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Q: Will avocados hinder my weight loss efforts?

Posted February 04, 2015 in Advice Column, Ames

I have been told they are high in fat. Also, how do I pick and prepare avocado?

A: Granted, avocados are high in fat, but it’s the type of fat that is good for the heart.  Avocados are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, the type of fat also found in olive oil and nuts. Monounsaturated fats are considered a healthy fat because they may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.

Avocados provide other good-for-your-heart nutrients such as folate and vitamin B6, which may help keep homocysteine levels low. If homocysteine levels are too high, blood can clot easier, which increases the chance of a heart attack or stroke occurring. They also contain a good source of potassium – important for blood pressure control.

To ensure you have continued weight loss success, be sure to use portion control as you would with other foods. One-fifth of a medium (1-ounce) avocado has 50 calories and 5 grams of fat.

To check ripeness of an avocado, hold in your hand and press gently – it will yield to pressure when gently squeezed.  To prevent darkening, add ½ teaspoon lemon juice for each half mashed avocado.

Here are ways to enjoy avocado:

  • Add avocado to your next smoothie to give it a creamy texture.
  • Dress up salads, deli meat wraps, burgers or chicken sandwiches with thin-sliced avocado and tomato.
  • Top soup or chili with chopped avocado.

The information is not intended as medical advice.   Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Information provided by Amy Clark, RD, LD, Lincoln Center Ames Hy-Vee dietitian, 640 Lincoln Way, 515-4500508.

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