(Originally posted February 6, 2012)
Have you heard that February is national avocado month? Nope. Me neither. I read it on someone’s email list and fact checking disproved it. Maybe it was a possibility in 2008 though.
Anyhow, avocados have gotten abad rap due to their high fat content. When we hear fat, many of us think simply eating fat makesyou fat….but that’s so 1980’s. While it is true that too much of the wrong kind of fat can be unhealthy, avocado doesn’t have those kinds of fats.
What? Wrong and right kinds of fats? Yes. You should minimize saturated fats (often found in animal meats, some fish) and trans-fats. We have all heard how bad factory produced trans-fats (they’re implicated in cancer) but most people don’t know how to figure out how to avoid them. I tell my clients to make it simple- if the package ingredients list any of the following words: “hydrogenated, partially-hydrogenated, or a fractionated” put that box back on the shelf! To vastly simplify…These types of fats aren’t processed by the body well and they may lead to accumulation of plaque in arteries which can lead to cardiovascular disease (hello heart attack).
On the flip side, unsaturated fats like monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fats are fats your body needs in order to function properly. Fats promote satiety (feeling full/like you have eaten enough). So if you pick the right kinds, you can boost your weight loss because you’ll be less likely to eat low nutrient high caloric foods (ie. cookies and chips) which sabotage your weight loss plans because you won’t be looking for more food since you’re full. Avocados contain omega-3, 6, 9 essential fatty acids (EFAs) like oleic acid. EFAs have been proven to boost your metabolism. A faster metabolism healps you lean out faster. Also, the fats found in avocados help your body create a fat burning hormone called adiponectin. They are also rich in fiber- which helps regulate bowlels. They are cholesterol-free and nutrient dense (contain vitamins A, K, C, E, B, folic acid, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium and iodine. They have thick skins and aren’t one of the highest pesticide laden foods. So stretch your dollars-no need to buy these organic.
Now, you might be thinking that with all these vitamins and healthy fats, avocados can probably fight and prevent problems like high blood pressure, heard disease and stuff so I should load up on them. Not so fast! They are still high in calories…and weightloss is still a numbers game- calories in vs. calories out (ok a little more sophisticated than that but not too much). So I recommend eating them but in moderation. Figure out how much is right for your daily caloric allowance or use your thumb nail as a guide- really. When in doubt, when it comes to fats, a tablespoon or two is fine.
On the other hand, I often see at the market, people buying cakes every weekend for family entertaining, packaged cookies for luncboxes with margarine (has hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oil). Every weekend is far from moderate! Add it up. That’s a lot of garbage in your body each year and it is not healthy.