Most people seem to love avocados! The good news is that they are actually really good for you. Fortunately, avocados are available all year. They can be on the pricey side but there are often specials or you can ensure you are storing them well so you can extend the use over a week – covering the exposed surface with lemon/vinegar or cling wrap will reduce the occurrence of brown spots.
Avocados assist in maintaining a healthy weight. This is largely due to their fat content. The healthy fats play a role in regulating appetite by releasing hormones that signal fullness. So those who are watching their weight do not need to cut out avocado! Throw it in a salad to make it more filling and to add some healthy fats to your diet.
This brings us back to healthy fats. The majority of fat found in avocados is monounsaturated fat which is fantastic for heart health! Not only do avocados lower LDL cholesterol (the unhealthy type) but they help to raise HDL cholesterol levels (healthy). The fibre and plant sterols found in avocado also assist in keeping your heart healthy and cholesterol levels within ideal ranges. By following a healthy diet and incorporating avocado and other healthy fats in to your diet, you can reduce your risk of heart disease – particularly important if there is a family history.
Avocados are a good source of fibre and on average will provide you with around 4g per 100g – a reasonable amount of your daily recommendations in one hit. Most of the fibre is soluble fibre.
Absorption of carotenoids
Another interesting fact is that avocado can aid in the absorption of carotenoids which are found in other vegetables such as carrot. Therefore adding avocado to a dish with other vegetables, for instance a salad, will increase the amount of carotenoids absorbed. The more avocado that is added, the more carotenoids are absorbed.
A source of antioxidants
The green and yellow pigments in avocado come from antioxidants – chlorophyll, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. The other antioxidant they contain is vitamin E. In order for the vitamin E to work best it needs vitamin C of which avocado is a good source. Antioxidants will help maintain your eye health and may also reduce the risk of some lifestyle related disease. They also prevent avocados from going off quickly.
Avocados are a great source of folate which is important for women one month prior to and three months post pregnancy. Folate helps fuel healthy growth and development of cells.
Ways to use avocado
• Use as a spread on wraps/sandwiches instead of margarine or butter
• Put on toast with eggs
• Have cut up in salad
• Add to Mexican dishes like tacos and burritos
• Add ¼ to a smoothie
• Have on Vita-Weat or Ryvita crackers with sliced tomato
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist.
If you have questions about foods to boost your mood or other nutrition related issues, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.