Extinguishing Inflammation

You always hear about inflammation and what foods can help with it. Even if you may not know exactly what inflammation is, this doesn’t mean that you don’t experience it.

Much of the population may have something called chronic inflammation and not even know it, because it is a silent condition that can slowly damage the body and lead to more serious diseases. The good news is that lifestyle factors and nutrients in certain foods, like the monounsaturated fats in California Avocados, can help fight inflammation.  

First things first: what is inflammation? There are two types of inflammation that your body experiences: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is the type of inflammation that happens when you get a cut which becomes red and tender, or “inflamed.” This is a normal and beneficial response from your immune system for healing. It is also temporary and eventually goes away. 

Chronic inflammation, however, is a completely different story. Chronic inflammation is when your immune response is turned on, but it doesn’t shut off. You can’t see or feel it and it’s difficult to test for. Your body is constantly releasing inflammatory chemicals which means your body is in a constant fight against its own cells by mistake. This is a systemic condition in which cells, artery walls, and tissues are affected, which leads to advanced aging and other chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and an increased risk for colon cancer.

There are three main causes of chronic inflammation: 

1 Excess Visceral fat – This fat is located inside of your belly, so deep inside it surrounds your internal organs like the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Now, these cells, when you gain weight, act differently; they actually increase in size and this is a problem. When these cells become too large, they start producing inflammatory chemicals which, over time, could lead to chronic diseases.

2 Diet – Your diet alone, even without excess visceral fat, can cause inflammation. High-fat fried foods, processed foods, excess sugar, and refined carbs have been known to contribute to chronic inflammation.

3 Lifestyle factors – This can include smoking, alcohol, and lack of sleep.

The good news is that you can decrease inflammation in your body by losing your body fat, eating anti-inflammatory foods and changing certain lifestyle factors, such as quitting smoking and drinking alcohol. Studies have recently shown that monounsaturated fats can help reduce visceral fat and inflammation and can be found in almonds, canola oil and California Avocados. As an added bonus, California Avocados also contain carotenoids, an antioxidant that helps lower inflammation. Finally, having a healthy gut may also play a role in fighting inflammation. 

Omega-3 fatty acids also can help lower inflammation. 

Below I have the perfect recipe with the key to nutrients to help fight inflammation – California Avocado Salmon Bean Salad. This flavorful salad is perfect for your gut. The yogurt dressing adds probiotics which, when combined with a range of fiber, allows the population of good bacteria in your gut to thrive. One-third (50 g) of a medium California Avocado contains 11% dietary fiber, 30-40% of which is soluble fiber.  In addition to that, California Avocados are a source of monounsaturated fats, while the salmon contains omega-3s, both of which can help fight inflammation. 

Avocado Bean Salad

California Avocado Salmon Bean Salad Recipe


California Avocado Yogurt Dressing:

  • 1 ripe, Fresh California Avocado, seeded and peeled
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley 
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt, or to taste 
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

California Avocado Salmon Bean Salad:

  • 1 (15.5-oz.) can garbanzo beans
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ¾ cup sliced celery
  • ½ cup diced orange bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 ripe, Fresh California Avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
  • ⅓ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 (7.5-oz.) cans Alaska red salmon, check for and remove bones, if any 

Dressing: Mash avocado. Blend with yogurt, juice, parsley, sea salt and black pepper until smooth. Chill for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

Salad: Spread beans evenly on each plate and add a mound of salmon atop each. Mix remaining salad ingredients; sprinkle over salmon and beans. Drizzle with dressing.

Serving Suggestion:  Serve with a big leaf of butter lettuce with a slice of avocado for a tasty lettuce wrap.

Beverage Pairing: Pair this salad with a glass of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay 

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 
Calories 350; Total Fat 14 g (Sat 2 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 3 g, Mono 6 g); Cholesterol 75 mg; Sodium 600 mg; Potassium 850 mg; Total Carbohydrates 23 g; Dietary Fiber 8 g; Total Sugars 5 g; Protein 35 g; Vitamin A 129 mcg; Vitamin C 70 mg; Calcium 90 mg; Iron 3 mg; Vitamin D 0 mcg; Folate 102 mcg; Omega 3 Fatty Acid 1.55 g.

% Daily Value*: Vitamin A 15%; Vitamin C 80%; Calcium 6%; Iron 15 %; Vitamin D 0%.

*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Did You Know?

California Avocados are a diabetes-friendly food. Learn more about enjoying California Avocados with Type 2 diabetes.

As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados


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