The health benefits of avocados are finally being recognized around the world. The avocado is a wonder food that may help prevent diseases, such as heart disease, arthritis, stroke, some cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, avocados can do wonders to help you lose weight.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Is Avocado A Fruit Or A Vegetable?
- 3 Why Are Avocados Good For You?
- 4 What Popular Diets Recommend Avocados?
- 5 Avocado Health Facts: The Main Macronutrients
- 6 The Perfect Mediterranean Salad Dressing Made With Avocado Oil
- 7 The “Avocado Everything” Trend
- 8 Can You Grow Your Own Avocados?
- 9 Can We Get Fat From Eating Avocados?
- 10 What Are Avocados Good For, And Can They Help With These Conditions?
- 11 These Nutrients In Avocados Can Help With These Conditions
- 12 The Bottom Line On The Health Benefits Of Avocados
The avocado is sometimes called “alligator pear”: Its shape looks like a pear, and its rough dark green shell resembles the skin of an alligator.
- This amazing super food is full of fiber.
- It is full of healthy monounsaturated fats.
- It has around 20 nutrients.
- It has very little sugar (almost non-existent).
- 1 cup of cubed avocados has about 220-240 calories.
Other incorrect terms that people have used for avocados are avocadi, avacardo, avocadi, avocade, avacadi, acacado, avovado, alvacado, and avacode (big smiles for acacado).
*Please note: This post contains affiliate links. Several links in this post will take you to Amazon.com or to other sites where you can find out additional information about some of the products mentioned here, read reviews, and check out prices.
Is Avocado A Fruit Or A Vegetable?
It’s pale green on the inside; it has seeds and a green thick skin on the outside. It is not sweet, and it can be mushy. Without salt and lemon juice it may taste bland. It’s the almighty avocado.
But is the avocado a fruit or a vegetable?
The answer is… (Drumroll please) vege…. Nah, it’s a fruit! Its momma is a fruit, and its daddy is a fruit.
Is Avocado healthy? It sure is.
Avocados are highly regarded in most diets. They are loved all around the world. In Mexico, the exports of avocados have exponentially jumped in the past few years. Even the Chinese now are growing fond of avocados!
Here in the United States, the consumption of avocados has seen a huge rise in the last few years, due to the popular trends of healthy eating.
In this post we will discuss the amazing benefits of the avocado and debunk some of the myths about it.
Will it make you fat? Will it increase your cholesterol? Let’s take a look.
Why Are Avocados Good For You?
Are avocados good for you? Absolutely positively yes.
Whether you eat them or juice them, avocados are amazing thanks to their many health benefits.
Avocados have a type of good fat called monounsaturated fat, which can also be found in other healthy foods, such as almonds, coconut oil, and olive oil.emp
In a recent study by Pennsylvania State University that was published by the American Heart Association, 45 selected overweight individuals were all put on 3 types of diets.
- One group was put on a low fat diet that allowed them to eat low fat foods (i.e. fruits, salads, low fat and fat free dairy, and meats, etc.)
- Two groups were split and put on moderate fat diets that varied by the types of foods they ate.
- The one common denominator between them was that they all took in the same amount of macronutrients (i.e. fats and protein) and the same calories as each other and as the first “low fat foods” group.
- One group was instructed to eat nuts and popular oils for their fats.
- The other group was instructed to eat 1 avocado per day to split in half and add to their lunch and to their dinner.
At the end, the study concluded that in one of the groups, the effects of eating avocados at the rate of only 1 per day showed a clear decrease in LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase in HDL (good cholesterol).
In addition, eating avocados can aid in improving many conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis because it has fiber and the good type of monounsaturated fats.
maybe you’ve never tasted an avocado before, but if you haven’t, it might be time to give it a try.
What Popular Diets Recommend Avocados?
- The whole foods diet (where mostly earth loving vegans and vegetarians rule the world). When people shop for whole foods, they look for mostly plant based nutrients that are unprocessed and unrefined. The classic Forks Over Knives documentary offers an alternate method of eating plant based foods. It emphasizes foods such as avocados and chickpeas. This type of food usually grows in the soil or on top of the soil. The avocado is a great addition to those who enjoy whole foods.
