I think avocados have a bad rap. Some people will avoid eating them because they are “high in fat.” Well, this is partly true. But they are not high in BAD fats, they are high in GOOD fats. I know, “good fat” seems to be an oxymoron. Society has us believing that anything about the word or description “fat” is bad. But the truth of the matter is, our bodies actually need fats…just not the bad ones.
Some fat in our diet is necessary for optimal health and even optimal physical form. There are all types of fats that can be in foods….mono- and poly- saturated and unsaturated and transfats. Bad fats such as saturated fats raise LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and transfats are a manmade “fake” fat…and you know how I feel about chemically processed foods. Bad fats also are hard to digest, clog your arteries and lead to illness and weight problems. But monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (Omega-3s which I’m sure you’ve heard all over the place) are the good fats and they raise HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol…I remember this by thinking H is for Healthy), lower LDL cholesterol, increase your metabolism, which in turn will help with weight loss, lower blood pressure, help control diabetes, reduce tumor growth, and improve immune function. Need I say more??
Where do we find these good fats?
Monounsaturated fats can be found in olive oil, canola oil, nuts including almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and peanuts, chicken fat and avocados.
Polyunsaturated (Omega-3) fats can be found in seafood such as salmon, trout and tuna, canola oil, walnuts and flaxseeds.
How much good fat should we have in our diet?
Aim for about 18% of your diet to come from healthy fats, which is about 2-3 servings. A portion of healthy fats is 1-2 tablespoons of healthy oils or a scant handful of nuts. What’s a scant you ask? According to online dictionaries, it means just under a whole. So a scant handful would be just under a full handful.
So now that we know more about good and bad fats, let’s get back to the topic at hand…avocados, which we now know contains good, monounsaturated fats. I think a lot of people only eat avocados when they’re eating guacamole. That’s how I use to be as well. But once I discovered just how much I love eating avocadoes, I’ve been known to sprinkle a half of an avocado with some salt and scoop it out with a spoon and eat it straight up. I’ve also sliced it up and put it on sandwiches. But my latest discovery may have some people wondering, “what the heck??” And that is an avocado smoothie!!! Don’t knock it ‘til you try it. It is the most delicious smoothie I’ve ever tasted…very smooth and creamy and buttery sweet. Even my 4 year old who doesn’t seem to like ANYTHING green, loves this smoothie. Try it…I think you may like it!
Put the following in a blender and blend until smooth:
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1 cup almond milk or regular milk
½ cup vanilla yogurt
Sweeten to taste with either honey or agave
*Note: Since I usually drink this pre or post-workout, I add a scoop of vanilla whey protein prowder (I buy mine from the organic section at Wegmans, but it can be found at most grocery stores or health food/vitamin stores). The vanilla whey protein powder sweetens the smoothie enough to where I do not have to add honey or agave.