June is National Fruits and Veggies Month, and we should be paying attention. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), Hispanics face a higher risk of heart disease compared to non-Hispanics due to higher incidences of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. In fact, Hispanics are twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-Hispanics.
The good news is that most of these risk factors can be prevented or controlled by following recommended lifestyle changes, starting with a healthier diet full of veggies and fruits like fresh avocados. Did you know that avocado is actually a fruit? Fresh Avocados – Love One Today® encourages you to take a closer look at the heart health of your family members and the ways that nutrition promotes healthier living. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your favorite foods. Adding healthy, fresh avocados to your diet is a great way to add a cup of color to your daily diet and still enjoy family favorites.
The AHA and Dietary Guidelines for Americans agree that replacing bad fats (saturated fats) with good fats (unsaturated fats), like those found in fresh avocados, is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Avocados are virtually the only fruit with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, also known as good fats. More than 75 percent of the fat in an avocado is good fat. Additionally, healthy avocados are a good source of fiber, which is also associated with reduced risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Family members responsible for planning meals, traditionally women in Hispanic households, are urged to take advantage of National Fruits and Veggies Month to show their love by proactively reducing the risk factors for heart disease each time they shop for groceries.
“Hispanic women should feel confident and empowered knowing the fresh avocados in their shopping baskets are doing more for their families beyond delivering great taste,” said Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, registered dietitian and Love One Today spokesperson. “Fresh avocados are truly a versatile fruit. Not just in the way they can be served, but also in the many health benefits for the whole family.”
Beyond contributing naturally good fats and fiber, fresh avocados are sodium, cholesterol and trans fat-free. They also contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds that can enhance the nutrient quality of the diet, including vitamins E and C, folate, iron, potassium and lutein. Avocados can also act as a nutrient booster by helping the body better absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, K and E.
As radical diet overhauls can be hard to follow, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasizes making small dietary shifts to work toward an overall healthy eating pattern. Simple changes like cooking recipes especially designed to be heart-healthy as well as delicious can help make a difference.
Fresh Avocados – Love One Today, together with the AHA, has created more than 30 Heart-Check certified recipes featuring healthy avocado to try this National Fruits and Veggies Month. Kick start your heart-healthy lifestyle with this Grilled Chicken Breasts with Fresh Avocado Chimichurri Sauce recipe.
No time to fire up the grill? Try the crisp and colorful Fresh Fruit and Sweet Pepper Salad with Avocado Citrus Dressing (dusted with tajin- yum!) or fresh Avocado Poke Bowl. For dessert, treat yourself to Frozen Avocado Banana Palentas—satisfying and made with 100% fruit!
All Heart-Check certified recipes, additional nutrition information on fresh avocados, and tips for incorporating them into a heart-healthy lifestyle can be found at www.loveonetoday.com.