When we think of guacamole, we automatically picture a tasty dip to eat with our favorite Mexican food. But this topping has so many health benefits that it should play a more central role in your diet than just as a side dish. It is packed with healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which all aid in improving our digestion, heart health and immune systems.
What's the secret magic of guacamole? Its main ingredient: the avocado. Sure, there is often some additional seasonings added in, like lemon or lime juice, onion and cilantro, but it's the mashed avocado whose nutritional qualities pack a punch. Plus, it only takes minutes to prepare, which is crucial in today's fast-paced world, where maintaining a well-balanced diet can be challenging.
Guacamole's Health Benefits
This dip is special because it will not only enhance the flavor of your next meal but will also do wonders for your overall health. Below are 5 nutritional reasons to incorporate guacamole into your diet on a regular basis.
Guacamole contains fiber, which digests slowly in your body, which makes you feel full longer. This means eating less between meals. It is estimated that one cup of guacamole contains 15.4 grams of fiber. This is a large amount toward the daily minimum of fiber you need. Sources say that women need 21-25 grams per day while men need between 30-38 grams of fiber per day.
Fiber also prevents constipation by helping food move through the intestines. It may also help reduce the risk of hemorrhoids. Fiber can also prevent cholesterol build-up in your arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease and heart attack.
2. Healthy Fats
The avocados in guacamole are a great source of healthy fats, called monounsaturated fats. Since these fats digest slowly, like fiber, you feel full for a longer time period, which means less snacking between meals. A diet with monounsaturated fats will also help lower cholesterol, which, similar to a fiber-rich diet, may lower the risk of developing heart disease and heart attack. In fact, studies have shown that eating avocados can specifically reduce LDL (or "bad" cholesterol) levels while increasing HDL ("good" cholesterol) levels.
Sources say that these healthy fats also help control blood sugar. Plus, when eating avocado-rich guacamole a few hours before a workout, its healthy fats will provide you with energy.
Avocados contain plant chemicals, called phytochemicals, many of which are antioxidants. These protect your body from harmful chemicals called free radicals and prevent chronic diseases. The avocados in guacamole contain carotenoid phytochemicals called beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein. Beta-carotene may boost your immune system and reduce your risk of developing cancer and heart disease. Meanwhile, zeaxanthin and lutein guard your eyes against harmful light wavelengths and could help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
We all know that vitamins are good for us. So why not get them from something as tasty as guacamole? One cup of guacamole is said to contain 4.76 milligrams of vitamin E, which, similar to antioxidants, helps rid the body of harmful free radicals that can increase your risk of getting sick and developing heart disease or cancer. The recommended daily dosage of vitamin E is 15 milligrams.
Guacamole is also good source of vitamin C, which helps keep your immune system strong and can prevent and fight infections. Additionally, there are about 4 milligrams of niacin in one cup of guacamole, which is a B vitamin that is crucial for the normal function of the digestive system. An estimated 14 to 16 milligrams of Niacin is needed each day.
Additionally, one avocado contains about 42.2mcg of vitamin K, or about 35 percent of the recommended daily amount for men and around 47 percent for women. Vitamin K is vital for blood clotting as it helps in the formation of platelets, which aids in preventing excessive bleeding from injuries. Vitamin K also increases your body's capability to absorb calcium, which may help prevent osteoporosis.
Guacamole is also rich in potassium. One cup of guacamole contains 1,116 milligrams of potassium. This is an estimated one-fourth of the 4,700 milligrams of potassium that you need on a daily basis. Potassium is critical for a normal heart beat. It also helps regulate blood pressure
Pass the Guacamole, Please!
So whether you have guacamole with your next burrito, spread it on a piece of toast, or just use it for a veggie dip, the important thing is to eat it! Its combination of healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals will give your nutrition a significant boost. It will also help with weight loss and maintenance, two aspects that are crucial in improving overall health.
Most importantly, the avocados may also reduce your risk of developing heart disease, strokes and cancer. . With heart disease being the number one cause of death worldwide, it's critical to do all we can to help minimize our own risk factors that contribute to it. Though genetics play a huge role in determining our health, adding avocados into your diet is an easy (and tasty) way to improve your overall cholesterol, which is a serious factor in heart health.
Just mind your portion size. After all, moderation is key. Too much of anything, even the almighty guacamole, is never a good thing.