Why You Should Incorporate Avocados Into Your Diet
It surprises some people to learn that avocados are actually a type of fruit native to central Mexico. Unlike other fruits, though, avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber.
Monounsaturated fats are also found in the well-known heart healthy olive oil. However, unlike olive oil, virgin avocado oil (unrefined and cold pressed) has a naturally high smoke point of 375F-400F. This makes avocado oil a great choice for high heat cooking like sautéing because it is very stable at high temperatures. In contrast, virgin olive oil has a smoke point of 325F to 375F so you need to be careful not to burn it. Avocado oil has a mild flavor in making it a great swap for less healthy oils like vegetable oil or high omega 6 oils like corn oil.
Cooking with avocado oil is one way to get more heart-healthy fats, but it’s also important to eat the whole fruit. The whole fruit is one of the richest sources of potassium you can obtain.
A whole avocado contains twice as much potassium as a banana, about 1,068mg compared to 422mg. Even if you only eat half of an avocado, you are still getting benefitting. Potassium is extremely important because it helps to fight the effects of the overly abundant sodium in our diet, thereby promoting heart health and electrolyte balance.
Avocados are also a very rich source of fiber containing about 13 grams per whole fruit. Considering most people fall extremely short of the recommended 25 grams for females and 38 grams for males, avocados could be a delicious way to help you consume enough fiber throughout the day.
Given the nutrient density of avocados, they have also been studied relatively well to determine the potential benefits they may provide to our health. Studies have found that avocados are related to increasing satiety or fullness after a meal which may help decrease calorie consumption for the day.
Unique Ways to Eat Avocados
1. Eat half for a snack stuffed with hummus, cottage cheese, or your favorite salsa.
2. Swap avocados for mayo in salads like tuna salad, chicken salad or egg salad.
3. Add a half an avocado to a smoothie to help provide a creamy texture.
4. Bake eggs in an avocado. Preheat the oven to 350F scoop out the center and crack and egg into it. Bake until the egg sets, about 30 minutes.
5. Make the easiest guacamole ever – smash avocado and salsa together (include some plain yogurt for additional tang).
6. Substitute avocados for butter in baked goods.
7. Grill avocados by brushing them with olive oil and place on the grill for 1-2 minutes.
8. Use avocado in place of mayo to make deviled egg.
9. Make the easiest baby food ever, mashed avocado!
10. Or just spread it on some toast and enjoy!