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Nutrition

An avocado a day is good for your health

medblog-avocado
Eating an avocado a day is good for your health.
Avocados are a fun food to eat, they’re nutritious, and they’re a good source of monounsaturated fat, which can reduce your risk of heart disease.

A recent study found that LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol was lowered when people replaced the saturated fat in their diet with one Hass avocado a day. The study also found decreases in the LDL particle number and the ratio of LDL to HDL (“good” cholesterol), suggesting avocados have even more cardiovascular benefits. Researchers concluded that avocados may protect the heart in a similar way as olive oil and nuts do in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.

Avocados are unique fruits native to the highlands of Mexico, Guatemala, and the Pacific coast of Central America. They are a staple in diets where fatty meats, fish, or dairy foods are limited; in fact, avocado often is used as a substitute for meat in sandwiches. They’re also used in milkshakes in Eastern Asia.

Generally served raw – we all know about guacamole – Hass avocados can be cooked for short periods without becoming bitter; other varieties are rendered inedible by heat.

Ripe avocados should yield to gentle pressure when squeezed. If they squeeze too easily, they are likely overripe. The flesh is prone to browning, so it’s best to peel and cut avocados just before serving or sprinkle the cut slices with lemon or lime juice to prevent discoloration.

Avocados also are rich in potassium, fiber, and vitamins B, E, and C. In addition, they contain several plant-based nutrients, including:
  • Phytosterols – When consumed in recommended amounts, this compound can lower cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease.
  • Leutin and zeaxanthin – These carotenoids function as antioxidants and protect healthy cells, especially in a person’s eyes.
You can enjoy these fruits not only for their taste and vibrant color, but also for their heart-healthy effects. Here’s one delicious option:

Rice, Avocado, and Corn Salad

Ingredients
  • 3 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced 
  • 1 cup corn, or kernels cut from 2 ears
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Tamari soy sauce
  • 4 large leaves of Bibb lettuce
Directions

Cook the brown rice according to directions. Mash the sliced avocado into the rice. Add corn, onion, and almonds. Mix together the lemon juice, oil, vinegar, and Tamari soy sauce and pour over the salad. Toss and refrigerate. Serve chilled over lettuce. Serves 4.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 349; Total Fat: 13 g; Saturated Fat: 1.4 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.6 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5.7 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 72 mg; Potassium: 495 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 54 g; Dietary Fiber: 8.3 g; Protein: 8.2 g.

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