Guacamole: Is It Healthy?

Should guacamole be part of a healthy Cinco celebration?
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KK_13_0417_FNM_346.tif

Photo by: Kang Kim

Kang Kim

What’s Cinco de Mayo without a delicious bowl of guacamole? Avocados, however, are primarily composed of fat — so should guac still be part of your fiesta?
Yes?

The primary ingredient of guacamole is avocado. Although high in fat, it’s the healthy monounsaturated variety. According to the American Heart Association, when healthy monounsaturated fats are in moderation in place of saturated and trans fat, this can help lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Avocados also contain an abundance of phytochemicals, plant chemicals that have been shown to help prevent specific health conditions. The plant chemical beta-sitosterol found in avocados has been shown to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Additionally, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are also found in avocados, have been shown to help maintain healthy eyes and may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss as we age.

To make a traditional guacamole, combine avocado with tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and a touch of salt and pepper. These vegetables, fruit juice and herbs are all relatively low in calories and bursting with healthy nutrients.

No?

If you keep digging into that bowl of guac, the calories and fat can add up rather quickly. For a 1/2-cup serving of traditional guac, it’s around 100 calories and 9 grams of fat. Don’t forget to add the chips, which run about 140 calories per ounce (about 15 chips). However, it’s tough to stick to just 15 chips and stop scooping that guac. Many people tend to eat several servings at a time, which can rack up hundreds of calories.

The Verdict: Guac is a healthy snack packed with fabulous nutrients your body needs. This Cinco de Mayo, enjoy your guac but keep those portions in check.

Try These Healthy Guac Recipes:

Ina Garten’s Guacamole  (pictured at top)

Pomegranate Guacamole as seen on Food Network's Farmhouse Rules, Season 2.

Photo by: Rich Freeda ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Rich Freeda, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

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