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I love ‘em. You love ‘em. We all love ‘em. We’re talking about avocados here… They’ve been a trendy fruit for a while now. Yes, I did say a trendy fruit. Americans started obsessing over superfoods in the 2000’s and avocados definitely became one of these super foods. Avocados them became super stars when they were marketed as having “good”, healthy fats versus “bad” fats. American’s get their avocados mostly from California and Mexico, as well as some parts of Central and South America, like the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Chile. They’re available all year round, but are in their prime during the months of spring through fall.
If you haven’t found yourself seeking out avocados at the grocery store or farmer’s market, maybe you aren’t sure what they look like when they’re not mashed up into guacamole? There are actually many different types of avocados. Each kind varies in color, size, and shape. Most avocados are pear-shaped or round. They come in varying shades of green, ranging from pale green to dark green (almost black), when fully ripe. The most popular types of avocado are Hass avocado, which are round with black skin.
One of the biggests reasons why avocados are so well-known for being nutritious is because of their wonderful healthy fat content. Avocados are super heart-healthy. About ⅓ of a medium sized avocado (or 50 grams) contains about 6 grams of mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which are “good” fats. “Good” fats are the fats that can lower bad blood cholesterol values, like total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Forget about buying low-fat foods and products. Instead opt from healthy fats from avocado, nuts, seeds, and oils. Studies show that replacing saturated fats or “bad” fats with these unsaturated or “good” fats, while staying within calorie needs, helps to reduce the risk of heart disease than simply lowering total fat intake altogether.
As I mentioned earlier, avocados is technically considered a fruit, rather than a vegetable or fat. Despite having a high fat content (though remember, it’s “good” fat), avocados have so many other wonderful nutrients, just as a fruit would. Avocados contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, like potassium, vitamin E, folate, and vitamin K. They also contain lots of fiber, making them a food that helps to keep you full and satisfied. Each serving contains over 3 grams of fiber. This also makes them a great food for those maintaining their weight or looking for some weight loss. However be cautious of the amount of avocado you’re eating. Because avocados are high in “good” fats, this means that they are also high in calories, since fats have a higher calorie content per gram compared to carbohydrates and protein. A serving of avocado is about ⅓ of a medium avocado (or 50 grams).
So whether you’re adding them to a sandwich or burger, mashing them into a guacamole or adding them to a salad, I’d recommend adding avocado to your next meal. My favorite way to eat avocado is to add it to my morning smoothie. It helps to make it creamy, adds healthy fats and nutrients, plus is takes on other flavors within the smoothie.
What’s your favorite way to eat avocado? Leave a comment below with your favorite avocado-licious recipe.
Ashley is a registered dietitian and a licensed dietitian in the state of Texas. She graduated from Framingham State University, majoring in nutrition and dietetics and she completed her dietetic internship at the University of Connecticut. (more)