For this last week of Heart Health month, I am going to feature some of my favorite heart-healthy foods. Today, I will zoom in on Avocados. I LOVE Avocados, they are king of Omega-9s, a heart-healthy fat. I’m including an Avocado DESSERT recipe in this blog as well.
Why Avocados are Heart-Healthy:
-They may lower your bad cholesterol and total cholesterol
A recent study at Penn State tested three different diets, all designed to lower cholesterol. One diet was low fat, one was moderate fat, and one was moderate fat with an added Hass Avocado. The researchers tested the diets with 45 healthy, overweight adults. All three diets significantly lowered LDL — also known as bad cholesterol — as well as total cholesterol. However, participants experienced an even greater reduction in LDL and total cholesterol while on the avocado diet, compared to the other two diets, according to this study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
–They may lower you triglyercide levels
People tend to know more about cholesterol than they do about triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals. However, many people eat more unhealthy carbs and unhealthy fats than they can burn so the triglycerides remain stored. High triglyceride levels provoke metabolic syndrome, which is a high risk factor for heart disease.
A recent pilot study found that when avocados are added to a burger, your triglyceride levels do not increase. When the burger is eaten alone, your triglyceride levels do increase. How cool, right? You can help combat the unhealthy effects of a burger by adding avocado!
–They help you absorb all the antioxidants from other healthy foods
Avocados can actually help increase the absorption of nutrients from other vegetables! This is a concept known as nutrient fusion. For instance, a salad with lettuce, carrots, some spinach, and salsa is rich in carotenoids (example: beta carotene), which are extremely health-promoting. Add an avocado in your salad, and you automatically increase your body’s ability to absorb those nutrients! Why? Because these carotenoids are lipophilic (which means they are soluble in fat, not water); if you eat them along with a healthy fat, like avocados, you enhance their bioavailability!
So, on your next trip to the grocery store, pick up some avocados…trick your loved ones with this avocado mousse dessert!
Awesome Avocado Mousse (Makes 4 servings)
By Kelly Springer, RD
– 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
-1/4 cup cocoa powder
-2 Tablespoons maple syrup
-½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
-Unsweetened dried coconut for garnish
Blend the first five ingredients until smooth. Pour into 4 ramekins or small bowls. Chill for at least two hours. Garnish with dried coconut.