The Nutritional Powerhouse: Unveiling the Health Benefits of Avocado
If you’re striving to prioritize your health, the concept of eating nutritiously may appear straightforward. However, comprehending what truly constitutes a “good for you” diet can sometimes be confusing.
In celebration of National Nutrition Month and Healthy Fats Day, Avocados from Mexico is enlightening us on how avocados – a delectable food packed with beneficial fats and several vitamins – can enhance our well-being. Avocados From Mexico conducted a survey, revealing that although 76% of respondents recognize the importance of incorporating fat into a healthy diet, fewer than one-third are confident in their understanding of why “good fats” are crucial.
To begin, the survey indicates that nearly half of Americans are unaware that foods containing good fats, such as avocados, can assist in weight management. Nevertheless, research published in “Nutrients” has demonstrated that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats present in avocados can diminish the risk of weight gain.
“Although the Mediterranean Diet is widely recognized, it came as a surprise to 40% of the survey respondents that this eating pattern includes fat intake from plant sources like avocados,” noted nutrition expert and registered dietitian Barbara Ruhs. “The American Heart Association also recommends these unsaturated good fats for heart health. Substituting foods containing saturated fat with avocados is a simple and delicious approach to healthy eating.”
Avocados are virtually the only fresh fruit enriched with good fats, enabling individuals to simultaneously meet their recommended intake of good fats and fruits and vegetables. With approximately 6 grams of good fats per serving (equivalent to one-third of a medium avocado), they offer a nutrient-dense option, making avocados a delightful and highly beneficial food choice. Furthermore, avocados are free of cholesterol and sodium, and they boast nearly 20 essential vitamins and minerals.
Another noteworthy finding from the survey is that while people acknowledge the significance of fat in a healthy diet, one-third of the respondents mistakenly believe that saturated and trans fats possess health benefits. This confusion highlights the need for individuals to strike a balance in their overall fat consumption by reducing their intake of “bad” or saturated fats and increasing their consumption of “good” or unsaturated fats (both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). By replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, it is possible to lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels.
Dietary fat plays a crucial role in facilitating the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K by the body. These vitamins are fat-soluble, necessitating the presence of fats for proper absorption. A single serving of avocados, equivalent to one-third of a medium avocado (50 grams), provides 6 grams of unsaturated fats, which are vital for normal growth and development of the central nervous system and brain.
Embrace the inclusion of good fats during your next visit to the grocery store with this avocado-inspired Harvest Bowl Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification Program.
Harvest Bowl Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/2 Avocado, diced
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 avocados, diced
- 2 sweet potatoes, roasted and diced (instructions below)
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked
- 2 cups arugula
- 2 cups kale
- 1 cup Brussels sprouts petals, roasted (instructions below)
- 2 Honeycrisp apples, diced
- 2 tablespoons roasted pecans, unsalted
- 2 tablespoons roasted pepitas, unsalted
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- In a food processor, process avocado, avocado oil, shallots, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, honey and water to smooth consistency. Set it aside.
Roast Sweet Potatoes
Roasting sweet potatoes brings out their natural sweetness and enhances the flavor. Start by preheating your oven to 425°F (220°C). Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into evenly sized cubes or wedges. Toss the sweet potato pieces in olive oil, ensuring they are well coated. Season with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices or herbs. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Roast in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until they are tender and golden brown, flipping them halfway through cooking. The result is perfectly roasted sweet potatoes with a caramelized exterior and a soft, creamy interior.
Roast Brussels Sprouts Petals
Roasting Brussels sprouts petals is a delicious way to bring out their natural nutty flavor and achieve a crispy texture. To start, preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Trim the stems of the Brussels sprouts and remove any loose or damaged outer leaves. Gently separate the sprouts into individual petals. Toss the petals in olive oil, making sure they are evenly coated. Season with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices or herbs, such as garlic powder or paprika. Arrange the Brussels sprouts petals in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Roast in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the petals are golden brown and crispy, stirring them once or twice during cooking.
- Start by rinsing the quinoa thoroughly in a fine-mesh sieve under cold water. This helps remove any bitterness or residue.
- In a saucepan, combine 2 cups of water (or broth) and 1 cup of rinsed quinoa. You can adjust the ratio to maintain a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to liquid.
- Optionally, add a pinch of salt or seasonings to enhance the flavor of the quinoa. Stir to combine.
- Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
- Allow the quinoa to simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. The quinoa should appear fluffy and the grains should have a slight transparency.
- Once cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes. This helps the quinoa steam and become even fluffier.
- After the resting period, uncover the saucepan and fluff the quinoa with a fork. This separates the grains and prevents clumping.
Remember, the cooking times may vary slightly based on the specific brand and variety of quinoa, so it’s always a good idea to check the package instructions for any specific cooking recommendations.
Put it all together!
- In large bowl, combine avocados, sweet potatoes, quinoa, arugula, kale, Brussels sprouts petals, apples, pecans, pepitas and dried cranberries. Pour balsamic vinaigrette over salad mixture.
- Toss salad to coat. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Happy cooking!
Nutritional information per serving: 390 calories; 16 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g cholesterol; 370 mg sodium; 55 g total carbohydrates; 11 g dietary fiber; 12 g sugar; 15 g protein.
To find more nutritional facts and figures, along with recipes, visit AvocadosFromMexico.com.
Pouring Over the Numbers: How Your State Stacks Up in…Keep reading
Embrace the essence of autumn with our Lattice Top Rustic…Keep reading