Avocados may get a bad rap for being high in fat, yet most of the fats in avocados are heart-healthy monounsaturated fats like those found in olive oil and nuts. Due to this high-fat content, avocados help us absorb fat-soluble vitamins like carotenoids. Carotenoids are typically found in orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes and are found in lesser amounts in avocados. Adding avocado to a high carotenoid meal can help absorb more of those nutrients.
One avocado has an ample amount of:
- Vitamin K to help maintain healthy bones
- Vitamin C to fight cell-damaging free radicals
- Potassium, a critical member of maintaining fluid balance in our bodies
- Fiber for improving gastrointestinal health and supporting a healthy and robust immune system
- Pantothenic acid, a B vitamin required for the production of energy from fats
- Vitamin E to protect cell membranes from free radicals
Avocados can be great companions during treatment. A sore mouth is an all-too frequent side effect of both chemotherapy and some radiation. Avocado’s smooth texture and light taste can make a soothing, nutritious addition to meals and snacks.
For those in chemo, eating avocado can be a good way to get a boost of calories on days when appetite is slight, as each medium-sized avocado contains roughly 300 calories.
There are actually over 80 different kinds of avocados, but the most widely available is the Hass variety. Hass avocados are small and pear shaped with rough, dark, brownish green skin. When buying any avocado, make sure there are no cracks or punctures in the skin, and that the fruit gives slightly with a little pressure — not too firm and not too soft.
When prepping your avocado, wash it thoroughly before cutting it. Once open, cut avocado will keep safely for one day in the fridge, so don’t let them linger. Remember, if in doubt, always ask your RD or oncologist about certain foods before consuming them.
Avocado can garnish almost anything, or it can be the star ingredient like in this Avocado Pineapple Smoothie or Bruce’s Avocado Chocolate Mousse. It’s also a delicious complement in this Vegetarian Tortilla Soup and with Black Bean Quesadillas.