Is guacamole good for you?
Guacamole is a Mexican dip that is traditionally made by mashing ripe avocados and sea salt in a mortar and pestle. In most cases, other ingredients such as lime juice, garlic, onions, tomatoes, peppers and cilantro are added. It is usually eaten with tortilla chips but can be also be used as a topping for salads or eaten as a side with lots of other dishes.
Provided that is made correctly, guacamole is extremely good for you and brings with it a lot of health benefits. This is mainly because avocados are incredibly nutritious and their consumption is highly recommended by nutritionists.
A one cup serving of avocados provides you with the following RDA’s (recommended daily allowances):
- 25% vitamin C
- 16% vitamin E
- 39% vitamin K
- 19% vitamin B6
- 30% folate
- 21% potassium
- 11% magnesium
- 11% manganese
- 40% dietary fiber
These vitamins and minerals are important for a multitude of bodily functions. Potassium lowers blood pressure levels and improves heart health. In fact, even though bananas are well known for being a great source of potassium, avocados contain more than they do.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is required for the absorption of iron, wound healing and immune function. Vitamin E repairs damaged skin and balances hormones. And vitamin K is important for blood clotting and bone health. Avocados also contain carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are essential for eye health.
Despite what a lot of people think, the avocado is actually a fruit and not a vegetable. However unlike most common fruits, avocados are mainly made up of fat. Most of the fat is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also found in olives.
Inflammation in the body is the primary cause for a lot of health problems and studies such as this and this have found that the consumption of oleic acid is linked to reduced inflammation, which means that the consumption of avocados is great for fighting it.
Avocados also contain a lot of fiber. It comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel like consistency. It helps to lower cholesterol and controls blood sugar. It also feeds the friendly bacteria in our intestines, which is important for gut health.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stools and helps food pass through our digestive systems. Avocados contain around 25% soluble and 75% insoluble fiber.
Numerous studies have also shown that eating avocados can lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. In fact avocado consumption reduces total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, whilst increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels. This is important as both high blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease.
This study analyzed data from the dietary habits of 17,567 people in the US, aged 19 years and above. The results showed that avocado consumers had lower body weights, BMI’s and waist circumferences and were 50% less likely to have metabolic syndrome. The study concluded that avocado consumption is associated with improved nutrient intake and overall diet quality.
Another study found that adding avocado to food can increase the absorption of certain nutrients. This is because certain vitamins such as A and E are fat soluble, so combining them with fat assists with their absorption. For this reason, its a good idea to eat veggies together with a fat rich food such as guacamole.
Avocados are a high calorie food, primarily because of the large amount of fat that they contain. For this reason, some people tend to avoid them entirely as they fear eating them will lead to weight gain. However studies have shown that avocado consumption could actually assist with weight loss.
For example this study involved 26 healthy overweight adults who were asked to consume a lunch test meal which either had or did not have avocado. The people who consumed avocado had a significant decrease in desire to eat over the next few hours and they also felt more satisfied than those who didn’t consume avocado.
One reason for this could be because of the high fiber content of avocados. This study found that making one small change and increasing fiber intake helps with weight management.
Granted, if you over indulge in guacamole, it will lead to weight gain, just like over indulging in any other food will. But including it in moderation is recommended as part of a weight loss diet.
Lastly, the other ingredients that are used in small amounts when preparing guacamole such as garlic, lime juice and tomatoes also bring with them their own health benefits, thanks to the unique substances that they contain.
The type of guacamole that you eat is important
If you are going to be eating ready made guacamole, keep an eye on nutrition labels when purchasing it from the store. In most cases there shouldn’t be any issues.
However some brands might contain a lot of added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Others might even have no actual avocados in them but avocado based flavourings instead! Eating this kind of guacamole is not recommended as you lose out on all the health benefits that natural avocado has to offer.
Your best option when it comes to guacamole is to make your own batch at home. This is because you can use fresh ingredients, which are super nutritious and you are able to control exactly what goes in it. It is very easy to prepare and you only require a few key ingredients.
- 3 ripe avocados
- 1 ripe tomato, chopped
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, chopped
- 1 chilli, red or green, chopped
- a handful of coriander, chopped
- the juice of one lime
- pepper and sea salt for seasoning
To begin, spoon out the avocados into a bowl. Next, add in all the other ingredients and roughly mash everything up using a potato masher or whisk, until you are left with a chunky paste. Alternatively you can process everything in a food processor. And that’s it, you are done!
This is one of many guacamole recipes available on the internet so you are spoilt for choice. The only thing to keep in mind is to try and use all natural ingredients like we have in the recipe above.
Guacamole is super nutritious and is highly recommended as part of an otherwise healthy diet. Not only does it taste delicious, it is also bursting in a wide range of nutrients and brings with it many health benefits. It is definitely a much better option than many other dips and condiments that people eat.