The Heart-Healthy Ingredient You Want to Add to Your Meals
Adding foods to your diet that are high in monounsaturated fats, like avocados, is one way to support your heart health. Read on for simple ways to enjoy heart-healthy avocados!
An avocado is a unique fruit and is often considered a superfood since it’s a nutrient-powerhouse. This heart-healthy fruit is high in fiber, potassium, several B vitamins, vitamin E and healthy monounsaturated fats. Diets rich in monounsaturated fats have been shown to lower the amount of “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase the amount of “good” HDL cholesterol in the blood, which reduces our risk for heart disease.
Since avocados are quite versatile, they can easily be added to just about any category of cuisine. Try some of these simple, healthy :
- Add chopped avocados to a spinach salad.
- Enjoy a whole-wheat English muffin with a fried egg and avocado slices.
- Mix avocado bites into scrambled eggs.
- For a quick lunch, add avocado to a turkey-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich.
- Add mashed avocados to a chicken quesadilla.
- Enjoy fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and avocado slices as a healthy snack or appetizer.
- Blend avocados into your homemade smoothie.
- Replace mayonnaise with avocado in chicken or tuna salad.
- Use avocados to make a creamy, homemade salad dressing.
- Use avocado as a substitute for sour cream.
- Halve and stuff avocados with your favorite ingredients and spices to make a hearty snack or meal. Some suggestions include scrambled eggs, shredded chicken, quinoa, rice, sautéed veggies.
- Grill halved avocados drizzled with balsamic vinegar or olive oil and lime juice.
- Make a simple guacamole dip by mixing together four pitted, peeled and mashed avocados, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of minced onions, 1 tablespoon of jalapeño and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
Get In-the-Know About Avocados!
What is the best method for keeping cut avocados fresh? Avocados are one of the fruits and vegetables that emit ethylene gas and ripen quickly, making it tricky to store them very long once cut. You can try using plastic wrap or drizzling the avocado with lime or lemon juice, but it doesn’t seem to extend the shelf life much more than a day. However, another method – placing a cut onion in a small, airtight container with the cut avocado – can prolong its lifespan to three days in the fridge. It may have to do with the onion’s sulfur compounds (i.e., the compounds that makes eyes water when cutting). The sulfur compounds may work as a protective barrier for the ethylene- gas-emitting avocado to delay ripening.
How can you ripen an avocado quickly to use for same-day cooking? Wrapping a firm avocado in tinfoil and baking at 200 F for close to an hour will soften the avocado to use in a same-day recipe. However, expert avocado-lovers who have tested this method share that the taste is slightly different than that of a naturally ripened avocado. Experiment for yourself. Be sure to check the softness of the avocado(s) every five minutes when baking, as almost-ripe avocados won’t take nearly as long to finish ripening in the oven – some say they can soften in as little time as 10 minutes. To cool and use, toss the baked avocado(s) in the fridge after. For less time-sensitive ripening, you can place the avocado(s) in a closed brown paper bag and ripen on the counter for four days; add a banana or apple to the brown paper bag to speed up the process; or fill the brown paper bag with flour. All of these methods speed up the ripening process lead by ethylene gas production.
Did you know? Avocados are powerful cancer-fighters (not just cancer-preventers). Researchers have learned that the fat in avocados combats acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a rare and deadly form of cancer, by targeting leukemia stem cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
californiaavocadosdirect.com, July 26, 2019.avocadosfrommexico.com, July 31, 2019.