What is the nutrition of avocado?
Originating from Mexico and Central America, avocados are grown in many regions around the world. California (USA) is the leading producer of avocados, with over 5,000 avocado farms producing the largest quantity.
Avocados have a fairly long harvesting season, so you can find this fruit in markets or supermarkets year-round. With its versatile and particularly nutritious flavor, avocado has become a staple food in many households. It is an ingredient in everything from smoothies, ice cream, salads, sandwiches… So what exactly is the nutrition of avocado that makes it a superfood?
Avocado carbohydrate nutrition
Most of the carbohydrates in avocados come from fiber. The whole avocado provides up to 17g of carbohydrates and 13.4g of fiber. Unlike other fruits, it is difficult to find sugar in avocados (less than one gram) and the rest of the carbohydrates come from starch. This makes it a rare fruit rich in fiber but with an extremely low glycemic index.
Nutrition of Avocado with Healthy Fats
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends choosing foods with unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats, and avocado is one of them. Avocado is rich in fat, but mostly in monounsaturated fats – a healthy type of fat that helps reduce bad cholesterol. A regular-sized avocado provides about 30g of fat, including 4.2g of saturated fat, almost 20g of monounsaturated fat, and 3.6g of polyunsaturated fat.
Vitamins and minerals
If you consume just a few slices of avocado, the amount of vitamins and minerals in it is insignificant. However, when eating a whole fresh avocado, you receive an abundance of 20 vitamins and minerals, including vitamins E, C, and K. In addition, folate, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid are also prominent components found in this fruit. Essential minerals typically found in avocado are potassium, copper, manganese, and magnesium.
Protein in Avocado
What does avocado provide in terms of nutrition? With just half an avocado, you supply your body with about 2g of protein. Although avocado is not an outstanding source of protein, it can still help you meet your daily protein needs.
The amount of calories in avocado depends on the size of the fruit you eat. According to the USDA nutrient database, a large avocado (approximately 200g) contains 322 calories, while a medium avocado ranges from 200-300 calories (according to the Cleveland Clinic). Therefore, regular consumption of avocado can contribute a significant amount of calories to your diet. Just spreading a thin layer of avocado on a sandwich or adding it to yogurt or cereal can provide an additional 30 calories. For this reason, the recommended serving size of avocado may be smaller than you expect: 1/3 of an avocado per day (about 50g).
Other nutrients in avocado include:
If you’re curious about the nutritional content of avocado, the following table breaks down the nutrients found in 100g of avocado (½ of an average-sized fruit) according to the USDA nutrient database:
|Roads, total including NLEA
|Vitamin A, RAE
|Vitamin A, IU
|Lutein + zeaxanthin
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
|Saturated fatty acids
|PUFA 18:3 n-3 c,c,c (ALA)
|PUFA 18:3 n-6 c,c,c
According to the chart, we can see that avocados contain many important nutrients that are becoming deficient in modern diets (such as B6). With this optimal nutritional profile, regularly eating avocados can help improve your health.
11+ Nutritional Benefits of Avocado for Your Health
After learning about the nutrients in avocados, the following 11+ nutritional benefits of avocados will surprise you!
Reduce the risk of heart disease
Some studies have shown that consuming avocados can increase HDL cholesterol to protect the heart and reduce oxidized LDL cholesterol (a type of cholesterol related to atherosclerosis, plaque buildup in arteries). Specifically, people who eat avocados have higher levels of HDL cholesterol, which is directly related to reducing the risk of heart disease.
76mg of sterol in 100g of avocado helps maintain good cholesterol levels in the body, improving heart health. (Image: Internet)
Other studies have shown that potassium is related to reducing blood pressure. Meanwhile, avocados are a very potassium-rich food. 100g of avocado provides up to 14% of the body’s required potassium, higher than bananas (100g of bananas only meet 10% of potassium needs). Additionally, the 76mg of sterol in 100g of avocado helps maintain good cholesterol levels in the body, improving heart health. Nutrients from avocados have also been found to have a positive impact on regulating blood fats (reducing triglycerides and cholesterol).
Boost gut health
Remember that all high-fiber foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, are extremely important for gut health. Avocado is no exception.
As we learned earlier, avocados are one of the most abundant sources of natural fiber. Of this, 25% of the fiber in avocados is soluble fiber, which plays an important role in promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and preventing constipation.
Anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory
What nutrients in avocados help them have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities? 100g of avocado provides 15% of the body’s daily requirement of B6, a nutrient that helps reduce inflammation and protects cells against the harmful effects of oxidation. Although severe B6 deficiency is rare, mild deficiency is very common and can negatively impact the body’s immune function, increasing the risk of disease.
In addition to vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats, avocados also contain many biologically active compounds such as carotenoids (lutein, α-carotene, and β-carotene) and phenolic compounds. These substances have been shown to significantly protect the nervous system and cardiovascular system from the effects of oxidation.
In addition to avocados, supplementing enough fiber in your daily diet and that of your family is essential for digestive health, as it helps promote the growth of healthy bacteria.
Alleviating symptoms related to joints and bones
Many studies of avocado oil extracts have shown that they have a positive effect on joint inflammation or bone thinning. Vitamin K in avocados has the ability to enhance bone health by preventing bone loss and slowing the process of bone loss. But eating avocados in moderation is advised as they contain a high amount of potassium.
Studies have shown that individuals with low folate levels are at a higher risk of developing depression. Folate helps prevent the accumulation of homocysteine, a substance that can slow down the process of nutrient circulation to the brain, increasing the risk of depression. Therefore, it is recommended to consume avocado regularly to enjoy its abundance of folate.