- The Ketogenic diet (where “good fat” lovers rule the world). Keto diet lovers enjoy foods that are high in good fats, medium protein, and low in carbohydrates. A moderate amount of avocados are recommended on this diet, especially for their nutrients and fiber content, which is difficult to get on a keto lifestyle.
- The paleo diet (where cavemen and cavewomen rule the world… Wooooah). Well, not really cavemen and cavewomen, but people who try to eat like them. Their foods are rich in a medium intake of “good fats”, high protein, and low carbohydrates. The paleo diet is more forgiving in its avocado portion size than the ketogenic diet, because this diet allows for more carbohydrates to be consumed during the day.
Avocado Health Facts: The Main Macronutrients
The avocado fruit is loaded with nutrients and with “good fats”.
Calories: 1 cup of cubed avocados has about 220 to 240 calories, depending on the size.
Fat: One cup of sliced avocados has 21 grams of fat, which is equivalent to 6 slices of an average size piece of bacon at 3.3 grams of fat each.
Many argue that this is a very high amount of fat, but if you eat avocados in moderation you will reap the benefits of lowering your cholesterol intake, rather than increasing it.
The idea is to not only incorporate avocados in your daily routine, but also limit processed foods and excessive carbohydrates. This will ensure that you are helping your internal organs, your mind, your hair and skin, and your overall wellness, while providing your body with the cleanest quality of nutrients.
Fiber: A medium avocado has an impressive 10 g of dietary fiber.
Carbohydrates: A medium avocado has about 13 g of carbs. But this is not the final carb count because one has to account for the fiber. In essence, the avocado has about 10 grams of fiber, making the final “net carbs” 3 grams, which is a very healthy amount.
the net carbs in an avocado…
13 g fat – 10 g Fiber = 3g of net carbs
Thanks to the superior avocado properties and its recent popularity, you can now find all sorts of avocado-based products in the marketplace.
For example, you can find a variety of avocado oil brands that you can use in your salads, with cooking, or baking.
If you find some of these products in the grocery store, make sure that they are non-genetically modified (non-GMO).
Avocado oil has similar properties as those found in olive oil. It is full of healthy monounsaturated heart-healthy fats and antioxidants.
The best thing is that although it is rich in fat, it is cholesterol free. It can be used in preparing meats, baking, salads, or vegetables.
Avocado oil has a high smoking point, so it can also be used to stir fry, barbecue, broil, or sear.
The Perfect Mediterranean Salad Dressing Made With Avocado Oil
Why are avocados healthy? It’s mostly in the fat. You can buy avocado oil that you can use instead of salad dressing. Here’s a Mediterranean style avocado oil salad dressing that is healthy and refreshing.
Delicious and simple Mediterranean salad dressing with avocado oil
- Crush a small clove of garlic and add it to a small bowl.
- Add 4 tablespoons of avocado oil.
- Add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt (or to taste).
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper (optional).
- Whisk the oil, lemon juice, and garlic with the salt and pepper.
- Mix the ingredients with the salad and serve.
The “Avocado Everything” Trend
Not only are people obsessed with avocados these days, but they are also making cute little products to support their obsession.
For those avocado lovers who like anything related to avocados, enters the avocado slicer or cuber! I kind of laughed a bit when I found this product, but I guess it does make life much easier for those people who don’t like to touch avocados, since the texture can be a bit weird.
Let’s not forget the avocado grower for those with a green thumb, the avocado saver for those who can resist not eating the whole avocado in one sitting (nope, not me), and the cute avocado mug. This product is humorous and it speaks to those who love the good vegetarian fats found in avocados because they are indeed superior.
Can You Grow Your Own Avocados?
All you need is a bit of patience and some tender loving care. You should give it a try.
It takes about 4-6 weeks for the pit to crack open once you place it in the water.
You must follow instructions to grow it with simple tools and to know which side is up and which side is down. At some point, you’ll have yourself an amazing avocado tree!
