Athlete Superfood Series A-Z: Avocado

September 27, 2011

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We recently discussed the importance of including healthy fats in your diet. A super easy way to satisfy that recommendation is by incorporating the ultra-nutritious avocado into your meal plan.

First and foremost, avocados are an extremely concentrated source of energy and nutrients. Although they are high in calories and fat (approximately 290 calories and 24 grams of fat in an average-sized avocado), most of their fat content is from "good" types—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated—which help lower bad cholesterol, promote lean muscle growth and keep you satiated longer.

One avocado packs an inordinate amount of energy, to boot. It contains up to 15 grams of fiber, more than any other fruit, and nearly 20 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including beta-carotene and vitamins C, E and B6. Avocados are also loaded with critical electrolytes like potassium (60 percent more than a banana) and magnesium, which contribute to proper cell and muscle function—vital for an athlete.

One 2005 study, reported in the Journal of Nutrition, found that avocados aid in the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients, such as cancer-fighting cartenoids and lycopene from other fruits and veggies. In other words, avocados have the ability to maximize the nutritional benefits of your entire meal.

For best results, try eating one-third to a half of an avocado a day. At breakfast, mix in a few slices with an egg white omelet, or eat as a side dish. With lunch or dinner, an avocado addition makes for a killer salad or sandwich (try it as a substitute for cheese or mayo). For a snack, spread it on whole grain toast.

Since avocados are high in calories, be careful to adjust your diet accordingly to avoid weight gain.

Source:  wholeliving.com, avocado.org
Photo:  bigislandchronicle.com

Maddy Lucier
- As an associate editor for STACK, Maddy creates lifestyle, social media, gear and nutrition content for our audience of athletes. She played volleyball and basketball...
Maddy Lucier
- As an associate editor for STACK, Maddy creates lifestyle, social media, gear and nutrition content for our audience of athletes. She played volleyball and basketball...
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