Known for being full of nutrients, able to be used for just about anything, and absolutely delicious, avocados have become a staple in kitchens across the world.
Avocados have become extremely popular in health and wellness circles because they’re incredibly nutritious and have been linked to many different health benefits.
Before we dive in, here are a few fun facts about avocados:
- While you may have heard avocados referred to as a fruit sometimes and a vegetable at other times, avocados are actually, technically considered berries! They belong to the Lauraceae plant family and meet the botanical criteria needed to be considered a berry.
- In the United States, California is the top producer of avocados. It’s home to over 5,000 avocado farms that are responsible for producing over 400 million pounds of avocados every year.
- Since they’re native to Central America and Mexico, avocados are an integral ingredient in a lot of Mexican, South American, and Central American dishes like tacos, salads, and guacamole.
The rest of this article will look at avocado nutritional information and some of the many health benefits offered up by avocados!
Avocado Nutrition Facts
Avocados are an exceptionally nutritious fruit, full of vitamins and minerals, many of which are lacking in our modern-day diets. Those vitamins and minerals lead to a ton of amazing health benefits! Here’s a breakdown of what’s in a 7-ounce avocado.
- Calories: 322
- Fat: 30 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Carbs: 17 grams
- Fiber: 14 grams
- Vitamin C: 22% of the daily value (DV)
- Vitamin E: 28% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 35% of the DV
- Riboflavin (B2): 20% of the DV
- Niacin (B3): 22% of the DV
- Pantothenic acid (B5): 56% of the DV
- Pyridoxine (B6): 30% of the DV
- Folate: 41% of the DV
- Magnesium: 14% of the DV
- Potassium: 21% of the DV
- Copper: 42% of the DV
- Manganese: 12% of the DV
The exact number of calories in an avocado is going to depend on its size. The facts shown here are for a larger 7-ounce avocado, but avocados come in many different shapes and sizes. In general, you can assume an average avocado ranges somewhere between 200 to 300 calories.
If you’re just spreading a thin layer of avocado onto a sandwich or adding a few diced up cubes to your taco, you’re probably only consuming around 50 calories worth of avocado.
A whole avocado provides roughly 30 grams of fat. That may sound like a lot, but almost 20 grams out of the total 30 grams is monounsaturated fat, which is a healthier form of fat.
Monounsaturated fats may actually be helpful in lowering your “bad cholesterol levels.” In fact, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics actually encourages eating foods with monounsaturated fats instead of foods full of saturated fats.
Half of an avocado will give you about 2 grams of protein. While that’s not a protein-packed food, it can still help you meet your desired protein intake goals while adding in a ton of other benefits!
Most of the carbohydrates in avocados come from fiber. A whole avocado has about 17 grams of carbs and about 13.4 grams of fiber. That much fiber will help you feel much fuller for longer periods of time.
There’s very little sugar naturally in an avocado (less than a single gram) and the glycemic index for an avocado is essentially zero, making it a great, low-glycemic food.
Avocados are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. A 7-ounce avocado will get you 14 grams of fiber! Fiber not only gives bulk to your meals, helping you feel fuller for longer, but both different kinds have their own added benefits.
Insoluble fiber promotes healthy digestion and bowel regularity. It adheres, or sticks, to water instead of dissolving in it, so it increases the rate at which food material moves through your digestive tract. And as weird as it may sounds, it also creates larger, softer stools that are easier to pass, which helps prevent constipation.
Soluble fiber promotes and helps maintain both healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Both kinds of fiber require you to drink an adequate amount of water to reap the full reward.
Vitamins, Minerals, and Other Nutrients in Avocados
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C is known as a vitamin critical to your immune system, but it’s much more than that. Not only does it help keep your bones strong and improve the appearance of your skin, it’s also important in aiding your body’s iron absorption.
Vitamin E is another immune boosting vitamin that is so much more than just that. It helps to widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting in them. All of your cells also use vitamin E to interact with each other so they can carry out important functions.
Vitamin K plays a critical role in your body by making proteins for healthy bones and tissue. It also is used to create proteins used in blood clotting. If you don’t have enough vitamin K, you may bleed too much.
Riboflavin works with all the other B vitamins and is important for healthy body growth and red blood cell production. It also helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.
Niacin helps your digestive system, nerves, and skin to function. It’s also an important component used to convert the food you eat into energy you can use.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
Pantothenic acid is essential for growth. It helps your body, along with biotin, to break down and use food. it also plays an important role in the production of both hormones and cholesterol.
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
Pyridoxine helps with many various bodily functions: makes antibodies, helps maintain normal nerve function, created hemoglobin, breaks down proteins, and keeps blood sugar in normal ranges.
