Great Hearts Start With Good Fats
by Ashley Martinez, MFN, RDN, LD
Last Updated: March 16, 2021
Avocado, otherwise known as a green fatty fruit, is a nutrient-dense food containing 8 grams of fat per one-third of a medium avocado. Most of the fats in avocados are considered “good fats,” or more formally known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The predominant fat in an avocado is unsaturated, making it a great substitute for foods high in saturated fat, such as full-fat spreads. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood. Here are some easy swaps and ideas you can use to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet with the help of an avocado:
- Swap in avocado on sandwiches, toast, and tuna salad
- Add avocado to baked goods
- Incorporate avocado into your smoothie for creaminess
- Make a pasta sauce with avocado as the main ingredient
- Make a salad dressing
To break it down more specifically, one-third of a medium avocado contains more than just good fats. Per 50 gram serving, an avocado contributes nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, making it a healthy choice to help meet dietary needs. Phytonutrients are compounds found in certain fruits and vegetables that work as antioxidants, and although phytonutrients are not essential, research suggests they may promote human health. Interestingly enough, the dark green area of the avocado, next to the peel, contains the highest amount of phytonutrients, including carotenoids. As a rule of thumb, next time you shop for groceries, load your cart with brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Green avocados contain vitamin K, folate, and 136 micrograms of lutein (a phytonutrient), making it a well-rounded produce item to incorporate into your diet. Not only do avocados meet the criteria for heart-healthy, but they also are nourishing, delicious, and easy to eat.
As you can see, in addition to avocados’ health benefits, there are several ways to incorporate this fruit into different cuisines. Making at least half your plate full of fruits and vegetables is a good rule of thumb for improving produce consumption overall. Explore and experiment with a few different recipes that incorporate avocados to see which dishes and snack ideas work best for you. You never know when you’ll find a staple recipe that makes incorporating more produce the easy choice for you and your family.
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.