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Avocado Meet Grill

Avocado Meet Grill

Serve this up for heart health

Raise your hand if the grill is your appliance of choice this this summer!  If not, it should be– in fact more than 14 million grills and smokers were sold between April 2020 and February 2021, an almost 40% increase in dollar sales when compared to the year before!  Market research firm NPD suggests the pandemic has encouraged more experimentation with cooking, including camping, Friday night pizza, roast recipes, even smoking the Thanksgiving Turkey, basically everything grill worthy! 

The problem is that traditional grilled foods like burgers, hot dogs and steaks complete with cold beers aren’t exactly everyday foods that promote heart health.  New research suggests there is, however, one item that could be added to the menu to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease – and it just happens to be delicious when grilled.  Say hello to avocado! 

As published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers assessed nearly 70,000 people and their diets over 30 years to understand how avocado consumption effects long-term cardiovascular disease(CVD).  Finding that those with more avocado intake, upwards of 2 servings a week, had 16% lower risk of CVD and 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease.  Specifically, replacing other dietary animal fats such as margarine, butter, egg, yogurt, cheese, or processed meats with avocado was associated with 16-22% lower risk of CVD. 

Avocados in particular are a heart-healthy food because their fat is made up of 75% unsaturated fat!  The other animal fats mentioned above are sources of saturated fats which should be limited or avoided.  The added benefit if avocadoes is that they can be easily substituted for margarine or cheese because of their creamy and satisfying nature. 

What’s even better is that avocadoes are great on the grill, especially in combination with other veggies or even citrus! 

How to grill avocado:  Dole’s culinary trained Registered Dietitian suggests grilling avocado halves for ease!  You get the flavor from the grill plus the option to use as a vessel for salsa, shrimp or other goodies! 

First, cut avocado in half and remove the seed.  Skin can be peeled back as well, but it’s fine to leave it on. 

Coat the flesh with lemon juice and olive oil. 

Place avocado, cut side down on hot, clean grill for two minutes or until grill marks appear. 

Turn avocado 90 degrees and let cook another 2 minutes to get cross marks. 

These findings support including plant-based healthy fats in the diet to improve diet quality and prevent cardiovascular disease. 

Published June 1, 2022

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