Folate/ Folic Acid
Folate helps with the production and maintenance of new cells. This is extra important during pregnancy, since it’s a period of rapid cell division and growth. Folate is also needed to make DNA and RNA, which are the building blocks of cells. Children and adults both need folate to make healthy red blood cells.
In your body, magnesium serves a few important function: contraction and relaxation of muscles, production and transport of energy, function of certain enzymes, and the production of protein.
Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure by curbing the adverse effects of sodium. Other benefits include a reduced risk of developing kidney stones and a decrease in bone loss.
While most people hear “potassium” and think bananas, avocados are actually a better source when you look at the two ounce-for-ounce.
Together with iron, copper enables your body to form red blood cells. It helps maintain healthy blood vessels, bones, immune function, and blood vessels. The right levels of copper in a diet may help prevent heart disease and osteoporosis, too.
Manganese is important in helping the body form bones, connective tissue, sex hormones, and blood clotting factors. It also plays a part in metabolizing fat and carbohydrates, blood sugar regulation, and calcium absorption.
The Amazing Health Benefits Of Avocados
Because avocados are so rich in vitamins and minerals, avocado nutrition offers several great health benefits.
Reduces Heart Disease Risk Factors
Regularly eating nutrient-dense foods like avocados could help protect your heart against disease.
Avocados help increase heart-protective HDL cholesterol and decrease levels of LDL cholesterol, which is significantly associated with the buildup of plaque along artery walls.
Also, the high potassium and magnesium levels of avocados is great for blood pressure regulation. A healthy level of blood pressure is critical for heart disease prevention.
Promotes a Healthy Body Weight
While avocados are high in calories, they’re so nutrient dense that they help you feel fuller for longer, thanks to their high levels of fiber and healthy fats.
Studies have actually shown an association between the consumption of avocados and lower body mass index (BMI), lower body weight, and a decreased waist circumference.
While avocados are a superfood, they’re not magical. It really boils down to the fiber. Many studies have shown that fiber intake is the most influential predictor of body weight, regardless of calorie and macronutrient intake.
May Prevent Some Cancers
While studies have not yet found a direct link between eating avocados and a reduction in cancer risk, avocados do contain compounds that may help prevent the onset of some cancers.
There’s an association between an optimal level of folate with a reduced risk of developing cervical, colon, pancreatic, and stomach cancers. The exact link behind this association remains unclear, but half of an avocado contains about 15% of the daily value recommended for folate.
Avocados also have high levels of some carotenoids and phytochemicals, which might have anticancer properties. Carotenoids, specifically, may protect against actual cancer progression.
Side Effects/Health Risks Of Avocados
These side effects and health risks all come from eating too much avocados — even avocado nutrition requires moderation! While they’re delicious, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. In fact, avocados can be a really easy food to overeat because it has a high energy density, which means it has a high number of calories in a very small portion.
Here are a few side effects to be aware of before you chow down your body weight in avocados:
Possible Weight Gain
While full of healthy fat, avocados are still full of calories and could lead to weight gain if not eaten in moderation.
Ingesting large quantities of avocado could actually interfere with the effectiveness of any anti-inflammatory medications you may be taking.
People with a particularly sensitive stomach may find that when they eat avocados, they experience some digestive discomfort. It usually shows itself in the form of bloating or flatulence. Make sure to be careful about eating too much avocado on a date!
Your body does need a certain amount of potassium, but it’s all about having the right amount. Avocados are full of potassium, which is great for when you’re trying to raise your levels. Just make sure that you don’t eat too much, making them too high.
Delicious, Healthy Avocado Recipes
Due to their smooth, buttery, nutty, subtle flavor, avocados are useful in almost any type of food. They can easily be enjoyed at any time of day, even after dinner for dessert!
Wrapping Up Avocado Nutrition
Delicious, nutritious, and oh-so-versatile, it’s not a surprise that avocados are considered a superfood and a staple in kitchens around the world. They’re full of essential nutrients that are good for bone health, weight maintenance, and a number of other body functions. Avocados are a great addition to any balanced diet.
Excited for more avocado content? Then check out my avocado page for more growing tips, info guides, and great recipes!
- About the Author
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Stephanie Lamberth is a writer who gained most of what she knows about gardening from summers spent on her family’s farm tending, picking, and storing the produce they grew.
Her family started and ran a thriving farm that fed hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the community with fresh, naturally grown produce. She learned the effort and the reward of growing your own food!
Stephanie now lives in Tennessee with her husband and three kids. Their schedules don’t allow for a large garden, but she loves incorporating herbs from their flowerbeds in her kitchen and using her knowledge to help others.
Stephanie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org