Heart healthy avocados

Add color and flavor to your spring BBQ with homemade guacamole.

Avocados provide many heart healthy essentials to the body.
Avocados provide many heart healthy essentials to the body.

With the 2014 polar vortex behind us, it’s time to roll out the grills! While preparing meals for your family, consider including a small dish of guacamole to add color and flavor to your dinner plate. Avocados are the main ingredient for guacamole and are considered to be a nutrient dense food, which positively contribute to your heart’s health. They are low in saturated fat, cholesterol free and sodium free. Avocados differ in size, ranging from small, medium to large. Because of these variances in sizes, it is important to always check your nutrient contents. You can do so by visiting U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) nutrient database.

For a simple guacamole dish for a family of four, you will need two large, ripe avocados, one-half of a lime and a pinch of salt. Tip, select avocados with firm skin and no soft spots, they should feel firm and yield to gentle pressure. First, smash the avocados in a bowl, add the pinch of salt and some lime juice. Blend all ingredients until the guacamole appears to be smooth. Two whole avocados (not including the pinch of salt) contain the following estimated nutrient facts:

Yields: 10 servings (300 grams)

Calories: 500

Saturated fat: 6 grams

Trans fat: 0 grams

Polyunsaturated fat: 6grams

Monounsaturated fat: 30 grams

Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

Sodium: 20 milligrams

Total fiber: 20 grams

Protein: 6 grams

Carbohydrates: 26 grams

Potassium: 1520 milligrams

According to the 2010 Dietary guidelines, consuming too much saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol may increase your risk of some chronic diseases. Due their high amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat content, avocadoes are great substitutions for foods rich in saturated fat.

For additional avocado recipes visit fruits and veggies more matters avocado recipes. For additional nutritional guidelines refer to MyPlate. Michigan State University Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating. 

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