In case you haven’t heard, fat isn’t a four-letter word. In fact, fats are an irreplaceable part of a balanced diet. They provide:
1) An energy source for low to moderate intensity activities,
2) Padding for internal organs,
3) A building block for flexible cell membranes (think good nerve signal transmissions and dewy skin), and
4) Satiety and meal satisfaction.
The type of fat consumed does matter, and choosing primarily unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and omega-3s) will also promote anti-inflammatory properties in the body. With intense workouts contributing to inflammation (which is linked to everything from weakened immunity to heart disease to arthritis), athletes can benefit from choosing unsaturated fats on a regular basis. One of the favorites? Avocado.
In addition to a good helping of monounsaturated fats (20 grams of the 30 grams of total fat in one fruit), avocado is also a good source of fiber, vitamin E, and the B vitamin pantothenic acid. Most folks think guacamole when they think avocado, but here’s a look at 5 other ways to incorporate avocado into your diet.
1) Cut into slices and place on a turkey sandwich.
2) Mash and spread on toast instead of butter – a sprinkle of salt really enhances the flavor, too.
3) Swap avocado for mayo in a tuna or chicken salad dish.
4) Add it to a banana or papaya smoothie to make it extra creamy.
5) Experiment with one of these chocolate avocado mousse dishes.
Because of the unsaturated fat content of an avocado, it begins to oxidize when exposed to air (which is responsible for the browning which occurs.) If not wanting to consume an entire avocado in one sitting is preventing you from eating them, you have a few options. Citrus juice (high in vitamin C, an antioxidant) brushed on top the leftover half can help prevent browning; likewise, olive oil may work, too. But you can also dice up leftover avocado, place it in an airtight baggie, and freeze it – keeps it perfectly fresh without browning and great for smoothies.