With Labor Day weekend here, chances are you’ll be eating avocados in some form, such as a delicious guacamole dip, sliced on sandwiches or burgers, or in a salad. Not only will your taste buds benefit from eating creamy avocados, so will your heart and other organs. Avocados are an excellent source of good fat, fiber, potassium and other nutrients that boost your health.
Kat Benson, a registered dietitian with Top Nutrition Coaching, tells USA Today that avocados contain:
• Healthy, unsaturated fats that are good for your heart.
• Micronutrients like potassium and other vitamins and minerals.
• Fiber. “Avocados are a surprising source of fiber,” says Benson. “Half a medium avocado contains around five grams of dietary fiber. And because fat helps increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, K and E), they make for a great addition to any vegetable-rich meal or part of a balanced snack.”
In addition, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating two or more servings of avocado a week was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Also, a natural plant-derived substance found in abundance in avocados may reduce anxiety without the negative side effects of drugs, according to new research by the Weizman Institute. The compound, called beta-sitosterol, was found to reduce anxiety in mice.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says that avocados are compatible for low-carbohydrate diets because they contain more good fat than carbs. The heart-friendly fat found in avocados does not increase blood cholesterol and provides more satiety than traditional cholesterol-lowering diets that are often low in fat. Avocados are one of the highest-fat plant foods, which make them ideal for vegetarians and vegans.
But avocados do pack a caloric punch. A whole medium avocado contains 240 calories. But along with these calories, you are getting 13 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of protein, 22 grams of fat — most of which is monounsaturated, and 10 grams of fiber.
Depending on the variety, avocados may be round or pear-shaped, green or black, and small or large. The popular Hass avocado, with its dark, bumpy skin, is usually available year-round. If you ae planning to use the fruit immediately, choose an avocado that is ripe and yields to pressure when squeezed.
You can store unripe avocados at room temperature, and they should ripen within a couple of days. The flesh of avocados turns brown when exposed to air, so you can cover it with lemon or lime juice or wrap it tightly in plastic, stored in the refrigerator to reduce oxygen exposure.
Beyond the traditional guacamole, here are 54 Avocado Recipes for Every Meal from Love & Lemons.
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