While full of healthy benefits, avocados also happens to be one of the tastiest and most versatile foods we have.
Existing in a league all its own, the popular staple in Latin America and California makes for a perfect add-on to a host of savoury dishes. Eat it with salads, eggs, tacos, sandwiches, burgers, as a delicious dip and more to crank up the dials on flavour, texture, and nutrition alike.
But, are avocados good for you? Well let’s start with the basics…
What is an Avocado?
Hailing from Central America as far back as 5000 BCE (according to legend), avocado is a stone fruit that grows on trees in warm climates. Yup, it’s a fruit not a vegetable. Botanically, avocado is considered a berry due to its pulpy textures and large single seed.
It features a ridge-like and easily peelable outer skin, with inner green flesh that’s both creamy and delicious when ripe.
Can Eating Avocados Help You Lose Weight?
Two servings of avocado deliver 160 calories and about 25% of your recommended daily fibre intake. Because fibre helps you feel full, you can theoretically lose weight by eating more avocado and less junk food. Meanwhile, avocado fat is mostly of the monosaturated variety, which is beneficial for a number of reasons.
All this and more means you can potentially lose weight by eating avocados every day. That said, calories are calories and if you’re eating more than you burn, you’re not going to lose weight. On the contrary, you just might put on a few pounds. As always for a healthier lifestyle, exercise is essential and moderation is key.
Avocado Nutritional Facts & Values
Famously, the most predominant nutrient in avocado is fat. In fact, you can expect about 21 grams of fat from a single cup of avocado. However, avocado fat is mostly a mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, both of which deliver vital health benefits.
Does avocado have protein? Yes, but only in small amounts. And if you really must know how much protein is in avocado, the answer is about 1g per serving. However, don’t let that deter you from making this essential fruit part of your healthy diet.
So can you get from an avocado you ask….
Here’s what you get from a single 1.75 oz (50-gram) serving of avocado:
- 80 calories
- 1g saturated fat
- 1g polyunsaturated fat
- 5g monounsaturated fat
- 4g carbohydrates
- 1g protein
- 3g dietary fibre
- 11mcg vitamin K
- 4mg vitamin C
- 0.1mg vitamin B6
- 1mg vitamin E
- 0.3mg iron
- 45mcg folate
- 250mg potassium
- 10mg calcium
- 0.04mg thiamin
- 0.1 riboflavin
- 30mg phosphorous
- 0.1mg copper
- 15mg magnesium
- 0.3mg zinc
- 0.1mg manganese
- 0.7mg pantothenic acid
As you can see, in every serving, you get a full complement of essential vitamins, nutrients, phytochemicals, and minerals, including vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, along with riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, and magnesium.
In addition to all that, avocados contain healthy lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids. Oh, and they are higher in potassium (per ounce) than bananas!
Respectively and collectively, avocado’s nutrients can reportedly boost energy, heart health, bone health, cognitive function, and mood alike.
Remember, avocado fat is mostly “good” fat and by that, we mean monounsaturated oleic acid. This particular type of monounsaturated fat has been associated with heart health, reduced inflammation, and cancer-fighting properties.
Another benefit of eating avocado is the rich fibre content, about 25% of which is soluble while the remaining 75% is insoluble. Not only does dietary fibre help you feel full, but it aids with digestion and overall metabolic health, and may even ward off certain diseases.
May Help Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides Levels
According to a number of studies, eating avocados can significantly reduce total cholesterol levels, lowering LDL cholesterol by up to 20% and raising HDL (i.e. “good”) cholesterol by up to 11%. It may also reduce triglycerides—a potentially harmful type of fat found in your blood—by up to 20%.
Good for Your Eyes
Thanks to antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, improved eye health is another one of avocado’s benefits. Typically found in the darker green areas of avocado flesh (closer to the peel), these carotenoids absorb light waves and help ward off macular degeneration.
May Prevent Cancer
Avocado contains healthy folate, which has been associated with reduced risks of certain cancers, including prostate cancer.
Furthermore, some research has determined that avocado’s phytochemicals can be extracted and then used to inhibit the growth of precancerous cells. These phytochemicals have also been shown to reduce the chromosomal damage caused by a specific chemotherapy drug called cyclophosphamide.
Like their avocado, one should take these reports with a grain of salt. Further research is needed before eating this fruit can be hailed as a cancer prevention method.
Good for Blood Sugar
With 0g of sugar and low amounts of carbohydrates, avocados can help reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Should you already have the condition, avocados are safe to eat.
Next to dark chocolate, avocado is one of the few ubiquitous foods that suggests somebody up there might actually like us. It’s loaded with nutrition, supremely delicious, and effortlessly versatile.
If and when possible, try to buy your avocado from an ethical source. Also, we suggest limiting your intake to no more than one avocado per day. Otherwise, enjoy the epic benefits of this truly amazing fruit!