Supporting Diabetes Management
Although avocados contain carbohydrates, their low glycemic index of approximately 0 means they do not significantly affect blood sugar levels. This makes avocados a healthy option for individuals with diabetes. Several studies have concluded that consuming avocados has improved blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that a diet rich in MUFA (found in avocados) also contributes to improving metabolic health in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Maintaining a Balanced Weight
Despite avocados having a high calorie content, they can still be beneficial when trying to lose weight. Their creamy texture and delicious taste, combined with a list of healthy fats, can help you feel full for longer. In one study, individuals who consumed half a fresh avocado with their lunch did not experience hunger or the desire to eat for up to 3 hours later. Other studies have also indicated a correlation between daily avocado consumption and a reduction in body mass index (BMI) and belly fat.
Since avocados have a relatively high calorie and fat content, it is essential to consume them in moderation and balance them with the energy needs of your body to achieve maximum benefits for weight management.
Enhancing visual acuity for eyes
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two prominent components found in avocado that are capable of absorbing harmful light waves for your eyes. Those who regularly consume foods rich in antioxidants are less likely to suffer from macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease. These antioxidants in avocado are mostly found in the dark green flesh near the skin.
Folate plays an important role in pregnancy, with the task of reducing the risk of miscarriage and neural tube defects. The folate requirement during pregnancy increases significantly (at least 400mg of folate per day is recommended). However, currently many pregnant women worldwide are deficient in this nutrient, which can cause some regrettable complications during pregnancy. An avocado provides up to 27% of the recommended daily folate intake during pregnancy, making it an excellent food for pregnancy health.
Moreover, during pregnancy, the mother’s nutritional needs increase significantly. For example, the folate requirement increases from 400 μg to 600 μg, the potassium requirement from 2,600mg to 2,900mg, the vitamin C requirement from 75 to 85 mg, etc. Avocado can help you achieve these recommended levels of consumption!
Another reason is that the abundant fiber content in avocados can help prevent constipation, a common condition during pregnancy.
Avocado contains oleic acid – a monounsaturated fatty acid that has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer (according to a study of over 4000 women). In addition, the compound avocatin B found in avocados has the ability to destroy leukemia cells.
Furthermore, the group of avocados contain many Alistipes, Faecalibacterium and Lachnospira bacteria, which help produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that provide energy and protect intestinal cells against colon cancer and inflammation.
Reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome
According to the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers concluded that consuming avocados reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome. Avocado has this benefit because it contains abundant components such as folate, phytochemicals, and carotenoids – substances that can effectively prevent some types of cancer. An average avocado can provide up to 1/3 of the folate needs of an adult.
After understanding the nutrition of avocados and their amazing 11+ health benefits
After understanding the nutrition of avocados and their amazing 11+ health benefits, we can confidently say that this fruit can meet a variety of health needs. However, is it good to eat too much avocado? Here are some important notes to keep in mind when adding avocado to your family’s daily menu to avoid any negative effects.
How much avocado to eat in a day: Half an avocado is the ideal amount recommended by nutrition experts. Although avocados contain many valuable nutrients, it should not be overindulged, especially with avocado dishes mixed with milk and sugar. Moreover, avocado is rich in potassium, so it is important to balance your diet and avoid high potassium levels in your blood. On the other hand, excessive avocado consumption can also make it difficult for your body to absorb fiber, which can lead to diarrhea.
Who should limit their avocado intake: You should pay attention to the amount of avocado you eat if you belong to one of the special groups, such as those with allergies, those taking medication, breastfeeding women, and people with liver problems.
Allergic individuals: Although allergies to avocado are rare, studies suggest that it could be an underlying cause of increasing cases of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome. In addition, those who are allergic to pollen-food syndrome may also experience allergic reactions when consuming avocado, with typical symptoms such as rash, itching, abdominal pain, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
Individuals taking medication: Avocado can reduce the effectiveness of certain types of anticoagulant medications (Warfarin, Heparin), antiplatelet medications (Clopidogel), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen).
Should breastfeeding women eat avocado? According to nutrition experts, there are certain types of avocados that breastfeeding women should avoid, such as the Guatemala variety, which can cause damage to the mammary gland and reduce milk production.
Individuals with liver diseases: According to research, some types of avocado oil can cause liver damage. For example, the Mexican avocado variety can be harmful to the liver because it contains estragole and anethole, two compounds that have been shown to cause liver damage.
- Choosing Avocado: When selecting avocados, choose those that are dark green and evenly colored, with a firm and plump outer skin, without any signs of damage, mold, rot, or hollow areas. Gently squeeze the fruit, and if you feel a slight give to the flesh, it’s ready to eat.
- Storing Avocado: Like other fruits, ripe avocados should be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of 3-5 days. If you haven’t used up the whole fruit, you can lightly brush some lime or lemon juice on the exposed flesh to prevent it from turning brown due to oxidation.
- Some delicious ways to incorporate avocado into your diet: Use mashed avocado instead of mayo, pair avocado with Greek yogurt, chicken salad, salmon, tuna, or add lots of avocado slices to your daily salads or grains. Make avocado ice cream and store it in the freezer, make avocado smoothies (with fresh milk, condensed milk, cream, coconut milk, chia seeds, spinach leaves… according to your preference).
So, this article has fully and in detail answered questions about the nutrition of avocados and highlighted over 11 health benefits of this fruit. Adding half an avocado to your daily diet will bring you and your family incredible health benefits! Visit Goodhealthplan.com to update yourself with more valuable nutrition information every day.
Johnny Jacks was born in 1985 in Texas, USA. He is the founder of Good Health Plan and is passionate about helping people improve their health and physical well-being. With over a decade of experience working in the healthcare industry, he currently works at Goodheathplan.com – a blog that shares knowledge on beauty and health.