It will be great fun to give kids an avocado growing kit so that they can grow their own avocados. You can also teach them how to grow it with simple tools.
Can We Get Fat From Eating Avocados?
For years now, the western cultures have steered people away from eating fat and into eating “low fat” foods with higher processed carbohydrates.
With time, and due to the bad ingredients found in every day “low fat” foods, people got fatter and sicker.
The highly respected authority on the subject, and bestselling author Gary Taubes, has researched bad science for many years now and has lectured and published extensively on the subject of fat.
In his book “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It“, Gary Taubes explains the myths surrounding bad science, weight loss, and how foods with “low fats, high carbohydrates” contributed to the obesity crisis we now face.
This was all prompted by his infamous 2002 New York Times big buzz article “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?” This article literally shook the healthcare field about the reasons why we really get fat. It paved the way to more research on the benefits of good fats over sugary foods, and here we are now.
Just because avocados have a very high amount of calories and fats does not mean that they are bad foods. On the contrary, they can help you get satiated and full while offering amazing avocado health benefits thanks to the combination of fiber, good fat, and other nutrients.
Here’s the official link to the USDA chart on the avocado nutritional benefits.
What Are Avocados Good For, And Can They Help With These Conditions?
With about 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, an avocado is a nutrient dense food that can help you increase your daily vegetable intake while fighting diseases.
Cardiovascular System (Heart Health)
There’s a big myth out there that avocados can make you fat and increase the cholesterol in your body.
Not if you eat one avocado per day with other nutritious foods.
Due to the high amount of fat found in avocados, many nutrition experts used to warn against eating them. It was feared then that the fats in the avocados would increase the level of cholesterol in the blood. However, the fat in the avocado is monounsaturated.
This means that its good qualities are as healthy for the heart as olive oil.
Avocados can help you maintain a good heart.
In the book “A Need-to-Know Basis: Secrets of Your Favorite Foods and Stimulants“, it was reported that the Archivos de Cardiologia de Mexico found that the consumption of avocados can raise HDL (the good cholesterol) and reduce triglycerides.
The most common cardiovascular diseases include:
– Coronary artery disease.
– High blood pressure.
– Cardiac arrest.
– Congestive heart failure.
– Peripheral artery disease.
– Congenital heart disease.
The new health trends state that the good fats are no longer the enemy.
Blood Sugar (Diabetes)
An avocado has virtually no sugar. It can be a good nutritious choice for diabetics.
In his book “Pure, white, and deadly“, John Yudkin talks about the dangers of sugar and its effect on inflammation.
There’s a correlation between inflammation and sugar. Inflammation can cause more insulin resistance, which can negatively affect people with diabetes.
Sugar is the simplest form of carbohydrates. The body breaks it down quickly during digestion in order to convert it to glucose.
Sugar is probably the #1 cause of inflammation and thankfully, the almighty avocado has very little of it.
The fact that avocados have fiber and a low amount of complex carbohydrates can help a diabetic person prevent blood sugar spikes while nourishing their bodies.
This is the power of avocado digestion in particular, and low-glycemic foods in general: Complex carbs such as those in an avocado, are digested at a slower rate than simple carbs, such a those in a piece of candy, fruit juice, milk, molasses, maple syrup, brown sugar, flavored yogurt, or honey.
Eating too many foods with simple carbohydrates can lead to weight gain. This can also cause blood glucose to spike at a very quick rate.
When blood glucose is not stabilized in the body, the pancreas starts working overtime by releasing extra insulin to help the cells absorb all the extra glucose. This becomes especially dangerous when carbs and fats are combined together in one meal, both in high amounts.
“The simple answer as to why we get fat is that carbohydrates make us so; protein and fat do not” (Gary Taubes).
Of course, eat avocados in moderation; one avocado a day would be sufficient.
Always consult with your doctor if you suffer from any diseases. Do not add the high carb tortillas and all the other junky carbs, which will spike your blood sugar.
What is guacamole made from? You guessed it… avocados.
