Avocados have been the darling of all things healthy eating in the media as of late. Even Chip and Joanna Gaines were talking about and had people honking for avocado toast. (Although Nathan likes avocado toast when we make it at home, he was bummed that it beat out biscuits and gravy on the Magnolia Table menu. I, on the other hand, was on Joanna’s side.)
— HGTV (@hgtv) March 28, 2018
But do they really live up to all the hype?
Content below and recipe by Savannah Potts, Summer Intern
👇 Scroll down for a flavorful guacamole recipe
Healthy Fats- Oleic Acid
Avocados are full of fat, but that’s a good thing! Not all fats are created equal. A diet high in saturated fats, found in butter, fatty meats, and full-fat dairy, can lead to an increase in blood cholesterol levels and has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. When you replace saturated fats in your diet with healthy unsaturated fats, like those found in avocados, it can help to lower your blood cholesterol levels and your risk of heart disease. The majority of the fat found in an avocado is oleic acid, which has been associated with a reduced risk of some kinds of cancer and reduced inflammation.
In addition to healthy fats, a serving of just one-third of an avocado provides 3 grams of fiber. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Diets high in fiber help to regulate your blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as feeding the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
Potassium is a nutrient of public health concern because it is under consumed by a number of Americans and an inadequate intake is associated with health concerns. While bananas are considered to be a common high-potassium food, avocados contain even more! One-third of an average avocado provides 6% of potassium needs for one day. High potassium diets are linked to decreases in blood pressure.
Antioxidants and Vitamins
Avocados are high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin- perhaps more than any other vegetable. Many studies link these antioxidants with protection against macular degeneration and other eye diseases. Vitamins E and K are two fat-soluble vitamins that are present in notable amounts. The fats already naturally found in avocados helps our bodies absorb these fat-soluble vitamins.
Guacamole also boasts the health benefits of several other nutrient-rich ingredients such as tomatoes, limes, garlic, and more. My little sister, Karly, has tweaked this recipe to perfection over the years with lots of lime juice and tomatoes. I personally pair it with carrots or whole grain chips, or use it top my chicken tacos.
Halve avocados. Scoop out flesh with a spoon, and place in a large bowl. Add lime juice, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and mash with a potato masher or fork until chunky.
Add cilantro, tomatoes, jalapeño pepper, and garlic, and stir until blended.
(Jessica here) What’s your favorite way to enjoy avocados? In addition to guacamole or toast, I love mashed avocado on turkey sandwiches, and adding avocado to my favorite Berry, Banana, and Avocado Smoothie Bowl makes it super rich and creamy.