Cardiologist, author, and heart health expert Dr. Sarah Samaan offers advice on how to live a heart smart life.See all posts »
Why I Love Avocados
Pity the poor avocado. For all its lushly green goodness, it packs a powerful caloric punch, to the tune of about 250 calories per plump little fruit. With about 23 grams of fat, a single avocado can amount to about one third of our daily fat allotment. As a cardiologist and a strong advocate for a heart smart diet, how can I in good conscience declare my love for such a fatty little character?
In love, as in food, first impressions don’t always tell the whole story. Sure, avocados are caloric, but they are one of our best sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Olive oil, nuts, and canola oil also supply important amounts of these fats, also known as omega-9s. Monounsaturated fats are known to help improve the cholesterol profile and reduce heart attack risk. Avocados also supply reasonable amounts of fiber, folic acid, potassium, and vitamins C, E, and K.
Avocados do have a little saturated fat, which is known to be unfriendly to the heart. However, a single avocado amounts to only 2.5 grams of the bad stuff, or about 15 percent of our maximum daily recommended dose.
While a standard “serving” of avocado is considered one fifth of the fruit (or only 50 calories), let’s get real. Most of us probably enjoy something closer to a half of an avocado when we choose to indulge. At 125 calories per half, it’s a reasonable treat when it’s part of a healthy Mediterranean style diet. Even guacamole, typically prepared with onion, tomato, spices, and lime juice, can be heart smart as long as we forgo (or limit) the chips. Per tablespoon, guacamole delivers about 25 calories.
To learn more about avocados, the California Avocado Commission has a great website with all sorts of interesting tidbits and useful recipes.
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