Avocados have been shying away from the spotlight for far too long. It’s time to finally recognise their full nutritional potential and understand how to easily (and tastily) incorporate them into our diet. We all know the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Well, I raise the following, “an avocado a week keeps your health on fleek” (fleek: adjective. perfect; flawless). Yes, I can see that taking off… Let’s move on!
1. Full of healthy fats
Poor old dietary fat has been vilified for far too long! Misleading claims about fats have left the Australian population confused, fuelling the increasing rates of obesity and chronic diseases. Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fat (a heart healthy fat!), contributing to a rise in the all-important HDL cholesterol (or ‘good cholesterol’), which acts to reduce your risk of Coronary Heart Disease. Avocados also provide you with important fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) and also allow you to absorb more of these vitamins from the rest of your diet. It’s important to remember that while we do love the healthy fats in avocados, they are still fats (which are high in energy), making it essential to stick to the recommended serving size (1/4 of an avocado).
2. Packed full of potassium
For many of us when we think of potassium, bananas are the first food that comes to mind. Well, it’s time for that to change, as avocados also pack a powerful potassium punch! But why potassium so great? Potassium plays key roles in muscle growth and development, nerve function and heart health, so as you might imagine, it’s extremely important to get enough each day through your diet. Believe it or not, avocados actually contain more potassium than bananas, providing us with 472mg of potassium per 100 grams (while bananas only provide 346 mg).
Avocados are the chameleons of the food supply – you can work them into almost any recipe and include them in any meal of the day. Don’t like the texture of it? – then blend some into a smoothie with a handful of your favourite nuts, some milk and voila – breakfast is served! Avoiding butter or margarine? – substitute it for the same quantity of ripe avocado (this works particularly well for baking!). Trying to include more veggies in your diet? – slice up some avocado and mix it in – its richness will couple beautifully with your favourite crispy vegetables and due to it’s high fibre content, it will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
4. Rich in fibre
Incase you’re not already convinced, here’s our final reason to love avocados – they are super high in fibre (like all plant food). Just 100g of avocado has 3g of fibre! Fibre is a like a day-spa for your gut – everything functions better after a dose of good pampering! Fibre can even slow the release of glucose (sugar) into your blood when you eat carbohydrate-containing foods, keeping your blood sugar levels more stable and helping you feel fuller for longer (reducing those pesky cravings to snack!). Try spreading some mashed avocado with a squeeze of lemon onto you morning veggie sticks to double your fibre benefits!
Please share with us your favourite ways to enjoy avocados in the comments below!
Article co-authored by Jessica Turton who is currently studying her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Sydney.