Friday, July 19, 2024

Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Some nutrition experts call the avocado a superfood.1 This flavorful fruit provides health benefits, such as cholesterol and blood sugar management, because it is a good source of fiber. But when you look at avocado nutrition, you might be surprised.

Not only are avocado calories high, but most of the calories come from fat. So should you include this fruit in a healthy, balanced diet? Many people do, but if you’re watching your calorie and fat intake, you may decide to consume avocados in moderation at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.

Avocado Nutrition Facts

One-half of an avocado (100g) provides 160 calories, 2g of protein, 8.5g of carbohydrates, and 14.7g of fat. Avocados are an excellent nutritional source of magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. The following nutrition information is for half of an avocado and is provided by the USDA.2

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s FoodData Central. Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.

  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 14.7g
  • Sodium: 7mg
  • Carbohydrates: 8.5g
  • Fiber: 6.7g
  • Sugars: 0.7g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Magnesium: 29mg
  • Potassium: 485mg
  • Vitamin C: 10mg
  • Vitamin E: 2.1mg
  • Vitamin K: 21mcg

Carbs

Most of the carbohydrates in an avocado come from fiber. A whole avocado provides about 17 grams of carbohydrate and 13.4 grams of fiber.2 There is very little sugar in an avocado (less than one gram) and the rest of the carbohydrate in the fruit comes from starch at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.

The glycemic index for avocado is estimated to be around zero, making it a low-glycemic food.3

Fats

About 30 grams of fat, 4.2 grams of saturated fat, about 20 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 3.6 grams of polyunsaturated fat are included in one entire avocado.2.Therefore, although fat accounts for the majority of an avocado’s calories, most of those calories are monounsaturated fat, which is healthier.

Protein

Half an avocado provides about 2 grams of protein. While it’s not a high-protein food, it can still help you meet your desired protein intake at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.

Vitamins and Minerals

A slice or two of avocado won’t supply you much in the way of vitamins or minerals due of the modest serving size. However, the entire avocado provides a good source of K, E, and C vitamins.2.In addition, an avocado has more potassium than a banana and several other essential nutrients.5.

Vitamins and Minerals in avocados include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate (vitamin B9)
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5)
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Manganese

Calories

The number of calories in an avocado will depend on its size. The avocado nutrition facts shown are for half of a medium-sized avocado at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits, but many avocados are smaller and some can be much larger (up to 300 grams or more).

According to the USDA Nutrient Database, there are 322 calories in a larger (200 gram) avocado. In general, an average avocado ranges from 200 to 300 calories.

If you spread a thin layer of avocado on your sandwich or add a small amount to your healthy taco, you are probably consuming roughly 30 grams or about two tablespoons of fruit at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.

Health Benefits

Avocados have been studied extensively, in part, because the Hass Avocado Board funds much of the research.6 For this reason, it can be tricky to discern whether it is avocados specifically that provide the benefit that is studied. That said, here are a few studies and what they’ve found.

May Aid in Diabetes Management

Avocados may provide benefits for people with diabetes. Although they have carbohydrates, their low glycemic index rating of almost zero means that they have little effect on blood sugar. The glycemic index is a scale from 1 to 100, with high numbers indicating foods that raise your blood sugar faster.7

That means avocados are a healthy choice for those with diabetes, especially when they replace higher-glycemic foods.8 Some studies have shown that avocado consumption is associated with improved glycemic control in subjects with type 2 diabetes at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.3

In addition, there is considerable evidence to suggest that high-MUFA diets can also improve metabolic health among people with type 2 diabetes.9 For ideas on how to incorporate avocados and other healthy fats into your diet, diabetic cookbooks can provide recipes and other meal ideas for those with diabetes.

May Support Heart Health

A study published in Journal of the American Heart Association that tracked 110,00 people over 30 years found that those who ate two or more servings (a serving is half an avocado) a week had a 16% lower risk of heart disease and 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease.10

Several studies have also shown that avocado consumption may improve cholesterol levels in some people. Specifically, a 2022 review linked eating avocados with lower total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in individuals with high cholesterol, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.11 However, the review authors noted that larger, well-conducted studies are needed at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.

