As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados
Despite California’s reputation for a healthy and fit lifestyle, I have met with hundreds of men over the past 20 years in my California private practice who come to me overweight. They are concerned about their health and longevity and they don’t know where to start on the path to getting healthy. Sometimes, even more so than my female clients.
The male clients that I see range from 30-70 years of age, and they are worrying about their health more than ever before, especially their heart health. According to the CDC, the number one cause of death amongst men across all races, origins and ages is heart disease. So, men coming to me worried about their heart health have a good reason to want a change.
That is why I want to address the health of your heart and the changes you can make in your diet so you can worry less and live more. One of the foods I always recommend adding to a heart-healthy diet is California Avocados. According to the American Heart Association, saturated fats increase risk for heart disease; saturated and trans fats should be replaced with poly and monounsaturated fats (the “good” fats) like those in California Avocados. California Avocados can be an important tool in helping men to keep their heart healthy with a healthy diet. Avocados are a nutrient-dense, versatile fruit that can be eaten alone or used in a variety of tasty recipes, all of which can fit into a sensible eating plan.
I wrote my latest book The Essential Cookbook for Men with men’s health in mind. I want to transcend stereotypes by showing that men have the full potential to take control of their health and get in the kitchen. Becoming comfortable with and adapting the practice of home cooking can be invaluable to your health, especially heart health, in a number of ways.
From my years of experience working with clients, what I have found when I do my assessments are several common diet patterns:
- Taking in too much sodium. In fact, the majority of the sodium Americans consume – more than 70 percent – is found in processed foods and restaurant meals. Home cooking can help control that. Good news, though, avocados are sodium-free.
- Consuming too much saturated and trans fat. Meals eaten away from home can be higher in calories and fat compared with at-home foods. Food portions in America’s restaurants have doubled or tripled over the last 20 years, a key factor that is contributing to obesity in not only adults, but children as well. By cooking more at home and substituting California Avocados for other fat sources (butter, oil, spreads etc.), you can feel good knowing it’s a heart-healthy fruit which provides naturally good fats, is low in saturated fat, and is cholesterol-, sodium- and trans fat-free. California Avocados also add a creamy texture developed while growing under the best conditions possible.
- Not eating enough fiber and high-potassium foods. At home, you have options to get creative and experiment with good sources of fiber such as whole grains, nuts and seeds, and vegetables and fruits, like California Avocados. Good sources of potassium that you can use in your cooking include potatoes (especially the skins), peas, fish and red meat and chicken; milk, yogurt, and nuts are excellent sources. When ordering food from restaurants choose potassium-rich and high fiber foods.
So how can California Avocados help with heart health and all four of the common diet problems I just mentioned? For starters, heart-healthy California Avocados contribute naturally good fats to one’s diet and the avocado is virtually the only fruit that has monounsaturated fat (the “good” fat). When talking about blood pressure, people are always stressing about controlling salt and sodium. However, many don’t know they also have to increase potassium to keep their heart healthy. A diet rich in potassium helps to offset some of the harmful effects of sodium on blood pressure. California Avocados contain 254 mg of potassium per 50 g serving (one-third of a medium avocado).
Based on my experience working with men, the first thing they worry about when switching to a healthier diet is that they are going to be hungry. That is why I recommend fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber. Avocados are a good source of fiber (3 g per 50 g serving) and are a great fresh fruit option to help boost fiber intake. It is also a little-known fact that consuming foods rich in fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Dietary fiber also adds bulk to the diet and can help you feel fuller faster, which can increase satiety and help manage weight. The fiber in avocados makes them a satisfying snack.
Now, I want to share with you a very “California” recipe I created…with men in mind – California Avocado Steak Sandwich. What makes this recipe Californian is both the avocado and the fusion of different flavors and cultures, which is the California way of cooking. It is also very versatile and can be enjoyed as a warm salad without the bread, for a lighter dish as pictured below.
Men do not have to continue to fall to the dismal statistics of heart disease. Making and sticking with diet and lifestyle changes such as moving more, cooking at home and including foods containing healthy fats, fiber and potassium can all play a role in improving heart health. Adding delicious, nutritious avocados to a healthy diet can help with these changes. And by the way, California Avocados are in season from spring through fall.