Raise your hand if you know that avocados are considered a fruit? For years, avocados have been well known for their healthy fat and fiber profile as well as the fat soluble vitamins such as A, E and K that some other fruits fall short on.
Primarily produced in Mexico, avocados have been popularized by avocado toast and guacamole. However, most people do not know how to use this fruit in their plant-based diet or know about all the health benefits that they offer. Avocados offer a thick, creamy texture with a very mild nutty taste.
What Are the Health Benefits of Avocado?
A typical serving size of an avocado is about half of the fruit. This serving size provides the amounts of macronutrients provided below:
|Serving Size||Calories (kcal)||Fiber (g)||Fat (g)||Carbohydrates (g)||Protein (g)|
|½ fruit (68g)||114||4.6||10.5||5.9||1.3|
Hefty Dose of Healthy Fats
You may be thinking that 10.5 g of fat is high for a fruit, however, the type of fats that it contains are ones that promote a healthy heart. These include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, with 6.7 g and 1.2 g, respectively.
Packed with Potassium
This nutritious fruit is also a surprisingly great source of potassium. One half of an average sized avocado comes as a close second to bananas as it provides 345 mg whereas a medium sized banana packs 422 mg. Potassium is a mineral important for controlling blood pressure.
Filled with Fiber
Fiber is important for regulating blood sugars, maintaining bowel health, and providing a feeling of satiety after eating. The recommended amount of fiber an adult should have in one day is 25-38g. Since one half of an avocado provides a total of 4.6g of fiber, this fruit is a great way to help you meet your daily needs.
Amazing Source of Antioxidants
Avocados contain carotenoids, which are powerful pigments that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help protect the cells in your body from damage that naturally occurs with aging. Enjoying foods that contain antioxidants can help lower your risk of developing heart disease.
How Can I Maximize the Health Benefits of Avocado in My Plant-Based Diet?
Maximize Absorption of Vitamins: Include avocados as part of a meal
This fruit contains healthy fats that help the body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and even the antioxidants called carotenoids, which can be found in avocados themselves and most plant-based foods.
Maximize Healthy Cholesterol Levels: Use avocado as an alternative to dips or spreads that contain saturated fat
Since avocados contain mainly monounsaturated fatty acids, replacing dips made with coconut or palm oils with avocado based ones can help to lower consumption of saturated fatty acids and thus, improve cholesterol levels.
Maximize Satiety: Opt for avocado in salads, wraps, & sandwiches
Avocados contain both fat and fiber, which when combined with lower calorie foods such as vegetables, can help you feel satisfied for longer. The fat in avocados will also contribute additional flavor and mouthfeel.
Tips For Using Avocados
Here are some creative ideas to help you incorporate the health benefits of avocado into your plant-based diet:
- When an avocado is ripe, then it will feel soft when you gently squeeze it. To ripen avocados faster, use a paper bag when storing them.
- You can tell when an avocado is ripe by removing the stem. It should be light green. If it’s brown, the avocado is probably overripe.
- Avocados can be frozen. You can find them pre-frozen in cubes but if you would like to make your own, just puree the fruit and add lemon/lime juice. Freeze this mixture for up to 3-6 months. You can even freeze a whole avocado!
- You can store a cut avocado in the fridge for 2-3 days. Make sure that it is sealed in it’s own skin with the pit, in plastic wrap, or in a container. Add lemon/lime juice to the green flesh to help prevent browning.
- Add a ¼-½ avocado to a smoothie or into your next brownie recipe for a rich, creamy texture.
- Use avocado as a spread on toast, sandwiches, wraps, and crackers.
- Chop up the fruit into chunks and add to fresh salads, topped on scrambled eggs, or pasta dishes.
- Try making chocolate avocado mousse for a delicious plant-based dessert!
Maximize your health by including this nutritious fruit in your plant-based diet by making guacamole, spreading avocado on toast, or blending it into a smoothie.
In just half of one avocado, you will get a healthy dose of dietary fiber, fat-soluble vitamins, heart-healthy fats, vital minerals and antioxidants important for general health. What are you waiting for? Go get creative with avocados!
Do you include avocados in your plant-based diet? Comment below and share your favorite way to eat or prepare these fabulous fruits!
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