Avocados, rich in nutrients and something we’d call a superfood most often go underestimated. They’re powerful in nutrients yet sadly underconsumed by Americans. For years, Americans have run from the high-fat avocados with the assumption that if something is high in fat, it’s dangerous to consume. I’m from India where avocados are not a commercial crop. I’d never seen them in my country before so their scarcity made me skeptical yet I fell in love after tasting them and exploring their strong nutritional value.
The truth is the benefits of avocado are myriad. For instance, this superfood is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are extremely beneficial for heart health. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, replacing saturated fats and/or trans fats with unsaturated fats (like the kind found in avocados) can reduce the bad cholesterol levels in our blood.
Check out the benefits of avocados:
Did you know avocados contain more potassium than bananas? Avocados pack 20 different vitamins and minerals and are loaded with fiber. Their fats also help us better absorb the nutritive value of plant food. (See their nutritional breakdown below.)
Avocados are nutrient-dense with over 75% of unsaturated fats. Eating food rich in good fats like avocados has shown to help reduce risk factors for disease and promote overall health.
Containing 80 calories per 50 gm serving, avocados are also sugar-free unlike most fruits, which makes them a great substitute for other fats as part of a reduced calorie diet.
One-third of an avocado provides 3g of fiber, which helps us feel full faster and for a longer period of time. This helps us maintain a healthy weight and a healthy heart.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has listed avocado as a strong food choice for a healthy pregnancy. One serving of avocados contains 10% of the daily value of folate. Folic acid, also known as folate helps prevent neural tube defects (NTDs) – serious birth defects of the spinal cord (such as spina bifida) and the brain (such as anencephaly)1. Avocados also pack 6% of the daily value of vitamin E and potassium as well as 2% of the daily value of iron while assisting in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
The serving size for toddlers is 25g, with 3g of unsaturated fats important for the growth and development of the central nervous system. Studies have shown that infants who are fed more fruits and vegetables at an early age are more likely to choose them later on in their lives. I started feeding my son one-third of fresh avocados since he was six months old. Seeing that my son loved the creamy consistency and how he enjoyed slices of avocados by hands as he learned to pick up food by fingers, I encouraged my fellow moms to do so the same with their children.
It can be tricky to know when an avocado is ready to eat because of its thick skin. Look and feel however are great indicators of when an avocado is ready for consumption.
Ripe avocados should be dark on the outside. Avoid avocados that are still very green – they won’t be ready to eat.
A ripe avocado should feel slightly soft and yield to firm but gentle pressure.
If you’ve been skeptical of avocados like I was, I hope this information increases your confidence and you’ll give avocados a try. I know you’ll be glad to reap their wonderful heart and overall health benefits through your daily diet!
Sheetal Parikh, MS, RDN, LDN Clinical Dietitian chose Compass One Healthcare and Morrison because of the opportunities she has to touch the lives of patients and staff. She believes that the positive attitude can create value within one’s life, ultimately yielding positive results. Life can be challenging but perseverance and alacrity are keys to personal success and satisfaction.
Morrison is a proud part of Compass One Healthcare and Compass Group USA. If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, be sure to check out team member or management opportunities to join the Morrison family through Compass Group Careers. Morrison is a proud part of Compass One Healthcare and Compass Group USA.