Heart-Healthy Guacamole: Nutrition Facts and Video How-to

Friday, February 24, 2012

Who knew that healthy eating could include guacamole, of all things? Yes it can!

Guacamole

Because of their high energy and fat content, avocados used to get a bad rap. However, not all fats are created equal, which is one of the major things you need to remember when thinking about diet and health. Like peanuts and peanut butter, olives and olive oil, avocados are also very high in fat—about 85% – but most of the fat is monounsaturated, which is important for heart health. They are also a valuable source of many other vitamins, minerals, nutrients, phytonutrients like carotenoids, and phytosterols, which have an anti-inflammatory effect that can help reduce symptoms associated with arthritis. (“Phyto” simply refers to “plant-based”; phytosterols are analogous to the cholesterol found in animal products, only they’re good for you.)

So, if you love guacamole, there’s no reason you can’t mix it up yourself and use it as a topping for chili or nachos, a condiment for fish, or a dip for vegetables (or tortilla chips, in moderation, of course). The basic recipe is just four ingredients—avocado, onion, garlic, and lime juice – and you can add others to taste, like cilantro or tomatoes. Especially when consumed as part of a plant-centered, calorically balanced diet, the avocado is a powerful food. And don’t forget to chop some up and put it on a salad: its high fat content will aid in the absorption of the fat-soluble nutrients in your other veggies, giving an even bigger boost to your health.

Here’s to your heart!

Additional cook’s note. My fail-safe recipe is 2 avocados, juice from a half or whole lime, a few slices of diced white onion, 1-2 cloves of garlic, and 1 small or medium seeded diced tomato (still photo). The recipe in the video does not include a tomato, which is optional. Note that the amount of juice in citrus varies widely so if you are making guacamole for the first time you should probably add it at the end, squeezing in a bit at a time and mixing it to your taste. (I like lime, as you saw.) Remember, you can’t really go back if it becomes too acidic; you’d have to add more avocado to readjust the flavors.

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Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist, speaker, and author with expertise in all things food, farm to fork, whether preventing obesity and other chronic diseases through diet or teaching planet-conscious eating. As a health expert and food personality, she brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability to educate and inspire, helping people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Because healthy food shouldn’t suck.

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