Its green and it’s packed full of goodness, so its the perfect dish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Guacamole has its origins with the Aztec’s of Mexico. By most accounts, the ancient version of the dish was originally made with mashed avocados, chili peppers, tomatoes, white onions and salt. Not that much has changed but there are more versions available today. My recipe for guacamole is at the bottom of this post.
Guacamole is comprised mainly of avocados which are ranked as one of the top five healthiest foods in the world. Although avocado is actually a fruit, it is great in both sweet and savoury dishes. Its ‘superfood’ status has been cast into the shadows for years while low fat diets have been promoted in the media as a healthier option. But, avocados are high in monounsaturated fatty acids [MUFA] that are critical for health and deliver many health benefits.
A food qualifies as a ‘superfood’ based on the amount of beneficial nutrients it contains and avocados are packed full of nutrients that promote many health benefits. Even the perceived downside of it being a ‘high fat’ food does not warrant leaving it on the supermarket shelf. These are healthy fats that actually help you absorb the other nutrients the fruit contains.
100g of avocado contains between 10-26% RDA [recommended daily allowance] of Vitamin E, B6, B5, Potassium [more than bananas], Vitamin C, Folate and Vitamin K. It contains smaller amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, Vitamin B1, B2 and B3. 160 calories, 2 grams of protein, 15 grams of healthy fat, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 7 of which is fibre. No cholesterol or sodium. The fatty acids are oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat like that in olive oil. These fats help with absorption of fat soluble vitamins and antioxidants. Speaking of antioxidants, avocados contain carotenoids including lutein and zeaxanthin.
Here are just some of the health benefits of consuming nutrient dense avocados:
Improved heart health: By balancing blood lipids with high monounsaturated fatty acids [oleic acids]. Vitamin K helps with circulation and fibre, magnesium and potassium are shown to reduce blood pressure.
Healthy skin and eyes: Again the healthy fats lubricate and nourish the skin from the inside out. The carotenoids including lutein and zeaxanthin are very beneficial for eye health. Avocados are anti-aging.
Helps weight loss: Yes, you heard it right! Diets that are lower in carbohydrates (especially glycaemic loaded foods like refined carbs) and higher in healthy fats, are known to accelerate weight loss. So, if you are looking to lose weight fast, eat more avocados and less white refined carbs. Also, fats are more filling and increase satiety hormones that help you eat less overall.
Improved digestive health: Avocados are rich in fibre that feed your beneficial gut bacteria and bulk up the stool. This makes for easier transit through the colon helping the body remove waste and toxins.
Protection from diabetes: Avocados are rich in MUFAs that promote healthy blood lipid profiles, improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood glucose levels. MUFA dense foods can help decrease glucose and insulin concentrations for hours compared with carbohydrate rich foods.
Better mood and balanced hormones: Because various neurotransmitters and hormones are made in the body from fatty acids in the diet, you will automatically benefit these systems when you eat enough healthy fats. Considering 60% of our brain is made up of fat, it is not surprising that healthy fats are good for brain function, mood and memory.
The following guacamole recipe serves 4 and is gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian. It’s just like they serve it in Mexico. It works well as a side dish or with crudities or oat cakes. Once made it will keep in the fridge in an airtight jar or container. Just pour a thin layer of water over the top, then put the lid on and pop it in the fridge – this will stop it browning. When serving, drain off as much of the water as you can, give it a good mix and it will be as good as new.
- 2 large ripe avocados
- ¼ large red onion, diced
- 10g (¼ oz) fresh coriander finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Juice of 1 lime
- Coarse salt and pepper
Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit, scoop the flesh from the skin and add it to a large bowl. Add in the onion, coriander, garlic, lime juice and a good pinch of coarse salt and pepper.
Mash everything together with a fork so it is chunky / smooth to your liking. You can also use a blender. Taste and add more salt, pepper or lime to your liking.
Serve straight away or store as suggested above.
Have a Happy and Healthy St. Patrick’s Day 🙂
© Limelight Nutrtion 2019