(Family Features) For those seeking to be more health-conscious, the idea of eating nutritiously seems simple. However, understanding what’s truly “good for you” can sometimes be confusing.
In honor of National Nutrition Month and Healthy Fats Day, Avocados From Mexico is sharing how avocados – a delicious food and source of good fats and several vitamins – make everything better. Avocados From Mexico conducted a survey and found that while 76% of respondents believe fat is an essential component of a healthy diet, less than one-third are confident they know why it’s important to have “good fats” in their diets.
For starters, according to the survey, nearly half of Americans didn’t realize foods with good fats, like avocados, can help with weight management. However, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in avocados can lower the risk of becoming overweight, according to research published in “Nutrients.”
“Most people are aware of the Mediterranean Diet, but nearly half (40%) of survey respondents didn’t realize that this eating pattern does not limit fat coming from plantsources like avocados,” said nutrition expert and registered dietitianBarbara Ruhs. “These types of unsaturated good fats are also recommended by the American Heart Association for heart health. Eating avocados in place of foods containing saturated fat is an easy and delicious way to approach healthy eating.”
Virtually the only fresh fruit with good fats, avocados can help people meet both good fat and fruit and vegetable recommendations in the same bite with approximately 6 grams of good fats per serving (one-third of a medium avocado). They are nutrient-dense, making avocados a delicious food with super benefits. Avocados are also free of cholesterol and sodium and have nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.
Another finding from the survey is that while people believe fat is essential to a healthy diet, one-third of survey respondents believe saturated and trans fats are associated with health benefits, indicating confusion about the various types of fats. Many Americans need to balance their overall fat intake by reducing “bad” or saturated fat intake and increasing “good” or unsaturated (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fat intake. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help reduce LDL, or bad cholesterol levels.
Dietary fat helps the body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are fat soluble, which means they can only be absorbed by the body with the help of fats. Per one-third of a medium avocado (50 grams), avocados contribute 6 grams of unsaturated fats, which are known to be essential for normal growth and development of the central nervous system and brain.
Make good fats a part of your next trip to the grocery store with this avocado-inspired Harvest Bowl Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification Program.
To find more nutritional facts and figures, along with recipes, visit AvocadosFromMexico.com.
Harvest Bowl Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/2 Avocado From Mexico, diced
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 Avocados From Mexico, diced
- 2 sweet potatoes, roasted and diced
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked
- 2 cups arugula
- 2 cups kale
- 1 cup Brussels sprouts petals, roasted
- 2 Honeycrisp apples, diced
- 2 tablespoons roasted pecans, unsalted
- 2 tablespoons roasted pepitas, unsalted
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- To make balsamic vinaigrette: In food processor, process avocado, avocado oil, shallots, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, honey and water to smooth consistency. Set aside.
- To make salad: In large bowl, combine avocados, sweet potatoes, quinoa, arugula, kale, Brussels sprouts petals, apples, pecans, pepitas and dried cranberries. Pour balsamic vinaigrette over salad mixture.
- Toss salad to coat. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Nutritional information per serving: 390 calories; 16 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g cholesterol; 370 mg sodium; 55 g total carbohydrates; 11 g dietary fiber; 12 g sugar; 15 g protein.
(Family Features) If you’re looking to spice up your mealtime routines, especially during those busy school nights, you may find your solution in versatile ingredients that work for a multitude of dishes.
For example, you can turn to plantains as a replacement for often-used recipe staples like potatoes. Plantains are a fruit grown around the world that cooks and eats more like a vegetable. Members of the banana family, they’re starchier and lower in sugar, meaning they’re still green when ripe.
While you’re most likely to find them baked, roasted or fried as a savory side dish at Latin, African or Caribbean restaurants, they’re growing in popularity in North America as stars of their own recipes or as nutritious, exotic swaps for starches. For example, these dishes from Dole for Plantain Crusted Salmon Fillets and Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Plantain and Lentil Caribbean Curry offer quick ways to enjoy plantains while saving time in the kitchen.
As an additional benefit, plantains can be used at every stage of ripeness. They can be boiled like a potato when green; prepared in sauces and soups, air-fried or roasted as snacks when yellow; or baked in desserts and sweet recipes when black or spotted.
