Avocados are pear-shaped fruits that come from an avocado tree. Their leathery green skin makes it easy to scoop out, while the large seed inside is called a stone.
The most common variety found in the United States is the Hass.
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As avocados ripen, they turn a dark green to black. They vary in size and the majority of avocados in the store are medium-sized.
The suggested serving is about 1/5th of a medium-sized avocado.
Nutritional Facts of an Avocado
- 1 medium avocado has 250 calories and 23 grams of nutritious fats.
- 1 serving size of avocado is about 50 calories and 4.5 grams fat.
The fats found in avocados are high, but it's not the same saturated fats that you find in red meat, most junk food, and full-fat dairy products.
A 2011 meta-analysis found no connection between saturated fats and heart disease and strokes. It may actually be the trans fats that are found in partially hydrogenated oils like margarine plays a much larger role.
With all of this being said, the American Heart Association stands by its current guidelines.
Fortunately, there are only trace amounts of saturated fat in an avocado. Most of the fat in avocados is monounsaturated fatty acids. They are thought to lower your total cholesterol - decreasing LDL and increasing HDL.
Avocados Have Plenty of Vitamins and Minerals
Saturated fats, found in red meat, promote inflammation in your body. Inflammation is another risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Avocados have been shown to help reduce inflammation in your body.
A 2012 study found eating half of a Hass avocado with a burger instead of just the burger alone reduced the production of substances that promote inflammation in the body.
Avocados are cholesterol-free, sodium-free, and are low in sugar. They have been shown to absorb specific nutrients from other foods and they are an abundant source of vitamins and minerals.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- B Vitamins (except B-12)
Other Benefits of Avocados
Even if you were to eat more avocado than you should, your body is going to thank you.
Avocados are high in fat, but not the saturated kind. Instead, the healthy dose of monounsaturated fats is considered "good" fat. Monounsaturated fats come from plant sources and have shown to lower LDL cholesterol.
Avocados Are Full of Fiber
Eating foods high in fiber help you stay fuller for longer. Dieticians encourage eating foods high in fiber to help them eat less and provide a calorie deficit that doesn't make you feel hungry.
Avocados Have Been Linked to Cancer Prevention
The phytochemicals in avocados may prevent the grown and cause of the cell death in precancerous and cancerous cell lines.
Your Blood Sugar Levels Will Remain Stable Longer
The fiber and fat in avocados will keep your blood sugar levels steady.
A study has shown that eating half of a Hass avocado at lunch made individuals feel full for three to five hours longer than those who did not eat any avocado.
Easily Incorporate Avocados Into Your Diet
Adding in avocados into your diet isn't that hard; you don't have to eat it by the spoonful.
Learning how to get avocado out will take a couple of tries before you master it, but it's not too bad.
How to Cut and Peel an Avocado
Grab a sharp knife and start at the top of the avocado. Slice it lengthwise in the middle from top to bottom. Work your knife around so that you've cut the skin and flesh down to the seed.
Twist the avocado in each hand and pull the two halves apart.
You can take a knife or spoon and remove the seed - this part can be tricky and slippery, so be careful.
Once you have two halves of avocado with no seed, take your knife and slice the flesh of each half into quarters. The skin is very tough, while the flesh is like butter - it doesn't take much oomph.
You're not trying to cut the skin.
Now that each half is cubed into quarters, you can use a spoon and slide it against the tough skin to get a piece. You can completely remove the skin and store in a container, or leave them in the flesh until you are ready to eat.
One quartered cube of avocado is a little bit more than a serving size.
- Spread some smashed avocado on your toast instead of butter.
- Try topping your scrambled eggs with some diced avocado.
- Crack an egg into the seed hole and bake with the skin on at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Add some avocado on top of a chicken or tuna salad.
- Smash up and put on top of a baked potato instead of sour cream.
- Put avocado slices on your favorite burger instead of mayo.
Create a Healthy Lifestyle
Nutritious fats need to be a part of your daily diet. They help promote healthy hormone regulation, satiety when eating, and keep your brain functioning properly.
Despite their nutrition profile, avocados are relatively calorie-dense due to the fats. While you should enjoy these as part of a healthy diet, replacing unhealthy foods like a sandwich spread with avocados is a huge start.
Did you know?
If you're allergic to latex, talk to your doctor first before eating an avocado. About 50% of the people who are allergic to latex show a cross-sensitivity to some fruits such as avocados, bananas, and kiwis.
Whole, nutritious foods always trump highly-processed crap. Making reasonable food choices and enjoying foods in moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle.
Get up and moving, lift some weights, and enjoy life.