Avocado Benefits - A Zero-Cholesterol Food

Avocados Are a Great Addition to a Diabetic Meal Plan

Bowl of guacamole and avocado
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A closer look at avocado nutrition facts will show you they are a good choice for a healthy diet.

How the Numbers Stack Up

Avocados are free of transfats, cholesterol, and sodium. They are high in monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower blood cholesterols when used in place of saturated fats (elevated cholesterol levels are often a secondary issue in people with type 2 diabetes).

Avocados are also a good source of vitamin K, folate, potassium, vitamin E, lutein, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

A 2-tablespoon serving of avocado is roughly one-sixth of a medium-sized avocado. Each serving provides 5 grams of fat, 55 calories, and negligible carbohydrates. Contrast that with the fact that 1 teaspoon of butter packs around the same amount of calories, but all in saturated fats.

So avocado is a good substitute for spreads on breads and sandwiches.

How to Select and Store Avocados

Avocados are easy to find in the grocery store, but often they aren't ripe. Placing them in a paper sack for a day or two will encourage them to soften. You can tell that an avocado is ripe when it dents slightly when squeezed. Once ripe, they should be used right away.

How to Cut an Avocado

A chef I used to work with me taught me his technique for peeling and slicing avocados. Here it is:

  • Using a large, sharp kitchen knife, slice into the avocado all the way around -- from top to bottom down to the pit. Then twist and pull the two halves apart.
  • Hit the exposed pit with the kitchen knife, digging deep enough to grab hold of the pit with the knife so that you can twist it out (being careful not to cut yourself). Then pull the pit off of the knife and discard it.
  • Score the "meat" of the avocado with the tip of your knife in a grid-like pattern -- a few rows up and down and a few rows side to side. Then scoop the sections out with a large spoon. You can then toss them in a salad, or mash them up to use in a guacamole or spread.
  • After you slice an avocado, they turn brown quickly due to oxidation. To minimize this, sprinkle any unused portion with lemon juice, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Don't Overlook Avocados as a Snack Food

Avocados work well in meal plans, but they also are great for a snack. If you know you're going to have a later dinner than usual, try this for a snack: Mash an avocado, and then stir in one small diced tomato, about a tablespoon of chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and a sprinkle of salt.

Snack on this with some baby carrots and celery sticks to keep the carbs low, or a few brown rice tortilla chips if you can spare the carbohydrates.

Recipes That Use Avocados

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