Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Avocados: 12 Reasons to Love Them

During the holiday season, it sure can be tempting to overindulge in foods that don't give you a lot of bang-for-your-buck when it comes to nutrition. I have a few favorites myself. As long as you don't overdo it, that's part of what makes the holidays special! Just don't forget that holiday events don't last the entirety of November and December. That means there are plenty of other days and meals to think about! In the spirit of sticking with your health goals this season, I thought I'd share some fun info (and recipes) about a very special fruit: the avocado. Doesn't have a holiday ring to you? Well it is green...

The 12 Reasons to Love Avocados All Year Long

1. One-fifth of a medium avocado contains only 50 flavor-packed calories. They're one of my favorite ways to add some pizazz to the season-less sandwich or wrap.

2. Avocados contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (antioxidants) to enhance the nutrient quality of your diet and promote health. Nutrients include folate, potassium, vitamin C and also lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids) which research suggests may help maintain eye health as we age. 

3. Avocados are one of the few fats that contain fiber--a whopping 8% of the Daily Value per 1-ounce serving. That's about 2 grams. A powerful punch!

4. Avocados can be one of baby's first foods. Their smooth, creamy, easily mashable consistency makes them the perfect addition to your toddler's tray table when they're ready for baby food. 

5. Avocados are members of the fats category--and are the "good" ones at that. They are a natural source of unsaturated fats, containing 3 grams monounsaturated fat and 0.5 grams polyunsaturated fat per 1-ounce serving. According to the American Heart Association, monounsaturated fats can help reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol in your blood when used as a replacement for saturated fats. 

6. Following a heart healthy diet? Avocados have no cholesterol and only 1 gram saturated fat per 1-ounce serving. 

7. Avocados, as a fat, are a nutrient-booster for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, which require fat for absorption. Remember, all fats aren't "bad!"

8. Avocados have no sodium. Use them as part of a well-balanced diet that can help lower blood pressure. 

9. Avocados contain less than 1 gram of sugar per serving. Perfect for just about any meal plan. 

10. If your goal is to lose or maintain your weight, a moderate amount of fat is important to stay satisfied and fueled. It's also important to add the type of fat that does a body good. You might know what I'm getting at avocado! 

11. Swap a 1-ounce portion of avocado (1/5 an avocado or 3 thin slices) for a slice of cheese on your next sandwich and save about 60 calories, 5 grams fat, 5.5 grams saturated fat and 175 mg sodium. What does that mean? The potential of having more success in weight loss and lowering cholesterol.

12. True or false: Storing an avocado after it has been cut will cause it to turn brown. False! You can keep your cut avocado nice and green by following these simple storage tips.

Are you filled up on facts and ready to add avocados to your diet? Reap the benefits and amp up the flavor of your food with these easy avocado recipes: 

Bulgur Salad: My spin on tabbouleh salad with sliced avocado
Fish Tacos with Mango Avocado Salsa: Cool, creamy avocado complements slightly spicy fish perfectly
Avocado Tomatillo Salsa: The perfect green salsa. Try this one for a unique holiday appetizer!

When you know all the benefits and how easy it is to use them, it's easy to love an avocado! You don't have to wait until summer. Start now! Can you make a simple swap?

For more information, tips and recipes, visit the fabulous Love One Today website.

Although I did receive financial compensation for writing this post, all views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely and entirely my own and based on my own unique experiences. For nutrition information on avocados, please be sure to visit the website.