Avocados have been on trend for centuries. Mesoamerican Indigenous peoples in South Central Mexico started cultivating avocado trees 5,000 years ago. And, this year, avocados are the fourth top superfood of 2023, according to the 11th annual “What’s Trending In Nutrition?” dietitian survey. A couple of new superfoods made the exclusive list this year, too — each of which makes a powerful nutritional pairing with avocado.
Avocados are a unique and healthy fruit because they contain 6 grams of unsaturated “good” fat — and can act as a nutrient booster. Eating dietary fat helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E, and K. So, if you want to enjoy all of the latest superfoods highlighted on this year’s list, consider pairing them with avocados to maximize nutrient benefits.
Here’s how to pair this year’s top picks with avocado to make your superfoods extra … well … super!
New to the superfood list this year, algae, seaweed, and sea moss have long been culinary staples around the world. And now, more Americans are diving in on aquatic greens, too — partially due to their nutritional superpowers and partly because they’re marvelously sustainable.
We haven’t even scratched the surface of the nutritional wonders of aquatic greens, but we do know they are regarded as “nutraceuticals,” or foods that provide both nutritional value and may help to prevent health problems. Seaweeds have bioactive compounds that provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Getting more of these nutrients in your diet supports your body’s defenses, helping you to maintain better health. Oh, yeah: Avocados have antioxidants, too!
One serving (1/3 medium avocado) contains:
Nori (flat sheets of dried seaweed) also have minerals, including iodine. While it is often added to table salt, most Americans don’t consume enough iodine from natural sources. Our bodies need iodine to make thyroid hormones, which control the body’s metabolism and ensure proper bone and brain development.
There are so many fun ways to mix aquatic greens and avocado. You can roll avocado into sheets of seaweed as a snack or sprinkle furikake onto your avocado toast or guacamole. Furikake is a Japanese condiment that’s sort of like the East’s equivalent to everything bagel seasoning. It’s made of dried seaweed, sesame seeds, dried fish, and more.
Lay out a large, flat sheet of nori. Smash avocado in the center and top with cooked salmon. Sprinkle furikake seasoning on top. Roll the seaweed around the salmon and avocado like a burrito.
Fermented foods have topped the superfoods survey list for six years. These delightfully sour foods — such as pickles, kimchi, and kombucha tea — are in demand because they support a healthy gut microbiome.
Trillions of microorganisms live in your colon, which play an important role in your health and reduce your risk of certain diseases. As they say, variety is the spice of life. Having greater diversity of microorganisms in your gut is a good thing, and one way to do that is by eating fermented foods that contain live cultures.
Fiber also keeps our digestive systems in good shape. Over 90% of women and 95% of men don’t meet the recommended intakes for dietary fiber. To which I say… avocados to the rescue! A recent study showed that daily avocado consumption resulted in a greater abundance of bacteria that breaks down fiber and produces metabolites that foster gut health.
Eating avocado fills you up with joy — and fiber. One serving of avocado (1/3 a medium avocado) contains 3 grams of fiber, which is 11% of your daily value.
Your gut does so much for you. Return the favor with an avocado and fermented food power snack, like kimchi guacamole with gochujang crema swirl, sliced avocado and oranges with tahini yogurt sauce, tuna poke miso guacamole, or this American Heart Association-certified avocado, banana, orange, and yogurt smoothie, made with another fermented favorite yogurt! The creaminess of the avocado cuts the acidity of fermented foods splendidly!
Combine 1 avocado, ½ banana, 1 ½ c. orange juice, 6 oz. low-fat vanilla yogurt, and 1 c. ice in a blender and blend until smooth.
It’s no surprise that plant-based (nondairy) milk made the top superfood list this year. It’s one of the fastest growing “plant” categories in the supermarket. People are looking for ways to eat more plants these days — and why not get more plants in while sipping your morning cup of Joe or using it in your post-workout smoothie? Americans don’t eat enough plants, which is a shame because eating a variety of fruits and vegetables helps us control our weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Everyone should eat more plants — not just vegetarians or vegans.
Nondairy milk is a fast-growing category, with new plant-based milk popping up alongside cow’s milk in the grocery store seemingly every day, offering plenty of choices: almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, soy milk … and a growing number of avocado milk!
Sadly, most stores don’t carry avocado milk just yet. In the meantime, use your favorite alternative milk in an avocado smoothie or inside overnight oats topped with avocado, berries, and coconut flakes. Make this delicious and chocolate-y chia seed cup for breakfast or as an anytime snack complete with three superfood all-stars — avocados, plant-based milk, and chia seeds!
1 Avocado From Mexico
3/4 c. plant-based milk
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into cups and cover with cling film for at least 30 minutes before serving. Makes four servings.
Eating nutrient-dense superfoods, like avocados, is a no-brainer. In every bite, they deliver a multitude of benefits. I love that avocados continue to move up the list of most popular superfoods because they offer so much of what our bodies need. I’m counting on you to push avocado into the top three superfoods next year.
Find more superfood recipes in my review of last year’s “What’s Trending in Nutrition?” survey.
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