Foods high in fat are not permitted in a clean diet. However, there are foods that contain “good” or “healthy” fats, and one of them is the avocado.”A medium-sized avocado contains 30 grams of fat, as much as a quarter-pound burger. That’s why diet experts have long urged Americans to go easy on avocados in favor of less fatty fruits and vegetables. But now nutritionists are taking another look. They’re finding that most of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated — the ‘good’ kind that actually lowers cholesterol levels. Thanks to this new understanding, the U.S. government recently revised its official nutrition guidelines to urge Americans to eat more avocados” (WebMD.com).
Here are some additional health benefits of the avocado:
- Avocado is a great source of potassium, which may help regulate blood pressure.
- Because of the avocado’s carotenoid diversity, it has anti-inflammatory properties.
- “Avocados contain ‘oleic acid’, a monounsaturated fat that may help lower cholesterol” (Pyroenergen.com).
- Avocado can aid in the prevention of breast and prostate cancer.
- Avocado can help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- The “good” fats found in avocados are good for hair, skin, and nail health.
- Avocado can help to regulate blood sugar.
Find more nutritional benefits of the avocado here: http://www.avocado.org/avocado-nutrients/, http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-avocados.html, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5
Never bought an avocado before? No worries! Here are some pointers on what to look for when choosing them at the grocery store. “For immediate use, select slightly soft avocados that yield to gentle pressure on the skin. For use in a few days, buy firm fruits that do not yield to the squeeze test. Leave them at room temperature to ripen” (Mealsforyou.com). An avocado is ripe when it is somewhat soft. When buying avocados, I usually make sure mine are firm to touch – this way if I don’t eat them the same day, they won’t go bad! If you buy your avocados firm like I do, you will most likely have to wait 3-5 days for them to ripen. If you want to slow the ripening process, you can throw the avocados in the refrigerator. I usually only eat half of the avocado and save the rest for later, so you can also use the fridge to make sure the other half doesn’t go bad too quickly. Avoid avocados with sunken, dark spots or cracks.
There are many ways to add avocado to your daily diet. You can add a few avocado slices to your eggs in the morning or with your chicken at night. You can make a clean guacamole to enjoy with whole grain chips or throw a few slices into a salad – “Recent research has shown that absorption of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—increases significantly when fresh avocado (or avocado oil) is added to an otherwise avocado-free salad” (WHFoods.com). One of my favorite ways to eat avocado is over a lean turkey burger topped with a pinch of salt! Avocado isn’t only a healthy option, but it can also aid in weight loss. When compared to butter and cheese, avocado is the best clean and “waist-friendly” option! Check it out:
This recipe from Tosca Reno’s “The Eat-Clean Diet” is a fun way to spice up an Italian-style dinner while staying on track!
See more of Tosca’s “Bruschetta with Tomato & Avocado” here: http://www.eatcleandiet.com/food_and_recipes/clean_recipe/bruschetta_with_tomatoavocado.aspx
When eating the fatty fruit, remember that although healthy, they are also high in calories. Practice portion control!
Pictures from: http://www.avocado.org/avocado-nutrients/, http://sigonas.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/california-hass-avocados-are-here/, http://angiesrecipes.blogspot.com/2010/08/avocado-dip.html, http://www.avocado.org/nutrition/