Avocados: Healthy Fat for a Healthy Brain

In this week’s Facebook Live: Food for Thought with Maria Shriver & Cristina Ferrare, the focus was on avocados and healthy fats, which are directly related to maintaining a healthy brain.

Some people shy away from avocados, most likely because they think they are high in fat. The truth is they are. However, avocados contain healthy fats and vitamins that are highly beneficial to the body and the brain.avo

The brain is made up of about 60 percent fat and it needs nutritious fats like avocado to function properly. Avocados contain folate, which occurs naturally in foods and is part of the ever so important B vitamin family. B vitamins are essential for brain health. Folate deficiency has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.

Avocados are a naturally nutrient-dense food and are considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. They contain over 25 essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, B, C, E, & K, copper, iron, magnesium and potassium. Rich in antioxidants, avocados can help prevent the symptoms of aging.

I eat an avocado a day. I have avocado toast at least four times a week for breakfast. I am addicted to it. I also toss them into salads, add them into smoothies, or eat them plain with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt!

Avocado Toast
Serves 2avotoast


  • 2 slices multi-grain bread
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon chia seeds
  • Kosher salt (pinch)
  • 1 lemon – sliced into quarters
  • 1 jalapeno – sliced thin with seeds (optional)


  • Toast the multi-grain bread until richly golden brown and crusty. Let cool for 5 minutes before adding avocado.
  • Slice avocado open, remove the pit and peel the skin off.
  • Place half of the avocado on top of each slice toast and smash lightly using a fork.
  • Squeeze a wedge of the lemon over each piece avocado.
  • Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of cumin, chia seeds and a pinch of salt over each piece of avocado toast.
  • For protein, add a poached egg on top. The protein helps keep me fuller longer!

[Read Maria Shriver’s Latest ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ Essay]

Makes 4 to 5 cups


  • 4 ripe avocados
  • ½ medium white onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 jalapenos – 1 finely chopped and 1 sliced thin for garnish
  • 1 lime – sliced thin for garnish


  • Split the avocados along the sides and divide in half. Remove the pit and scoop the avocado into a ceramic bowl.
  • Mash with a potato masher (not a ricer) until smooth.
  • Add the onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and chopped jalapeno. Continue to mash until the guacamole looks whipped and fluffy.
  • Adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
  • Place an avocado pit in the middle of the guacamole to help keep it from turning dark.
  • Garnish with sliced lime and jalapeno.
  • Serve immediately with warm tortilla chips (warm by placing them on a baking sheet in the oven at 400-degrees Fahrenheit for 3 to 5 minutes. Or, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.


  • The secret to fluffy, creamy, slightly chunky guacamole is to start with ripe avocados. Make sure they’re cold.
  • I use a potato masher and mash the heck out of them until they are creamy.
  • The cilantro and onion need to be chopped extremely fine. Fresh limes are a must.
  • I like my guacamole extremely spicy so I double up on the jalapenos, but I went lighter for this recipe. You can add or take away as much heat as you want!

Watch Maria and Cristina demonstrate how to make avocado toast, and hear them chat about healthy fat that’s good for your brain, in this week’s Facebook Live:

We’re live! Cristina Ferrare is showing me how to make guacamole and avocado toast. (Tap the video for sound)

Posted by Maria Shriver on Thursday, September 8, 2016

About the Author

author image

Cristina Ferrare is a New York Times bestselling author. Her fifth and most recent cookbook, Big Bowl of Love was released on Mother’s Day 2011 and she is hard at work on her next series of cookbooks! The success of her books attests to her expertise in the areas of women’s health, wellbeing, culinary arts, stylistic design, as well as her great zest for life and her humor.Cristina served as co-host of “Home & Family along with Emmy Award winner journalist Mark Steines for the Hallmark Channel from 2012 through 2016 and the show received multiple Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lifestyle Program during that time.Cristina is married to entertainment executive Tony Thomopoulos. They have a blended family of seven children and four grandchildren.

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