Avocados: The forgotten fruit in the Mediterranean diet with 5 recipe links

When you think of the warm and sunny Mediterranean region, foods like olives, tomatoes, fish, and nuts come to mind.

These characteristic eating patterns of countries like Spain, Portugal, and Greece are the key features of the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is not a diet per se, but rather describes a style or pattern of eating that encourages more whole foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats like nuts and olive oil, moderate intakes of fish (especially fatty fish), chicken, wine and dairy, and little red meat, processed foods and refined grains.

Avocado Mediterranean Magic

Unlike other fad diets, the Mediterranean diet is about good old fashioned, simple whole food and does not require you to cut out food groups. The sustainability and ease of this way of eating is part of why it is so highly recommended by doctors and dietitians. The Mediterranean diet is also praised for its health benefits such as the lowered risk of diabetes, heart disease, breast and colorectal cancer, and even ADHD in children and teens. And it’s good news for those watching the scale: people who follow this diet may be twice as likely to maintain their weight.  

A standout nutritional feature of the Mediterranean diet is that it is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats from olives and olive oil. Another food that also meets this nutritional criterion is the popular avocado. While not traditionally included in a Mediterranean diet, avocados, like olive oil, are also high in monounsaturated fats. In addition, avocados are a source of fibre, which we also find in fruit, vegetables, whole grains (e.g. whole-wheat bread, couscous, and pasta, corn, oats, bran) and legumes (e.g. beans, chickpeas, lentils) – all firm favourites on the Mediterranean diet. In fact, per serving, avocados contain less energy but more fibre, potassium, and folate than olive oil.

This makes it possible to include avocado as part of a Mediterranean diet while making this unique dietary pattern more adaptable, flexible, and suitable to us outside of the Mediterranean regions. Try these mouth-watering recipes to include avocado as part of your Mediterranean day:

Meal in A Bowl – Avocado, Quinoa and Chickpea Warm Salad

Avocado & Sweet Potato, Brown Rice Buddha Bowl

Chicken Breast with Avocado

Avocado Frittata with Sundried Tomatoes, Feta & Olives

Avo, Olives & Roasted Peppers

Like @iloveavocadoSA.co.za on Facebook and visit www.avocado.co.za for awesome recipes. Follow @Iloveavos on Twitter and @iloveavossa on Instagram.

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