Avocados are having a heyday. You can find them on Pinterest and Instagram, dressed up with vegetables and spices on artisan breads, or dressed down on whole wheat, simply mashed.
What is it about this fatty fruit? Is it really healthy for you?
Yes – in moderation.
“Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, a heart-healthy fat that will not raise your ‘bad’ cholesterol, or lower your ‘good’ cholesterol,” said Kari Mizgalski, a registered dietitian at Marshfield Clinic.
The avocado also is a good source of fiber. “The combination of fiber and healthy fat help keep us feeling more satisfied after eating, therefore we avoid overeating later,” Mizgalski said.
Avocados are low in sugar, and also contain folic acid, iron, magnesium, potassium, several B vitamins and vitamins E, C and K.
The catch is in the calories
But, Mizgalski warns, “Avocados are high in calories, so watch how much you eat.” A half an avocado is about 114 calories with more than 80 percent of calories from fat.
“In moderation, avocados provide a healthy source of fat in our diet,” she said. “Cut back on not-so-healthful fats, like saturated fat from animal products or tropical oils, and replace them with a monounsaturated fat.”
Mizgalski said there is no daily recommended allowance for avocados, but keeping a balanced diet counts.
“I like to tell people that there are no ‘superfoods’ or ‘miracle foods,’ just healthful foods that can become part of an overall healthy diet,” she said.
Try this recipe
This simple recipe can be made even healthier by making your own hummus with reduced-sodium chick peas or dried chick peas to further reduce the sodium.
Cucumber Hummus Avocado Toast
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 2 minutes
Total time: 7 minutes
- 1 slice of multigrain bread
- 1/2 medium avocado
- 1/4 cup of your favorite hummus
- 5-6 cucumber slices
- Freshly ground black pepper
Toast the bread as dark as you like it. Scoop the avocado onto the toast. Mash and spread it with a fork. Spread the hummus over the avocado, then lay the cucumbers on top. Finish with a light sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.
One serving contains about 277 calories; 30 g carbs; 8.25 g fat; 8 g protein; 254 g sodium; 4 g sugar.