Avocado Chips for a Healthy Snack + 8 Top Health Benefits of Avocados
7 minute read
Even the healthiest of people need a snack sometimes. The trouble we face is that vending machines lurk around every corner in the hopes of filling this “snack void,” but there are often no healthy choices available.
Instead of living off sugar and processed foods, it’s important to maintain a menu of healthy, readily available snacks. So make your own avocado chips instead and enjoy a nutritious snack on the go.
Healthy Snack for Those Afternoon Cravings
When hunger pangs set in after lunch and you know dinner is a few hours away, reach for your avocado chips instead of visiting the vending machine. Easy to make and full of great taste and nutrition, avocado chips are the best way to curb hunger without interfering with your health.
You can make as many as you want and take them to work or keep them in the house for the whole family to enjoy.
The Benefits of Avocados
Despite commonly being called a vegetable, avocados are a fruit (and a type of berry at that). They are unique in that, unlike other fruits which are mostly carbohydrates, they contain mostly healthy fats.
With so many unhealthy fats out there, it is important to stock up on the ones that are good for us, which makes avocados the ideal snack. In addition to being full of essential vitamins and minerals such as copper, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus, avocados bring you important health benefits:
1. Full of Potassium
It often comes as a surprise, but avocados actually contain more potassium than bananas. Potassium is essential to your health as it helps to maintain the electrical gradients within your body’s cells.
Potassium deficiency can result in higher blood pressure, which increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. Whereas bananas were once thought to be the go-to resource for potassium, it seems avocados have taken top billing.
2. Loaded With Fiber
Soluble fiber in particular is beneficial in the support of your gut bacteria and supports their function for optimal digestion. Fiber is indigestible by your stomach, so it makes its way to the intestines where it serves as food for your microbiome.
Along with improving digestion, high-fiber foods like avocados also help lower your risk for heart disease and reduce blood glucose levels.
3. Lower Cholesterol
With heart disease being one of the top causes of death in the world and high cholesterol increasing your risk for that, it makes sense to stock up on foods that can lower your levels.
Cholesterol and triglyceride levels are known markers for heart disease, and studies have found that regular consumption of avocados can help by reducing both. When it comes to cholesterol, avocados specifically reduce the LDL (bad) cholesterol while elevating HDL (good) levels to make your total cholesterol much healthier.
4. Essential Fatty Acids to Fight Inflammation
Avocados are a high-fat food, but it is important to note that these are healthy fats. The total calories from fat that you get from an avocado make it one of the fattiest foods on the planet.
Oleic acid is the specific type of fatty acid in avocados and it is responsible for many health benefits. Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation, which is important given the contribution inflammation makes to serious diseases.
5. Powerful Eye Protection
Avocados, like other particularly healthy foods, are high in antioxidants, specifically the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Both of these compounds help to promote eye health and can reduce your risk for macular degeneration and cataracts that can occur with aging.
6. Boosts Nutrient Absorption
You may eat foods that contain nutrients, but are you absorbing them for use? Nutrients are only good if they are absorbed into your bloodstream, and a daily dose of avocados can help with this.
Some nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E and K, are fat-soluble, meaning they need to be combined with fat in order to be useful. Avocados have the ability to help increase absorption of these important nutrients, so you can get the most out of every meal.
7. Cancer Prevention
While researchers are still collecting evidence, it seems as though avocados may be able to help with cancer prevention. Avocado extract has been found to reduce the growth of prostate cancer cells and the severity of side effects associated with chemotherapy.
8. Boosts Weight Loss & Overall Health
Although avocados area high-fat food, they can support a healthy weight loss plan. They are full of fiber, which keeps you full, and the healthy fats they contain do not contribute to fat storage and weight gain.
| Related: Spicy Baked Avocado Eggs Are an Easy Keto Breakfast |
They are also lower in carbohydrates than most snacks, which means you consume fewer calories, remain full, and avoid unhealthy snacking. Studies have found that on average, people that consume avocados are generally healthier than those who do not.
1 large ripe avocado (or more if you are making a larger portion)
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 325° and line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mash the avocado with a fork until smooth. Stir in Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning and finally season with salt and pepper.
2. Place heaping teaspoon-sized scoops of the avocado mixture on the baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches between each scoop. Flatten each scoop with the back of a spoon or measuring cup. Bake until crisp and golden, which is usually between 15 and 18 minutes, then let the chips cool completely. Serve at room temperature or store in airtight containers for later.
The Bottom Line
Snacking can be dangerous, especially when most of the choices around you are processed, high-sugar, and high-fat foods. With these foods contributing to obesity, heart disease, and much more, it is important to take control of your snacking.
Luckily, with just a little prep work, you can make your own snacks without jeopardizing your health. Bake some avocado chips on Sunday for the week ahead and snack healthy.