Guacamole with chips or vegetables is a popular dip and a nutritious choice, too! Traditional guacamole is made of pureed or mashed avocados, minced garlic, finely chopped onion, lime juice, cilantro, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Many of these ingredients contain nutrients our body needs to run efficiently and prevent several diseases prevalent in our society, like heart disease, obesity, and cancer. So let’s break down this tasty Mexican dip and see; is guacamole good for you?
This article will describe the health benefits of the five guacamole main ingredients: avocado, garlic, onion, lime juice, and cayenne pepper. We will discover that guacamole is an excellent addition to your diet because it is a concentrate of potent bioactive molecules.
Guacamole healthy Ingredient #1: Avocados
There is no denying that avocados are a superfood. About a third of an avocado is recommended as a serving (1) and contains:
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Avocados also contain 71% monounsaturated fatty acids, which means they’re great for maintaining weight, healthy aging, and improving cardiovascular health (3). Because of all of these wonderful nutrients and high fiber content, avocados are also highly recommended for pregnant women to ensure their bodies get the nutrition they need and to improve milk quality (4).
But what does this mean for our health? A recent American study found participants who ate avocados also had higher vegetable and fruit intakes in general, along with lower sugar and fat content in their diet. Because of these nutritious foods in their diet, they also showed significantly lower BMI, body weight, and waist measurements compared to those who did not eat avocados often (5). This is associated with a decreased risk of metabolic syndromes like diabetes, and researchers concluded that there are beneficial associations between avocado intake and health.
Healthy Ingredient #2: Garlic
Garlic is another ingredient in guacamole that contains a wealth of health benefits. Cardiovascular disease now affects almost half of American adults (6). Garlic is one of many natural supplements used to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease or lessen the severity of the condition. Garlic consumption in various human clinical trials lowered blood pressure, prevented atherosclerosis, and reduced serum cholesterol and triglycerides (these are the bad fats that accumulate in our blood and damage our cardiovascular system) (7). This means for your cholesterol, heart health, and blood vessel/artery health; you need to look no further than the bulb of garlic you probably already have in your pantry (8).
Garlic has several “bioactive compounds” that lend these health-boosting properties. Researchers identified polyphenols (potent antioxidants), flavonoids, and saponins in garlic that are great for our health. Garlic has even been used to improve cancer treatment responses, improve type 2 diabetes, and reduce weight (9). For all of these reasons, adding garlic to your guacamole and several other dishes is great dietary addition.
Healthy Ingredient #3: Onion
Onions contain several healthy compounds that have properties including antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antidiabetic effects (10). Like garlic, those flavonoids, saponins, and other secondary metabolites found in onions are primarily responsible for these health benefits. This suggests that onions may be preventative against metabolic diseases such as diabetes, weight gain, high cholesterol, and weight-related diseases like high blood pressure (11). Baru nuts are another great food with positive effects on cholesterol obesity and oxidative disease. Read the “Health Benefits of Baru Nuts.”
Onions and garlic have both been shown to reduce cancer risk. Much of this overlap in health benefits is unsurprising because these two vegetables are from the same genus (Allium). Allium vegetables have many properties derived from their bioactive sulfur compounds responsible for their protective effect against cancer (12).
Healthy Ingredient #4: Lime juice
Even though the amount of lime juice in guacamole is small, you don’t need much of this potent juice to gain some fantastic health benefits. Key lime juice has shown antibacterial, anticancer, antidiabetic, and antifungal properties and reduces inflammation, oxidative stress, and hypertension. In clinical trials, lime juice protected against heart, liver, bone, and urinary disease in some participants (13, 14). The antibacterial properties of key lime juice are particularly interesting, given that antibiotic resistance is a major problem facing healthcare (15, 16). More studies on this area of research are in progress, but the preliminary results are promising.
Guacamole healthy Ingredient #5: Cayenne Pepper
Capsaicin, which is the active ingredient in cayenne peppers, contain a variety of health benefits. One of these is the maintenance of healthy vascular and metabolic systems, which has been shown in several animal models (primarily rats), and some human clinical trials (17). Capsaicin can also reduce the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease, a finding that is still being investigated (18). Capsaicin has also been rumored to be effective as a weight-loss tool, though this still needs credibility examination (19). You can get capsaicin as a supplement called “red pepper pills.” While these are safe in most individuals, there are cases when it can make heart conditions or other health problems worse (20). You should always consult your doctor before medicating, even when it is an over-the-counter herbal supplement, particularly if you have underlying health conditions. To read more about cayenne pepper, check out our “Is Salsa Good For You?” article.
In conclusion, Is Guacamole Good for You?
Guacamole is a great addition to your diet. Make sure that you keep your servings small because avocados are high in fats (it’s healthy fats, but you shouldn’t overload your body with any type of fat). This food is concentrated, and you don’t need a large quantity to reap the benefits of this superfood-packed dip.