Daily News: Nutrition

Avocados recommended for heart-healthy diet

Tulsa World (OK)

08-08-13

Aug. 08--It's avocado season.

The creamy, green fruit will be in season through about October, giving you plenty of time to enjoy its many health benefits.

Andrea Reser, nutrition manager at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, says avocados are good for heart health and cancer prevention.

"Avocados are actually very high in vitamin E and lutein, which is a cartenoid that has been shown to lower your risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer," she said.

The fruit is also high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to prevent heart disease, Reser said.

"It actually lowers your bad cholesterol and increases your good cholesterol," she said.

Those who are looking to take care of their skin or eyes would also do well to eat avocados, which are high in copper.

"Copper is overall good for our skin health and eye health," Reser said, adding that the micronutrient is not found on many other foods.

Although avocados are high in calories -- a serving of an apple has about 65 calories, a serving of an avocado has about 145 -- the nutrients in each serving outweigh the risks of extra calories, she said.

"Aim for half an avocado every day, but it wouldn't hurt you to have more," she said.

Reser added that the fruit is on the "Clean 15" list -- or the list of fruits and vegetables that have low pesticide residue.

Reser said the fruit's versatility makes it easy to use -- it can be used in salads, added to soups, spread on sandwiches, made into guacamole or just eaten by itself.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America often recommends that their patients add avocados to their diets.

Kenny Wagoner, executive chef at the center, offered the following recipe for an avocado caprese salad.

This recipe comes from the Haas Avocado Board, tulsaworld.com/avocadocentral

Note: 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.

CLASSIC GUACAMOLE

4 ripe Fresh Hass avocados

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 small sweet white onion, minced

1 ripe Roma tomato, seeded, diced

2 serrano peppers, seeded if desired, diced

Cilantro, chopped, optional

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Peel, seed and gently mash all but one of the avocados with lemon juice in a bowl, leaving some chunks.

2. Gently stir in remaining ingredients.

3. Peel, seed and dice remaining avocado. Fold into the guacamole and serve immediately.

Nutrition information: 150 calories; 13 grams total fat (2 grams saturated, 1.5 grams polysaturated, 8 grams monounsaturated); 0 mg cholesterol; 310 mg sodium; 470 mg potassium; 8 grams total carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 1 gram total sugars; 2 grams protein

AVOCADO CAPRESE SALAD

Serves 6 to 8

3 medium hot house or heirloom tomatoes, washed and sliced

1 large bunch basil, washed

1 (8-ounce) ball waterpacked fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

1 medium California Hass avocado, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon toasted walnuts

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Arrange tomato slices on a platter. Place a basil leaf, a slice of mozzarella and a slice of avocado on each tomato slice. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Dress with oil and vinegar and finish with salt and pepper to taste.

Nour Habib 918-581-8369

nour.habib@tulsaworld.com

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