Find more ways to enjoy plantains and other fresh fruits and vegetables in family recipes at dole.com.
Plantain Crusted Salmon Fillets
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each), skin on
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
- 1 DOLE® Plantain, green or half ripe
- 2 Dole Green Onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tablespoon grated lime peel
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line baking sheet with foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Combine cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, garlic and cumin; set aside.
Arrange salmon fillets on prepared baking sheet. Season with salt, to taste. Spread about 1 tablespoon cilantro mixture on top of each salmon fillet to cover.
Using box grater, peel and grate plantain. Place grated plantain in bowl with green onions, lime peel and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss to combine. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup plantain mixture on top of each salmon fillet, gently pressing to adhere. Spray plantain crust with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake 15 minutes, or until salmon is opaque and plantain crust is lightly browned.
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Plantain and Lentil Caribbean Curry
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, grapeseed oil, divided
- 1 large DOLE® White Onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 can (15 ounces) reduced sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 large Dole Sweet Potatoes, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 2 medium Dole Plantains, chopped (about 3 cups)
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 3 cups packed, chopped collard greens
- 1/4 cup roasted salted pepitas
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 teaspoons oil; add onion and cook 3 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, curry powder, cayenne pepper and ginger; cook 2 minutes, or until fragrant and starting to brown, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer onion mixture to 3-4-quart slow cooker; add chickpeas, potatoes, plantains, broth and lentils. Cover and cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours, or until potatoes and lentils are tender.
- Stir in collard greens; cook 20 minutes, or until greens are tender. Serve garnished with pepitas.
(Family Features) On top of being tasty, certain foods contain specific nutrients and natural compounds that may help fight inflammation, a condition linked to arthritis and gout. With that in mind, try heading to the fridge or pantry the next time you feel joint pain, swelling or stiff knees.
Colorful fruits and vegetables, including ruby red tart cherries and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, are among the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods, along with oily fish (salmon, sardines and scallops), nuts, seeds and whole grains. Ingredients such as ginger, turmeric and olive oil may also help combat inflammation.
For an inflammation-fighting boost, Montmorency tart cherries contain the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food,” according to research conducted at Oregon Health & Science University. Results show that cherry intake can help reduce blood levels of gout-causing uric acid and reduce the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis. Research also shows that Montmorency tart cherry juice can reduce post-exercise inflammation and muscle pain.
“For decades, people with arthritis and gout have consumed tart cherry juice for pain relief. Now there’s scientific evidence to back up this popular folklore remedy,” said registered dietitian Michelle Babb, author of “Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy.” “Since Montmorency tart cherries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins, a potent type of flavonoid, they can offer a natural way to help ease the pain related to arthritis and gout.”
To help fight inflammation with food, try this recipe for Bay Scallop, Baby Kale and Corn Salad with Tart Cherry Granola, which is packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients. Learn more about the research on Montmorency tart cherries and inflammation, and find more recipes, at choosecherries.com.
Bay Scallop, Baby Kale and Corn Salad with Tart Cherry Granola
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 1 salad
- 1/3 cup oats
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons buckwheat groats
- 2 tablespoons pepitas
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
- 1/4 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dried Montmorency tart cherries
- 2 tablespoons Montmorency tart cherry juice
- 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 10 ounces baby kale
- 1 grilled ear of corn, kernels sliced off
- 1 cup sprouts (alfalfa or microgreens)
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 8 ounces bay scallops, patted dry
- To make savory granola: Heat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or baking mat.
- In large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, buckwheat groats and pepitas. In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Pour wet ingredients into large bowl and toss until well combined.
- Spread mixture onto baking sheet in single layer and bake 18-20 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until granola starts to turn golden brown and crispy around edges.
- Remove from oven, add cherries, toss to combine, spread into single layer and let cool.
- To make dressing: In food processor, process shallot, olive oil, cherries, cherry juice, mustard, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper until smooth.
- To make salad: Place kale, corn kernels and sprouts in large bowl; set aside.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Once hot, add scallops and cook until golden and starting to caramelize on one side. Flip and repeat on other side.
- Add scallops to large salad bowl. Pour dressing over top and toss until well combined.
- Break up granola into small pieces and add to salad bowl. Toss lightly before serving.
Source: Cherry Marketing Institute