Avocados are a heart-healthy food, proven to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association’s article, An Avocado a Day May Keep Bad Cholesterol At Bay:
“Eating one avocado a day as part of a heart healthy, cholesterol-lowering moderate-fat diet can help improve bad cholesterol levels in overweight and obese individuals, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Researchers evaluated the effect avocados had on traditional and novel cardiovascular risk factors by replacing saturated fatty acids from an average American diet with unsaturated fatty acids from avocados.“
What some find confusing about declaring avocado a heart-healthy food is that avocados are, in fact, high in fat. But it’s the healthy kind of fat, monounsaturated fat—not unhealthy saturated fat—and monounsaturated is the “good” fat that helps lower bad cholesterol. Further, Medical News Today’s 12 Health Benefits of Avocado explains, “Avocados are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.”
One thing to watch out for when adding avocado to your diet is calories. According to WebMD’s All About Avocados, “Avocados have a lot of calories. The recommended serving size is smaller than you’d expect: 1/3 of a medium avocado (50 grams 0r 1.7 ounces). One ounce has 50 calories. That said, they’re heart-healthy calories and if you replace a sandwich spread like butter or mayonnaise with avocado or guacamole, it’s a far healthier choice.
I’ve started to make my own guacamole, which is surprisingly easy. The only tricky part is the dicing; I don’t love dicing vegetables but I love guacamole more so I’m willing to slice and dice for this tasty, healthy treat. Of course you can scoop up your homemade, healthy guacamole with multi-grain, low-salt chips for a healthy snack, but it’s also great on sandwiches and with eggs or even in salad or spread on toast. And adding avocado slices to sandwiches and salads if you don’t have time to whip up a batch of guacamole is also a great option.
Recipes abound for easy guacamole. Some use lemon instead of lime juice. Some add jalapeno peppers or hot sauce. I like mine cilantro-heavy with no heat, and I start with fresh already-diced white onion from Trader Joe’s (it’s far easier and faster to chop already-diced onion into very small dice!)
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/2 firm tomato finely diced
- 1/4 white onion finely diced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro finely diced
- 1/2 fresh lime juiced
- Optional salt and pepper to taste
Dice the vegetables and juice the lime.
Open the avocado and scoop out the flesh into the serving bowl. Mash the avocado flesh with a fork.
Add and stir in the lime juice. Then add and stir in all the other ingredients. Stir until well blended.
Enjoy right away or store in the refrigerator.
A trick is to put a plastic wrap that touches the guacamole so it doesn’t brown because of contact with air.