Sure, the avocado is higher in calories than most fruits, but we should know by now that low calorie does not necessarily equal healthy. And, yeah, it has a high fat content, but it’s a monounsaturated fat, the fat we should all be trying to get more of in our diets. We need it – for our hearts, our brain, our joints, and even for healthier hair and skin.
The oleic acid in the monounsaturated fats helps to lower cholesterol and has recently been shown to provide significant protection against breast cancer, oral cancer and prostate cancer.
In addition to their healthy fat content, avocados are also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, folate and copper. The potassium content of an avocado is higher than that of a medium banana – and potassium helps in regulating blood pressure.
And I found this interesting: Adding just a few slices of avocado to your salad will increase your body’s ability to absorb the healthy carotenoids of the other vegetables. Adding it to salsa increases the body’s lycopene and beta-carotene absorption.
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, here’s a salad that’s about as healthy as they get – loaded with vitamins A, C and K (more than 100% of the RDA for each), 22 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber. (I’m having this for lunch today, but I’m mixing the salsa with a little sour cream because I’m bad and prefer a creamier dressing.)
Mexican Cheese Salad
Makes 2 servings
1 head romaine lettuce
1 15-oz can black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium avocado, cubed
1 medium tomato, diced
2 oz low-fat cheddar cheese, grated
Chop lettuce and place on salad plate. Sprinkle beans, avocado and tomato over lettuce. Top with cheddar cheese, your favorite salsa and the juice of lime wedges.
ETA: I just this minute read that you can make a creamy avocado ranch dressing (I guess this is something you can get at Chili's) by mashing an avocado into ranch dressing. Sounds good to me!