When someone needs to add healthy fats into their diets, one of my first suggestions is avocados.
Why Avocados Are Good For You
- Healthy Saturated Fats. Believe it or not, you need saturated fat in your diet. Saturated fats make up 50% of your cell membranes (and healthy cell membranes means good stuff can in, and bad stuff can get out). They are also the preferred food for your heart, antimicrobial, support immune function, are necessary for your blood to clot and for your lungs to work properly, are easily absorbed for quick energy, and are necessary for infant brain development. If you’re trying to gain weight in a healthy way, you want to add plenty of these to your diet, too.
- Potassium. One of the primary electrolytes (and one of those most often missing in our diets), avocados are packed full of this critical ingredient — four times as much as the potassium found in bananas. This makes them an excellent post-workout snack, and also highly protective against illnesses associated with too much of the opposite electrolyte, sodium. These illnesses include hypertension and kidney disease.
- Magnesium. Another excellent antioxidant, magnesium is a super common nutrient deficiency in America. Check out this list of possible symptoms of magnesium deficiency, and I suspect you’ll be convinced that you need more of it.
- Free of Pesticides. The Dirty Dozen fruits and veggies are considered “dirty” (full of pesticides) mostly because they have a very thin skin. This causes the pesticides they’re sprayed with on the farm to seep into the flesh of the produce, and that’s why you should purchase the Dirty Dozen organic if you can. But avocados are not on the list. This is because the flesh of the avocado is protected by its thick skin.
- Antioxidant Powerhouse. Oxidative damage gets blamed for everything from heart disease to aging. What this means: electrons (negatively charged particles) have to be paired in order to be stable. If one of them gets released from its pair, it sets off a chain reaction of oxidative damage until it gets quenched by an “antioxidant.” Antioxidants can’t work as well by themselves as they can in conjunction with other antioxidants, though—think of them like putting the breaks on oxidative damage. The more that join in, the faster the damage stops. Avocados contain Vitamin C, carotenoids, and fat-soluble Vitamin E, which means they work better than any of these antioxidants alone.
- Tons of fiber. The Standard American Diet, consisting primarily of sugar, agriculture-industry meat, processed foods, and white carbohydrates, is woefully low in fiber—probably contributing quite a bit to the epidemic of constipation (and thus, toxicity). But one avocado contains 9.2 grams of dietary fiber, or 32% of your daily required fiber. Not bad for a single piece of produce.
Fun Ways to Eat Avocados
- Guacamole. Obviously. A great recipe for around 4 people: 2 medium-sized avocados; 1 finely chopped vine-ripened tomato; 1/2 red onion, finely chopped; 2 cloves of crushed garlic (through a garlic press); about 1/4 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped; a squirt of lemon or lime juice; sea salt and pepper to taste.
- As a salad topper. One of my favorite salad combos with avocado is baby spinach, sautéed shrimp (with olive oil, salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning), chopped apples, chopped pecans, and sliced avocado. Excellent with Goddess dressing (Annie’s is my favorite!)
- Smeared on toast. One of my favorite breakfasts: 2 slices of toasted Ezekiel bread with Dubliner cheese (put them in the toaster oven so it melts); half an avocado sliced up on top of each slice. Vine-ripened tomatoes on top of this is optional, but definitely top it with ground sea salt and pepper.
What’s your favorite summer avocado recipe? Post in the comments!
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