Eat more healthy fat…ummm…okay?  But what does that mean?  How do I do that? A recent study found that eating two servings of avocados a week reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease (also called heart disease) in both men and women, including when eaten in place of butter, cheese or processed meats.  

The avocado, a fatty fruit which has been cultivated in the United States since 1871, is an good source of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, B vitamins, potassium, antioxidants and fiber. The combination of fat and fiber will also help you feel full longer.  If you don’t have access to whole avocados, most grocery stores have pre-made guacamole, which can be more expensive, but is a convenient, flavorful substitute.  A serving of avocado is the equivalent of ½ of a medium avocado, or about 3 ounces/80 grams.  Olives are another example of a fatty fruit.

Simple Avocado Swaps and Adds

Spread the Bread Raise your hand if you are a morning toast eater—I am. Toast with butter was morning childhood staple and I would go as far to say as that combination is one of my comfort foods.  I’m in the habit now of grabbing a ripe avocado and slice/mashing (otherwise known as “slmashing”) it onto a piece or two of toast. Level up your fiber and plant diversity intake by building an even more delicious toast and add chopped herbs, microgreens, thinly sliced tomatoes, radishes, lemon zest and/or a sprinkling of seeds such as hemp or pumpkin seeds.  You can also avocado to sandwiches and wraps.

Do the Mash Partially or fully replace mayonnaise with mashed avocado or store-bought guacamole. This probably goes without saying, but I do feel the need to point out that fiber remains in plants after they have been pureed or mashed. I only bring this up because I have answered this question numerous times.

Say Cheese….. I mean “avocado”.  The creaminess of avocado pairs well with all the crunchy plants we put into salads.  You can also add diced avocado to a hot soup, chili, tacos, flatbreads and pizzas.  I’ve even seen baked avocados grace recipes sites.  Personally, I don’t care for baked avocado, but some people do.  I prefer to add room temperature diced avocado to hot dishes after they are finished cooking.  

Give me the Sweet Seriously?  Yes, I’ve been making an easy chocolate avocado pudding for over a decade. One thing that I love about this plant-forward recipe is that, unlike classic puddings, there is no cooking involved. Pureed, creamy avocado takes the place of eggs, milk and butter—ingredients that contain a fair amount of saturated fat.  Dark chocolate, vanilla, and maple syrup round out the ingredient list and, along with the avocado, are whirled together for this delicious dessert. The final product is really like a chocolate guacamole. Yum!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.  The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says heart disease takes a life every 36 seconds.  So here’s the takeaway: Adding or substituting as little as one avocado a week for ingredients such as butter, cheese, eggs and milk may reduce your risk of heart disease and may also put you on the path toward better health outcomes.  Plus, avocados TASTE delicious.

We welcome you to join our healthy cooking classes to learn how to use avocados and other healthy fats in your everyday meals.

What is your favorite way to enjoy avocados?