May 21, 2010

Nutrition and Avocados

Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.

The American Heart Association (AHA) Dietary Guidelines recommend a diet that has at least five servings of fruits and vegetables (but I say eat as many different vegetables as possible and munch on fruit twice a day), contains up to 30% of calories from fats (primarily unsaturated) and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fats and sodium but rich in potassium. Avocados can help you meet the AHA dietary guidelines because they have both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat and contain potassium.

Be careful not to spoil efforts to include avocado as a healthy part of your nutrition plan. Turning avocado into guacamole then consuming massive amounts along with taco chips and full-fat sour cream is not a good move. One serving is just 1/5 of a medium-sized avocado. This is important since exceeding the suggested serving size will affect the amount of nutrients you're consuming.

Overeating leads to fat storage and weight gain in addition to a multitude of health problems that arise as a result of extra stress placed on the body. Stress is felt when your systems are forced to work overtime metabolizing
any food that's been consumed but isn't required for proper functioning of the body. Taco chips and regular sour cream are loaded with fat and calories that will be stored by the body if not actively burned off.

It's easy to end up devouring a day's worth of calories in just chips and dip alone, since these foods are mostly full of high calorie fats. Fat is what makes foods taste so good, but fat is also very calorie dense. As noted above, the AHA recommends you get 30% of your calories from fat. Consuming only 20% fat calories (all calories coming from "good" fats) is however, quickly becoming a popular notion in the health and wellness industry.