Avocado: Health Benefits and How-To

avocado

(HealthCastle.com) Sometimes called the "alligator pear," but more commonly known as the avocado, this tasty fruit is full of health benefits. The avocado is available year-round and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. You can eat the avocado sliced, as a spread, or - in honor of National Guacamole Day (September 16) - as part of a healthy snack.

Nutrition Tidbits for Avocado

  • One medium, 200-gram avocado contains:
    • Calories - 322
    • Fat - 30 g
    • Carbohydrates - 17 g
    • Protein - 4g

Once avoided because of its high fat content, the avocado is getting another look from nutritionists because the fat it contains is the good monounsaturated variety, which can help lower cholesterol. Avocados are nutrition powerhouses containing more than 20 vitamins and minerals, including high levels of potassium, folate, and fiber. The avocado's high levels of potassium - more than in a banana - can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke. The folate also helps lower the risk of heart attacks, making the avocado a very heart-friendly food! And don't let the creamy texture fool you - one medium avocado provides 13 grams of fiber. Now that's impressive!

Ways to Include More Avocado in Your Diet

  • Enjoy Guacamole on its national holiday, or any day, with whole grain chips.
  • Include sliced avocados to add flavor to any salad.
  • Spread avocado on bread as a healthy and delicious substitute for mayonnaise.
  • Add avocado to creamy soups. Either blend it in as you are cooking the soup, or simply add slices as a garnish.
  • Include avocado with any Mexican dish for extra texture and flavor.
  • Add avocado to a tofu-based dressing to give it a rich flavor, as well as a striking green color.
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HealthCastle, founded in 1997, is the largest online nutrition community run by Registered Dietitians. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or dietitian. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.