When it comes to adding flavor to foods, there is no doubt that salt, sugar and fat will do the job. Think about your favorite food and I guarantee you that it’s one, or a combo of at least two of these three flavor sources that has you hooked! French fries? Salt and fat. Ice cream? Fat and sugar. Bacon? Fat and salt, and if you like some maple tossed in there, it’s all three flavor sources that are hitting your palate’s bliss point.
It’s true that too much of any one of these flavor sources won’t make for a healthy meal/snack or a healthy heart, but one fat source I enjoy with my meals and one I highly recommend to my clients is avocado. Though outdated diet dogma tells us that that all fats are unhealthy, current research indicates that unsaturated fats, like those found in avocados (and most other plant-based fat sources like nuts, seeds and olives) can help keep our hearts healthy. This is especially important to note since heart disease is the #1 killer in America, and according to the National Institutes of Health, Hispanics are typically at higher risk because they are more likely to have risk factors including high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity, among others.
Check out these four simple ways you can boost the flavor and heart health benefits of your meals by adding delicious, nutrient-rich avocados! (For the recipes, click on the recipe titles below.)
1. There's no better way to get your day started on the right foot than to eat a quick, delicious, and satisfying breakfast! A nourishing breakfast with a combination of heart healthy fat, protein, and fiber will keep you energized throughout the morning. Start your day off right with My Barrio Breakfast Toast made with smashed avocado on a slice of whole grain bread (locally baked here in Tucson at Barrio Bread Bakery), topped with an over easy egg and your favorite salsa. Perfecto!
2. Avocados not only add a creamy texture to my Pistachio-Avo Soup, they also adds good fats to this soup that helps keep you satisfied and nourished. Monounsaturated fat in avocados will not cause levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) or triglyceride to rise. So, instead of adding a highly saturated fat like butter or cream to your soup, whip in some avocado and taste the difference!
Pistachio Avo-Tomato Soup
Servings: 6, 1 cup servings
Total time: 25 minutes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup sweet onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can diced tomato
- 1 can stewed tomato
- 4 ounces vegetable juice
- 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1, 4 ounce can diced green chili
- ¾ cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1/8 teaspoon season salt
- 1 ripe avocado, halved and sliced, plus ½ avocado for garnish
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, stirring frequently until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
- Stir in diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, vegetable juice, broth, green chili, pistachios, paprika, pepper, chipotle and season salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring soup to a boil. Allow soup to simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add avocado, cilantro and lime juice to soup and stir all ingredients to combine.
- Remove soup from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
- With a hand held immersion blender*, carefully puree soup to desired consistency. Serve and garnish with additional cilantro and sliced avocado.
*If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully transfer soup to a blender or food processor to puree ingredients. Add pureed soup back into the pot and serve as directed.
Nutrition Facts per serving (about 1 cup):
Calories: 280, Total fat: 19 grams, Saturated fat: 3 gr, Transfat: 0 gr, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 440 mg; Total carbohydrates: 21 gr, Dietary fiber: 8 gr, Total sugar: 8 gr, Added sugar: 0 gr; Protein: 7 gr. Calcium: 121 mg (10%), Iron: 2 mg (10%), Potassium 675 mg(15%)
**Note: This recipe was was originally developed for Wonderful Pistachios.
3. According to the Center for Disease Control, compared with non-Hispanic males, Hispanic men are at a higher risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, which puts them at a greater risk for heart disease. Did you know that 1 in 4 Hispanic males die of stroke or heart disease? June is Men’s Health Month, and including foods with healthy fats like avocados and foods with lots of fiber and plant-based protein, like beans and farro are excellent ways to keep our guys healthy and satisfied! My Mexican Bean Salad and my Mango Farro Salad are perfect examples of hearty and healthy meals.
4. Some things just go together. Cake and ice cream. A movie and popcorn. One of my favorite combos? Tacos and avocado. My Soy Cilantro Shrimp Tacos are definitely upgraded on the flavor scale once diced avocado is added to the mix! The heart healthy unsaturated fat (6 grams per 1/3 serving) and fiber (3 grams) from avocado make this a nutrient rich and satisfying meal. (Source: Saborea Uno Hoy)