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Avocado Benefits

A Great Addition to a Diabetic Meal Plan

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Updated April 11, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

A closer look at avocado benefits may have you deciding to incorporate more avocados into your diet. Avocados are free of transfats, cholesterol and sodium. They are high in monounsaturated fats (which have been shown to lower blood cholesterols when used in place of saturated fats) -- elevated cholesterol levels are often a secondary issue in people with type 2 diabetes. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin K, folate, potassium, vitamin E, lutein, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

A two-tablespoon serving of avocado is roughly one-sixth of a medium-sized avocado. Each serving provides 5 grams of fat, 55 calories, and negligible carbohydrates. One teaspoon of butter packs around the same amount of calories -- but all in saturated fats, so avocado is a good substitute for spreads on breads and sandwiches.

Avocados are easy to find in the grocery store, but often they aren't ripe. Placing them in a paper sack for a day or two will encourage them to soften. You can tell that an avocado is ripe when it dents slightly when squeezed. Once ripe, they should be used right away.

A chef I used to work with me taught me his technique for slicing avocados: using a large, sharp kitchen knife, slice into the avocado all the way around - from top to bottom down to the pit. Then twist and pull the two halves apart. Hit the exposed pit with the kitchen knife, digging deep enough to grab hold of the pit with the knife so that you can twist it out (being careful not to cut yourself). Then pull the pit off of the knife and discard it. Score the "meat" of the avocado with the tip of your knife in a grid-like pattern -- a few rows up and down and a few rows side to side. Then scoop the sections out with a large spoon. You can then toss them in a salad, or mash them up to use in a guacamole or spread.

After you slice an avocado, they turn brown quickly due to oxidation. To minimize this, sprinkle any unused portion with lemon juice, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until use.

Avocados work well in meal plans, but they also are great for a snack. If you know you're going to have a later dinner than usual, try this for a snack: mash an avocado, and then stir in one small diced tomato, about a tablespoon of chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and a sprinkle of salt. Snack on this with some baby carrots and celery sticks to keep the carbs low, or a few brown rice tortilla chips if you can spare the carbohydrates.

Here are some links to recipes that use avocados:

Summer Salads

Avocado And Mango Salsa

Avocado Mayo

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