#EatWellLiveWell: Avocado Balsamic Spinach Salad

Did you know avocados are on the rise and now found in 43 percent of households in the United States? Avocados have become the "it" food among its fruit and vegetable counterparts, and for good reason. High in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, this fruit, yes fruit, is packed with heart-healthy benefits and more. There are multiple ways to use this versatile food apart from guacamole, like in our new Avocado Balsamic Spinach Salad recipe. Discover the incredible benefits avocados bring to the table and new ways to utilize this "it" fruit!


Recipe: Avocado Balsamic Spinach Salad

Servings: 1


Salad Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cup spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup avocado slices
  • ¼ cup cucumber slices
  • ¼ cup bell peppers
  • ¼ cup chickpeas
  • ¼ cup tomato slices

Balsamic Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of ground garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon dijon mustard

Directions:

  1. In a salad bowl, layer the salad ingredients.

  2. In a separate bowl, whisk dressing ingredients together until all are mixed and immediately top the salad. Dressing will separate if allowed to sit too long.


Nutrition Information Per Serving (Salad Only):

178 calories, 7 g total fat, 172 mg sodium, 23 g total carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 7.4 g protein


What's Trending: Avocados

We were once green with envy about the west coast's avocado availability. Now this fruit is found in stores and restaurants across the U.S. as recipe searches including avocados have risen dramatically over the years. Recipe sites like foodnetwork.com and food.com return avocado recipe searches with over 2,000 results. Avocados are trending! What makes this fruit popular is its nutrients and versatility.


Proven Avocado Health Benefits


Heart Healthy

Packed with monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, avocados are a perfect heart-healthy food. Avocados are also rich in beta-sitosterol, a compound shown to be effective in lowering bad cholesterol. A study was done with patients suffering from mild hypercholesterolemia. Those who incorporated avocados into their diet for seven days showed a 17 percent decrease in blood cholesterol levels, 22 percent decrease in LDL and triglyceride levels, and 11 percent increase in good, HDL cholesterol. This fruit is made up of healthy fatty components, but it is important to remember it is still fat. If eaten too often for long periods of time, avocados can cause unwanted weight gain.


Regulates Blood Sugar

The good, monounsaturated fats are not only great for heart health, but also for regulation of blood sugar levels. The fat in this fruit can help reverse insulin resistance, and its soluble fiber can help maintain steady blood sugar levels, which makes it a fantastic food choice for diabetics.


Boosts Immune System

A rich source of vitamins A, C, and E, avocados boost your immune health and fight free radicals in the body.


Fights Cancer

While research regarding the avocado's effect on cancer is limited, studies have shown nutrients in avocados help inhibit the growth of prostate and breast cancer, which make it a great snack choice for both men and women.


Promotes Healthy Skin

Avocado oil has become a staple ingredient in many cosmetics due to its effects on the skin. The oil is also shown to help treat psoriasis and skin irritations.


Helps Absorb Nutrients

Finding ways to supplement our diet naturally with nutrients is important. Yet putting more nutrients into your body does mean your body is absorbing them. Most nutrients are fat-soluble and need to be combined with fat in order to be absorbed and used. Some of these vitamins and nutrients include vitamins A, D, E, and K along with other antioxidants. Studies have shown that eating avocado or using avocado oil helps increase antioxidant absorption up to 15-fold!


Promotes Healthy Weight

Ingesting too many avocados on a daily or weekly basis may counteract weight-loss efforts. That said, when eaten in moderation, avocados can help with weight-loss. A naturally fatty and filling food, avocados can help ensure you are less likely to overeat or snack in between meals.


More Than Just Guacamole: Use Avocados in New Ways!

An avocado's rich and creamy texture and mild taste make it a versatile and fascinating food. This food is breaking out of its guacamole box and being used in new ways! Avocados are now a popular sandwich and salad topping but continue to break the mold. As a healthy fatty food choice, the avocado has been replacing butter in popular recipes to make chocolate muffins, frosting, soup, and ice cream! All your favorite, indulging, and mouth-watering recipes can be made better and healthier with the swap of one ingredient for avocado. It seems the possibilities are endless!


#EatWellLiveWell with UnityPoint Clinic

With warm weather heading our way, and hopefully here to stay, this fresh, easy, and filling salad featuring avocado is a great lunch or dinner option. You can still enjoy your guacamole, but there are hundreds of creative and unexpected ways to incorporate this heart-healthy super food into your diet! Try our Avocado Balsamic Spinach Salad today.

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