They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but there is another fruit that can do wonders for your health when included in your daily menu.
Avocado yes, its fruit is known for its main role in guacamole, but the creamy food has many health benefits. Packed with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals and plenty of good fats, it’s no wonder there’s plenty of research linking avocados to heart health, weight management, and skin health.
But is it really healthy to eat avocados every day? Learn the benefits of avocados and creative recipes to eat more of them.
Avocado nutrition information
A serving of avocado (medium size or 50 grams) contains:
- 80 calories
- 1 gram of protein
- 7 grams of fat
- 4 grams of carbohydrates
- 3 grams of fiber (11% of the Daily Value (DV))
- 250 milligrams potassium (6% DV)
- 15 grams magnesium (4% DV)
- 0.1 mg vitamin B6 (6% DV)
- 1 mg vitamin E (6% DV)
- 4 mg vitamin C (4% DV)
- 11 mcg vitamin K (10% DV)
- 5 mcg folate (10% DV)
Is avocado a healthy fat?
One serving of avocado (medium size) contains 6 grams of unsaturated fat. Fat was once considered the enemy, but unsaturated fats have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. It is saturated fat that is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic health conditions. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends replacing saturated fats in the diet with unsaturated fats, such as in avocados.
Avocado can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes
According to a recent systematic study, avocados are good for your heart. Of the studies reviewed, ten replaced avocado with other fat sources and two added avocado to the participants’ standard diet. The overall results showed that consuming avocado twice a day as part of a low-fat, high-cholesterol diet can help lower total and LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Another observational study of more than 68,000 women found that higher avocado intake was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Recent studies also suggest that including avocado in the diet can have a positive effect on metabolic disorders and type 2 diabetes. A randomized trial of overweight adults found that eating just half an avocado with lunch increased their satiety without negatively affecting their blood sugar levels, a major benefit for diabetics or pre-diabetics. In other words, avocado can make you feel full without causing a blood sugar spike.
Is avocado good for weight loss?
Since avocados contain more calories than other products, you may worry that eating them regularly may lead to weight gain. The good news is that research shows the opposite. One study of over 55,000 people found that people who ate avocados weighed less than those who did not eat the fruit regularly. After following the participants for 4 to 11 years, the researchers concluded that those who consumed at least 2 tablespoons of avocado per day were the least likely to become overweight or obese.
Research also suggests that replacing carbohydrates in a traditionally high-carbohydrate meal with avocado increases feelings of satiety. That’s because the fat in avocados is part of what helps you stay fuller longer and can actually make you eat less.
The vitamin E in avocado is good for your skin
Newer research is beginning to explore the potential skin benefits of the vitamin E in avocados. A pilot study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that eating one avocado a day for 8 weeks increased skin elasticity and firmness. So avocados can be a delicious addition to your skin care routine.
Are there any disadvantages to eating avocado?
While avocados have impressive benefits, it’s important to keep serving size in mind. Unfortunately, it is possible to eat too much avocado. Consuming the fruit daily keeps calories in check and ensures that avocados do not contribute to weight gain.
Avocados can also be an expensive addition to your grocery store due to a number of factors, including low supply, changes in weather, cultivation issues, and inflation. Plus, they only stay ripe for 2-3 days before they start to brown. Since most supermarket avocados are not yet ripe, you need to keep a close eye on them to make sure you eat them at the right time.
Fun facts about avocados
In addition to the health benefits, here are some interesting things to consider when you next visit the produce aisle.
There are hundreds of avocado varieties
According to California Avocados, there are hundreds of varieties of this green fruit. But you’re probably most familiar with the Hass variety, as they account for 95% of the avocados eaten in the United States. Hass avocados are medium-sized and oval, with mint green flesh and dark green skin. They can be grown year-round in places like California, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Colombia.
You may also see Florida avocados on store shelves. This large variety is grown in the sun and is slightly higher in calories and fat than the Hass variety. But they also taste a bit milder because of their low fat content.
They are a good substitute for butter
If you’re trying to cut down on saturated fat, use avocado instead of butter in baked goods. Their creamy texture makes them an excellent butter in recipes, and because they have a neutral taste, you won’t even notice the difference in the taste of the whole dish. Use a 1:1 ratio to replace butter with avocado in any recipe.
How to grow your own avocados
No matter where you live, you can grow an avocado tree in your own home. You can sprout an avocado from a pit to grow as a houseplant in your own home by submerging it halfway in a cup of water, says Ginger Hultin, a Seattle-based nutritionist, nutritionist, owner of ChampagneNutrition, and e-book author. -book Meal preparation for weight loss 101.
After eating the avocado, keep the pit and let it dry. Insert 3-4 toothpicks into the hole and hang it over a glass of water so that the lower part of the hole remains under water. Place the glass of water in the sun and the roots will sprout in 2-6 weeks. The stem appears and the avocado plant begins to grow. Plant it in a pot with soil and watch your avocado tree grow!
Healthy avocado recipes
Avocados are incredibly versatile, says Hultin. I encourage my clients to include them as a healthy fat source and anti-inflammatory food in a variety of ways. Here are some creative ways to add avocados to your diet:
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