GOOD FATS AND AVOCADOS

You might shy away from the word ‘fat’ if you are aiming to eat a more healthy diet. However, the body does need some dietary fat to help with the absorption of nutrients and to provide and store energy. There is a difference between ‘bad’ fats – which are not good for you – and ‘good’ fats, which your body needs. Want to know how you can consume more of these good fats? Interested in eating a delicious fruit that contains these good fats – and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals as well? Then eat more avocados!

The Good Fat
in Avocados

One-third of a medium avocado, which is a 50g serving, contains 6g of naturally good fat. This 6g of good fat is made up of 5g of monounsaturated fat and 1g of polyunsaturated fat. Here’s what monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat can do for you:

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats or “good fats” can help improve intake of dietary fat without raising LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association and The Dietary Guideline for Americans recommend replacing bad fats with these good fats. They say that replacing your intake of saturated fat, with unsaturated fat is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease events.

Here’s some other reasons why you need to eat fat as part of a healthy, balanced diet:

  • Dietary fat helps the body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are fat soluble which means they can only be absorbed by the body with the help of fats.
  • Fats give us essential fatty acids which we need for brain development. Our body cannot make some of these fatty acids itself and we must get them through foods we eat.

Avocados and Good Fats: Get the Scoop

The word “fat” has a seriously bad rap. While it’s true that “bad fats” get labeled as such because they tend to raise “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels, potentially increasing the risk of heart disease, there are also “good fats” that benefit the body. In fact, our bodies need fat. Fat is a major source of energy that helps us absorb nutrients from foods — foods like avocados.

Read on to understand the role of good fats, how to tell good fats from bad, and to learn why avocados are an ideal source of good fats.

Fats Primer

Those bad fats you read about earlier? They’re known as saturated (and trans fats), while the good ones are unsaturated (or mono and polyunsaturated) fats. The latter don’t raise LDL cholesterol and are beneficial when consumed in moderation, because smart eating isn’t just about lowering the total fat intake through our diets. Instead, look at how you can replace saturated fatty acids with unsaturated fatty acids.

How Good Fats Help and How Avocados Deliver Naturally

Apart from being a delicious, versatile, and easy-to-enjoy fruit, avocados are a source of good fats. This is important because good fats help the body absorb fat-soluble nutrients without raising LDL cholesterol levels. Basically, it helps you nourish your body without the side effects that “bad fats” bring with them.

Phytosterols are plant sterols naturally found in plants that are molecularly similar to animal cholesterol. In the intestine, research has shown that they can act to lower the absorption of cholesterol. According to the FDA, 2 grams of phytosterols per day may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Avocados contribute phytosterols to the diet. Avocados contain 23 milligrams of beta-sitosterol per 1-oz. serving. Beta-sitosterol is one of the three predominant phytosterols found in plants. These compounds may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

As if this wasn’t enough, avocados are a naturally cholesterol-free food and provide 8 percent of your recommended daily value of fiber.

If you already have an active lifestyle, you’ll probably be aware of the importance of potassium. It’s an electrolyte, something that needs to be replaced as your body sweats during a workout. Potassium also helps build muscle, as well as break down and use carbohydrates. With each one ounce serving of avocado packing 150 milligrams of potassium, you’re more likely to stay full and energized throughout the day.

Avocados also make a terrific substitute for other fats if you’re trying to cut down on calories. Current dietary guidelines, based on elements of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan developed by the National Institutes of Health, advocate eating more plant-based foods. With a focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts, and reduced fats (including saturated fat and cholesterol), the DASH approach, combined with exercise, may help a number of health issues, including weight loss, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and lower risks of hypertension, as well as Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Eating better doesn’t have to involve a compromise — especially when you’re adding the tropical goodness of avocados. Buen provecho!

Eating Avocados as Part of a Balanced Diet

When it comes to eating fat, remember that the body needs some fat to function but you should consume it in moderation. Aim to replace those bad fats with good fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.

While many factors affect heart disease, eating fruits and vegetables, such as avocados, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. Since avocados are heart-healthy fruits and virtually the only fruit with monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, try to consume more as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Healthy avocados can act as a nutrient booster as they help the body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, K and E. They have 80 calories per 50g serving of a medium avocado and the fiber they contain will even help keep hunger at bay. Avocados have 11 percent of your daily value per serving. Try incorporating avocados in your diet by making a delicious guacamole, dicing it in a salad, in a sandwich or blended in a smoothie. Take a look at our recipes to find out more.

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