National Avocado Day - Healthy Fat and Healthy Weight
National Avocado Day
Avocado trees were first cultivated 5,000 years ago, originating in Mexico, Central America and the West Indies. Growing avocado isn’t just good for us, it’s also great for the environment as it is a popular food to many insects and birds. It also creates fertile soil because growing them balances the nitrates in the soil. Fun fact - even though we now are putting avocado on EVERYTHING and going crazy about our avocado toast, using it as a popular spread isn’t a new idea, but is a classic one! Sailors in the 1700’s began using avocado as a spread and called it “Midshipman’s Butter”, spreading it on hard biscuits (obviously making them much more enjoyable!). So today, on the last day of July, we honor the avocado and it’s years of making average foods a whole lot better and our bodies a whole lot healthier!
Avocado and Diabetes
Living with type 2 or prediabetes, it’s important to know what can be done to help lower the risk of both conditions. Diet plays a direct role in type 2. Eating a healthy diet, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise are key to managing type 2 risk factors and healthy lifestyle.
We know that with type two there are many foods we should cut out of our diet, such as unhealthy sources of fats, carbohydrates and foods with added sugar. But, it’s also about what we should include, swap out or add to our diet to make it balanced and healthy. Eating a variety of healthy foods from all food groups is an important part of a healthy diet for people with type 2. This includes heart healthy fats such as avocado.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are a healthy type of fat. Avocados are a great option to swap unhealthy fats with healthy ones. Replacing less healthy fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats, with unsaturated fats, such as MUFAs and polyunsaturated fats, may offer health benefits. They can lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and improve the function of your blood vessels.
Avocado isn’t just a healthy source of fat but is nutrient rich in a number of ways! A serving size of avocado is 1/3 (50 g) of a medium avocado, has 80 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. One serving of avocado has Potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E and Vitamin K, Magnesium and even 5% of your recommended daily protein. It also has fiber - fiber is another important nutrient that may help prevent the spike in blood glucose levels that follow a meal or snack.
Avocado and Healthy Weight
Don’t go overboard with consuming too many servings of avocado in a day or week. Foods that are high in Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are healthy in moderation, but they are high in calories. Focusing on the nutrition in what you're eating, versus how many calories it has is a healthy habit. However, in general you shouldn’t consume more than one avocado a day because they generally have between 200 and 300 calories.
Trying to cut your calorie intake can help you get to a healthier weight. Losing weight can have a big impact on your type 2 and generally wellbeing. When you weigh less, your pancreas is better able to keep up with your body's need for insulin. In some cases, weight loss is enough to restore blood sugar to a normal level, which eliminates diabetes.
The ADA reminds you to not worry if you can't get to your ideal body weight. Losing even 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference.
Research shows that you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58% by:
- Losing 7% of your body weight (or 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds)
- Exercising moderately (such as brisk walking) 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Avocado Recipe - California Tuna Salad Wrap
There are many ways to enjoy the day today with a healthy avocado snack or meal. Here is a great recipe posted by California Avocado.
1 (12-oz.) can water-packed albacore tuna, drained
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 ripe, Fresh California Avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into quarters
4 romaine lettuce leaves
- In a medium bowl combine the tuna, olives, red onion, parsley, mayonnaise, lemon juice and oregano until well combined.
- To assemble, lay one tortilla on a flat surface and lightly mash one quarter of the avocado in the middle of the tortilla. Then layer on 2 tomato slices, a heaping half cup of the tuna mixture and a few lettuce leaves.
- To roll, first fold in the sides, then roll from the bottom up keeping the sides tucked in tight. Repeat with remaining wraps. Cut wraps in half and serve.
*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.
Enjoy an avocado or discover a new recipe and share it on social media using #NationalAvocadoDay to post and while you’re at it - every day, people around the world connect in our active community to share advice and get support. They help each other live a healthier, fuller life, despite their chronic conditions. It is a movement changing lives across the globe. Join us by clicking here.