Skip to main content

AVOCADOS

We've all heard the term "healthy fats," which is used to describe overt lipids whose benefits outweigh the risks associated with their consumption. Saturated fats, found in animal products and in some plant foods (coconut, cocao) don't need to be eaten since your body can produce them from other fats. The same goes for cholesterol, which your liver makes in quantities sufficient to fulfill all the needs of metabolism. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats provide health benefits and would seem to deserve the term "healthy fats," but because research has shown an association between high fat diets and Alzheimer's disease, too much of any fat may make the term "healthy fat" a contradiction.

Besides, even within the mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, which consist mainly of vegetable foods, major differences in their nutritional profiles exist and not all of these foods should be accorded equal preference in the diet.

Take olive oil. A so-called staple of the Mediterranean diet, which has been associated with health benefits. But are Mediterraneans healthier because of or despite their widely publicized love affair with this empty calorie, which is what olive oil really is? Consider: two tablespoons contain 240 calories, all of it from fat (27 g), and most of it in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Olive oil even provides a little vitamin E. But divorced as it is from its whole food source (olives), it provides no additional nutrition, and is devoid of fiber.

Now take an avocado. One large California avocado (black skin) provides 275 calories, and 25 grams of fat, most of it of the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated varieties, in addition to about 20% of the RDA for vitamin E, making it comparable to the above serving of olive oil. But what olive oil lacks, and avocado has, in sum cases in abundance, are the following essential nutrients:  vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, vitamin C, iron, riboflavin, manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium and zinc. One avocado also provides nearly 12 grams of fiber, half the RDA for women. It is truly packed with nutrition. And one beefy avocado dwarfs 2 measly tbsp. of olive oil, so you get more for your mouthful.


To sum up: When choosing dietary fats, opt for whole-food, plant-based varieties, which offer a plentitude of vitamins, minerals, water and fiber in addition to the hefty source of lipids they provide.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

GRAY MATTERS

I was watching the TV show Naked and Afraid last night as I sometimes do. The show teams together two strangers, a man and a woman, who attempt to survive on their own for a period of 21 days in some remote and isolated region. Some of the locales featured include the Australian Outback, the Amazonian rainforest and the African Savanna. The man may have a military background, or be an adventurist or deep sea fisherman. Sometimes he's an ordinary dude who lives with mom. The woman is a park ranger or extreme fitness enthusiast or "just a mom" herself. Sometimes the couple quarrel, sometimes one or both "tap out" (quit) in a fit of anger or illness. It is satisfying to see them actually make it through the challenge and reach their extraction point. The victors are usually exhausted, emaciated, begrimed and bare ass naked. 

Even more satisfying, at least for me, is the occasional ass shot, snuck in at strategic intervals to boost viewership, of course. It's co…

ON MIND-STUFF

I hereby proclaim that June is meditation month. And July and August and some of September too. For me at least. During the hundred days that comprise summer, give or take, I have taken it upon myself to "assume the position" for approximately one hour each day, usually divided into two 30-minute sessions. During this time I sit in front of a candle flame, let my breathing subside, and with it my mental activity, and literally count the seconds.

The reductive tendency that is emblematic of science has penetrated schools of meditation, and there are many, each of which advertises its particular breed as, if not being the best, at least boasting novel or specific benefits not found in other forms of meditation. 

For example, there is mindfulness, which is the monitoring of thoughts. There is concentration or focus, as on an object or the breath. There is transcendental meditation, which uses the inward repetition of a phrase, or mantra, to "allow your active mind to easily …

S.O.S

To be spontaneous or systematic, that's the question. Or SOS, as the Police sing. Within me these two opposing characteristics are ever at war. I suppose we're all born more of the former. What child is not up for a trip to the candy store on a whim? But our educational system drums in the systematic approach to problem solving. You must progress from number 1 to 10 on your test. Each class is 50 minutes long. Etc. And indeed having a schedule and being methodical can lead to greater material success. If you only do what you feel like you may never study math, or organize your closet. But enslaving yourself to a ritual can suck all the fun out of life. To reconcile the two approaches we've evolved the weekend, which is basically a short vacation from the rigid workday, a time to play in an unstructured way. The athlete has his rest days, a time away from play. The family has the trip to the Bahamas. There are semester breaks in school, though having an entire summer off is…