We hear the term “superfood” all the time…. it is not really a term that means anything and basically anyone can say it about any food. It has come to mean a food that has a high nutrient density and is supposed to impact health in a positive way. But I also think Graeters black raspberry chip ice cream is pretty super… it’s rich in calcium and it makes me feel happy, so shouldn’t that count? (Never mind the insane saturated fat content. Seriously, click the link and order some.) I have decided to actually look into some of these foods and see how super they really are.
I’m starting with avocados – part of my dinner tonight in a Buffalo Chicken Salad with spinach, broccoli slaw, red onion, tomato, 1/2 avocado, and one can of chunk chicken mixed with buffalo sauce. I topped it with light chunky bleu cheese dressing (just a little!). So good.
Sooooo what can the mighty avocado get you? One regular avocado has about 4.6 g fiber, only 0.2 g sugar, 345 mg potassium, and 6.7 g monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA – the good kind. Dosen’t MUFA sound like a bad*ss?). Plus magnesium, Vit A, C E K, B6, folate, niacin, leutin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid… the list goes on. And if you’re wondering why we need that last one, basically it is essential for life, but it also helps improve your cholesterol profile.
In addition to being nutrient dense, the avocado is 80% water and has a lot of fiber; so even though there is fat, it is comparable to other “diet” foods and will help you feel fuller. Analysis of the NHANES data showed that avocado consumers had better cholesterol, less risk of metabolic syndrome, and small waist circumference. Plus proven benefits of preventing arthritis and protecting your skin! If you’re interested, you can read a good and accurate review of avocados here, complete with a full nutrition facts panel.
If you are worried about the fat, even though it’s the awesome MUFA kind, there has actually been a study comparing people eating the same low fat diet, but half of the people had avocados – there was no impairment of their weight loss! (Peiterse et al, 2005).
Avocados are no Clark Kent… they are a super food for sure. I plan to experiment next with adding them to a smoothie for some creaminess.
And speaking of MUFAs…. I just had a spoonful of peanut butter. Oh. Yes.