Lately, I find myself buying avocados nearly every time I hit the grocery store. This unusual fruit provides an unrivaled source of “healthy” fat that I always recommend including in a balanced diet. A balanced 40-30-30 diet should contain approximately 30 percent of total calories from fat. And the more often you can get that fat from healthy sources, the better. Healthy fat in a meal plays a critical role in producing energy, balancing hormones, controlling hunger and stabilizing blood sugar.
Avocados derive about 85% of their calories from an exceptionally healthy monounsaturated fat composition that also helps to increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients to maximize health benefits. They are a good source of fiber, and provide a wide range of phytosterols, carotenoids, and other antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E, potassium and other nutrients that improve heart health. A UCLA study showed that the greatest concentration of beneficial carotenoids are found in the dark green flesh of the avocado closest to the skin.
My favorite variety is Hass avocados from California with their rich and creamy texture. Although I always encourage buying organic fruits and vegetables, thick skinned avocados provide protection from pesticide exposure which reduces the need to spend the extra money on organics. I buy several at a time and choose a few that are firm to the touch as well as one that yields to gentle pressure to use the same day since they ripen quickly.
You can add them to salads or spread ripe avocado on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise. They are delicious mashed instead of sour cream or cheese on Mexican food. You can add avocados in smoothies instead of nuts for a delicious flavor and texture. Below is our favorite avocado salsa recipe that is delicious over grilled fish or chicken, with fish tacos, or on egg dishes. In fact, my husband puts it on almost everything.
Easy Avocado Salsa
- 1 medium avocado diced into cubes
- 10 cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 finely diced jalapeno pepper
- The juice of one small lime
- Salt and Pepper
Directions: Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Also, when you have an extra ripe avocado and a little time to pamper yourself, mash up the soft avocado for a natural skin moisturizer and hair treatment. The nutrients in avocados can not only help you stay healthy on the inside but the outside as well.
Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist, Balance Bar® spokesperson and national best-selling co-author of THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program.