important to remember that there are different kinds of fat: mono- and poly- unsaturated fats, saturated fat, and trans fat. You always want to avoid trans fat, while saturated fat is great for cooking (coconut oil). The vast majority (3 grams) of avocado's fat content comes from "good" monounsaturated fat which, when eaten in moderation, helps to remove excess LDL cholesterol - that's the bad kind - from your blood.

But avocado isn't only a healthy addition to your diet because of its vitamin and mineral content and its cholesterol-fighting powers; avocado actually makes your meals healthier by aiding your body's absorption of nutrients from the foods you eat with it. Adding avocado to your salad, sandwich, or side dish actually enables your body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients -; alpha and beta carotene and lutein. Dr. Mercola states "lutein may protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness among the elderly."

If you want to know how to diet, know this: Your body needs fat to function, and avocados provide an ample serving of heart healthy fat. Avocados are an incredibly versatile fruit - it's blended as a smoothie or eaten as dessert in some countries. Consider these tips when adding them to your diet:

  1. Spread avocado on SWG toast: This is a great breakfast substitution for buttered toast. Ripe avocado is creamy and makes a delicious spread.
  2. Add avocado to your salad or sandwich: Topping your salad with avocado instead of bacon, or using it on a sandwich in lieu of condiments or cheese, is a great way to boost the nutritional value of your lunch.
  3. Heart healthy entertaining: Knowing how to diet when entertaining can be stressful, but avocados can absolve you of feeling guilty for snacking at parties. Make your own guacamole! Store bought versions are usually loaded with preservatives to improve shelf life. You can amass all the ingredients necessary at your local grocery store and provide your guests with a healthful snack (bonus points if you switch out the chips for veggies).

Plus, avocados have a thick skin, so they're less likely to be affected by pesticides. You don't have to buy avocados organic, which helps your wallet and your health.

Lots of people get intimidated when they cut up an avocado, but it's really simple! Carefully cut into the middle of the avocado until you can feel the pit. With the knife still piercing the fruit, rotate the knife around the avocado until it makes it all the way back to where you started! Next, remove the pit with a spoon. Carefully, make slices (all the way to the skin but do not cut through) in the avocado. Make crosswise slits so that you have a checkerboard. Grab your spoon again and scoop out the avocado meat.