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Many of you have probably heard over the years that avocados are quite fattening to eat, and you've also heard that they're great for a bodybuilding diet. Which is actually true?
Don't ditch that guacamole just yet! Once considered nothing more than a decadent treat, the nutritional benefits of avocados are becoming better understood. Avocados do contain plenty of fat, but it's primarily the healthful unsaturated variety. Avocados can be a healthy part of anyone': diet, and they are especially beneficial to bodybuilders because of their need for unsaturatec fats. To get the most from this fruit, bodybuilders should substitute it for unhealthy fats they might otherwise choose to eat, such as margarine, butter or mayonnaise.
Half of a medium California avocado contains no sodium, eight grams of fiber and about 14 grams of fat. That sounds like quite a bit of fat; however, eight of those fat grams are unsaturated; three are polyunsaturated; and only three are saturated. That plentiful dose of unsaturated fat may help keep cholesterol low and protect against heart disease. In its 2000 report, jointly issued by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee suggested for the first time that unsaturated fats should be included as part of a healthy diet. That's a huge endorsement, considering that the Committee's recommendations tend to be conservative.
According to the California Avocado Commission, the fruit is also rich in vitamins C and E, folic acid, potassium and the phytonutrient beta-sitosterol, which may help lower blood cholesterol, as well as glutathione, an antioxidant. Antioxidants are especially beneficial to bodybuilders because they help destroy free radicals generated by intense training. Obtaining antioxidants from fruits and vegetables is especially beneficial because they typically supply different antioxidants than the ones you get from supplements. Ounce for ounce, avocados contain three times the glutathione of bananas, apples, cantaloupes, grapes, plums or cherries. This fruit makes a good low-carb-day food, as one-half an avocado contains only about seven grams of carbs.
The dark pebbly skinned Hass avocado, by far the most common, is available year-round. Before consuming an avocado, make sure it is ripe; it should yield to gentle pressure and should be easy to peel. Cut it in half and scoop out the seed with a spoon, then start at the small end and remove the skin with a knife. Either eat the fruit immediately, or sprinkle with lemon or lime juice and store in an airtight container.
Avocados are a welcome addition to many bodybuilders' meals, as its satisfying creamy mouth-feel can offset the dryness of potatoes or chicken breasts. A great way to incorporate avocados into your diet is to use them in place of condiments such as mayonnaise and butter. In fact, the avocado is sometimes called "butterfruit." A 30-gram serving of avocado (about three slices) contains 55 calories and 4.9 grams of fat; the same size serving of butter contains 215 calories and 24 grams of fat.
The avocado's smooth texture and mild nutty flavor also make it a tasty alternative to mayonnaise, sour cream or cream cheese on potatoes and bagels or in dips. Substituting mashed avocados for mayonnaise is an easy way to improve the taste and health benefits of a sandwich; you could make tuna salad with avocado instead of mayo. A portable bodybuilding meal can consist of turkey, sliced avocado, low-fat cheese, shredded carrots and your favorite bodybuilding condiment, all rolled up in a fat-free tortilla. Avocados are also delicious in salads, soups and omelets, and don't forget the quintessential guacamole.