Although a few years ago it was a complete stranger, the avocado is already part of the list of fruits that are commonly consumed in Spain. Breakfast toasts in many homes and salmon tartars in restaurants are no longer conceived without the presence of this sliced or diced fruit. Its flavor, its texture and, of course, its nutritional values are the aspects that most attract its consumers.
Its health properties are, in fact, the characteristic of this vegetable that has been most praised. They are said to be able to keep bad cholesterol at bay, to prevent type 2 diabetes, and to help us control body weight. It is a rare fruit because it contains a high proportion of fat and, specifically, monounsaturated fatty acids.
However, it is not necessary that we consume it to be healthy, in fact, there are lifelong foods that have similar nutritional values. The avocado is also cultivated in Spain, specifically, in the south, where the best climatic conditions exist to do so. However, its cultivation is not very sustainable in Spain and it is a fruit that demands too much water in an area that receives little rain.
Here are four lifelong foods that are as healthy as avocado.
The olive oil
Before knowing that avocados contain heart-healthy fats, those of olive oil were already praised around the world. Our liquid gold has more than 70% monounsaturated fatty acids in its composition and it is ideal for cooking with it – especially if it is extra virgin – because its composition resists very well the heat of cooking.
The consumption of olive oil, therefore, provides these fats and, surely, you have been consuming it for years. But, in addition, the olive tree is a dry crop, which means that it provides fruits with a low amount of irrigation. In fact, rainfed crops are irrigated with rain and do not compromise water reserves to a lesser extent.
Olive oil can be a perfect substitute for avocado toast and olives in salads. As our liquid gold comes from olives, they have an identical fat profile, although in a lower proportion. Of course, this small fruit also contains fiber and sterols.
Therefore, olives can be more interesting from the point of view of nutrition by providing a greater amount of nutrients. Although it has been associated with being overweight for years, olives are not fattening. As they contain fiber, they are an aperitif that has a satiating effect: yes, we should not eat more than a handful a day a day.
If we talk about foods rich in healthy fats that prevent cardiovascular disease, we cannot leave out the group of nuts. Now, the fat profile of walnuts is somewhat different and the ones that stand out the most in their composition are the polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The Spanish Heart Foundation (FEC) considers that walnuts are the dried fruit that brings the most benefits to cardiovascular health: a review of 26 studies from Harvard University concluded that they help reduce total cholesterol and, especially, bad cholesterol , in addition to triglycerides.
Although the nutritional values of a legume are not too similar to those of avocado, chickpeas can be a perfect substitute for an avocado recipe. Chickpea-based hummus can be just as healthy as guacamole, and growing it doesn’t hurt the environment in the same way.
Legumes are also great protectors of cardiovascular health, although through a different route. Chickpeas have 15% dietary fiber both soluble and insoluble. This component is key in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases because it reduces the absorption of excess saturated fat and carbohydrates.