In addition to exercise and lifestyle factors (such as not smoking and minimizing stress), a healthy diet that includes foods like avocadoes can help support cardiovascular health. Heart health supplements can also be beneficial for those who have a hard time meeting their nutritional requirements through food.

May Prevent Cancer

A 2019 review notes that the avocado seed extract appears to help protect against cancer thanks to being richer in sterol compounds than the rest of the fruit.12 However, it is unclear whether it is safe to eat the seed. So, even avocado growers don’t recommend it at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.13

May Lower Metabolic Syndrome Risk

After looking at the results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers concluded that avocado consumption was associated with lower metabolic syndrome risk.14 They also noted a connection between eating avocados and better overall diet quality at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.

May Promote Weight Loss

Though avocados are high in calories, they still may provide benefits if you are trying to lose weight. The creamy texture and savory taste that comes from (healthy) fat can help you to feel full and satisfied at mealtime.15 Avocados also provide fiber. Eating foods with fiber can promote satiety.

Studies have shown an association between avocado consumption and lower body weight, lower body mass index (BMI), and decreased weight circumference.14 A few limited studies have also found that avocados are good for weight loss and regular consumption of avocados may be able to reduce your risk of becoming overweight at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.16

Allergies

While avocado allergy is rare, research indicates a possible increase in cases of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES)—a non-IgE mediated allergy that impacts the gastrointestinal tract—with avocado being one potential trigger at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.17

People with oral allergy syndrome, also called pollen-food sensitivity syndrome, may also experience an allergic reaction when eating avocado. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, oral allergy syndrome is rarely associated with symptoms beyond the oral cavity, such as hives, breathing difficulty, or anaphylaxis.18

Adverse Effects

Avocados may decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin).19 If you are taking this medication, check with your healthcare provider for a personalized recommendation.

Varieties

Many people are familiar with Hass avocados, commonly found at the grocery store. Hass avocados make up 95% of all the avocados eaten in the USA.20 This variety has skin with a dark, pebbly texture. But there are other varieties as well.

Other varieties include Pinkerton, Reed, Zutano, Bacon, Fuerte, and Gwen. Some of these are larger than the Hass and may have thinner, brighter skin. There are 56 types of avocado that come from Florida alone.20

When It’s Best

The avocado tree has a long harvest season that sometimes overlaps from one year to the next, so the fruit can be found in most grocery stores year-round at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. Avocado doesn’t begin to ripen until it is picked from the tree.20

Storage and Food Safety

When choosing an avocado, use both color and feel to find the best fruit. First, select an avocado with a dark but consistent color. Take it in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze it. If it yields slightly, it is ripe and ready to use.

In general, you can store ripe, uncut avocados in the refrigerator for two to three days. If you eat your avocado just a tablespoon at a time, add lime or lemon juice to keep it from browning at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.

To ripen an unripe avocado quickly, place it in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana for two to three days. You can also freeze an avocado, but it may change the texture of the fruit.

How to Prepare

The hardest part of cooking with avocado can be removing the skin. Use these tips to peel your fruit.

  • Start at the top of the avocado and slice it lengthwise from the top to the bottom, then twist it to pull the two halves apart.
  • To remove the pit, stick the knife into it and twist it out, then discard it. This should result in two halves with the meat of the avocado unmangled at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.
  • Score the avocado in rows, up and down, and then side to side to make a grid. Now you can scoop out these cubes with a spoon and discard the peel.
  • Your avocado cubes are now ready to use.

Sliced avocado is a great addition to a healthy sandwich or wrap. It provides a creamy texture and allows you to eliminate the butter or mayo at Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.

It’s also great on an English muffin or toast as avocado toast. Many people also add avocado to an omelet, on the side of scrambled eggs, or as an avocado and egg toast sandwich.

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