If we’re going to have a conversation about avocados, then we have to talk about healthy fats. In my Practical Guide to Wellness series, we devoted an entire objective to ditching damaged fats. That’s how important it is to understand what fats are bad for you, and which fats are good for you. Healthy fats are critical for good health. Just a few reasons we need fat:
- It is fuel for our brains, and our bodies. The brain is made up of nearly 60% fat, and our bodies store energy as fat.
- We need healthy fats in order to absorb certain nutrients. For example, we can’t absorb Vitamins A, D, E and K without fat, and we need fat to absorb antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene.
- Omega-3 fats, a type of unsaturated fat, are important for optimum nerve, brain and heart function.
- Fat provides the structure for our cells.
- Healthy fats, along with protein, help us to feel full, and keep us satisfied longer, while also helping to regulate blood sugar.
There are a lot more reasons that we need fats, but I don’t want to overwhelm you here. I really want to highlight why avocados are such a healthy food for us to be incorporating into our diets. If you want more info on fats, please click over and read my post about fats. It will give you all the details on which fats to avoid, and why, and which to include in your daily eating.
On to avocados! Most everyone loves avocados. Right?!? They are such a tasty – and easy – way to incorporate healthy fats, and lots of nutrients into your diet.
Avocados are actually a fruit, and are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids (the healthiest kind of fat!), as well as potassium, vitamin E, fiber and B vitamins. In fact, one avocado has the same amount of potassium as 2 – 3 bananas! Avocados are second only to olives in the amount of monounsaturated fatty acids they contain. The oils in an avocado contain oleic acid and linoleum acid, both of which can help to reduce LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. (The cholesterol conversation is one for another day.) Eating avocados are an excellent way to get many nutrients, along with the healthy fats your body needs. Now, you can overeat them, but a 1/2 of an avocado per day is probably a safe amount for most people. Again, this is just a general guideline that depends on the diet and health of the individual person. I have eaten an entire avocado in a day (more than once), and I don’t let it worry me. There are worse things I could be overeating. If you have questions about the right amounts of healthy fats for your body, I highly recommend working with a Nutrition Consultant (like me!) who can give you personalized guidelines to meet your goals.
Ways to Incorporate and Use Avocados
- Slice avocados, top with salt, lemon or lime juice and enjoy!
- Eat as a side with your breakfast eggs to get those healthy fats first thing in the morning.
- Slice and put on a sandwich or lettuce wrap.
- Use a topping for salads, soups or chili.
- Guacamole!! Enough said. Just remember to not overdo those tortilla chips. They can be filled with unhealthy ingredients and damaged fats. Choose a good quality chip, and keep to the portion size. Remember that raw veggies and jicama are delicious guacamole dippers.
- Smash avocados up with salt, lemon or lime juice, red pepper flakes (or any other seasonings you like), and smear that over a slice of whole-grain or gluten-free toast.
- Avocado has a super high smoke point and neutral flavor which makes it perfect for cooking! Buy a high-quality, organic (when possible) avocado oil.
- Use avocado oil for cooking (the same way you would use olive oil). Use it in homemade dressing, on veggies, on chicken or fish – the sky is the limit here.
- Put 1/2 an avocado in a smoothie! This makes smoothies super creamy, and fills you up, too. I know it sounds weird, but you can’t taste it at all!
- Make a quick salad with diced avocado, sliced grape tomatoes and cucumber and green onion. Top with Tesserae’s Green Goddess or your favorite herb-y dressing. This is THE BEST during the warm summer months.
One of my favorites is Baked Eggs in Avocado.
- 1 Avocado
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Crushed red pepper or paprika or other favorite seasoning
- Squeeze of fresh lime for serving
Halve an avocado and remove the pit. Place one half in a ring of aluminum foil so it stays upright. Crack an egg into the center of the avocado. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and favorite seasonings. Repeat with remaining half. Broil for 5 minutes. Top with a squeeze of lime juice. Serve and enjoy!
If you have this along with some roasted or sautéd veggies or some wilted greens, you’ve got a perfectly balanced breakfast – or lunch or dinner!
Do you eat avocados? What are your favorite ways to enjoy them?