They are the main ingredients of guacamole, along with onions, tomatoes, lime juice, and salt. If you want to use tortillas with guacamole, I recommend a brand that I use. It’s the whole wheat Mission brand that has 4 grams of net carbs.
Inflammatory Conditions (Arthritis, Lupus, Swelling)
The avocado has a special kind of fat called phytosterol that can help the body with inflammation.
Including avocados in the diet can help someone with inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Chronic peptic ulcer.
- Active hepatitis.
- Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Although avocados contain a higher amount of omega 6 than omega 3 (in fact about 10 times more), it is still considered to be an anti-inflammatory food.
These Nutrients In Avocados Can Help With These Conditions
There are numerous health situations that can be positively impacted by eating avocados on a daily basis. This is because of the many good quality nutrients found in an avocado.
An avocado a day may keep the doctor away.
Potassium: Blood Pressure, Heart Health, Prevents Strokes
A cup of avocado has almost twice the amount of the potassium found in a cup of banana.
We’re looking at 800 mg of potassium in a 1 cup of cubed avocados and a whopping 1,116 mg in 1 cup of pureed avocados, or a bit under 1/3 of the recommended daily allowance for a healthy adult… Holy guacamole!
- Potassium can help avoid strokes, blood pressure issues and heart disorders.
- Healthy kidneys need potassium and so does the body to alleviate any form of stress and anxiety.
- Potassium can also help keep good electrolyte functions (so that you don’t get leg cramps, for example). It helps the nervous system function at optimal capacity.
Magnesium: Anxiety, Nerves, Sleep Aid
A cup of sliced avocados has about 42 mg of magnesium.
- Magnesium is known to be effective as a sleep aid.
- It can help you calm your nerves and anxiety.
- It also helps in relieving constipation and digesting food properly.
- It can help regulate other levels of minerals such as potassium, and calcium.
- Magnesium is also important for the cardiovascular system.
Vitamin C: Skin, Bones, Blood Vessels
Avocados provide a good source of vitamin C (or ascorbic acid).
One cup of pureed avocados has 23 mg of vitamin C, which is a bit less than 1/2 of the amount of vitamin C found in one small orange (which contains about 50 mg of vitamin C).
- Vitamin C is an important antioxidant.
- It can maintain the health of the skin, bones, connective tissue, and blood.
- There are many skincare products that are made from avocados, such as avocado shaving creams.
Vitamin E: Skin, Hair, Hormones, Cholesterol, Vision
There is about 4.16 milligrams of alpha-Tocopherol in an avocado, which is a form of vitamin E that can be absorbed by humans.
- Vitamin E is great in fighting free radicals and preventing diseases.
- It can repair damaged skin and help thicken hair.
- It can help in balancing hormones.
- It can help improve vision.
- It can help in balancing cholesterol.
- It can help with PMS symptoms.
Vitamin K: Prevents Bad Calcium Deposits, Heals Injuries
Avocados have a good source of vitamin K, which is excellent for bone health. One cup of sliced avocados has about 30 micrograms of vitamin K.
Vitamin K is hard to find in foods, and it is important in healing injuries.
There are multiple forms of vitamin K, and some books talk about the vitamin K2 healing properties, and its amazing capacity to transport calcium in the body.
It is best to take vitamin K2 with adequate amount of vitamin D3 to maximize its effects.
- It helps transporting calcium in the blood, so that it doesn’t calcificate in the soft tissue. This function of processing calcium properly gets reduced with age. This is why a lot of older folks may have difficulty walking and may feel stiff and less flexible as they get older.
- The proper transport of calcium through the blood prevents bad calcium deposits. It can help reduce the loss of bones in the body while preventing bone fractures.
Vitamin B5: Energy, Endurance
Avocados have a great amount of B5 vitamin (pantothenic acid).
1 cup of cubed avocados has about 2.1 mg of vitamin B5.
- B5 can play an integral part in aiding the adrenal glands and the cardiovascular system.
- It is good for energy and endurance and can also help in the recovery of the body.
- It can help alleviate asthma.
- It can help with allergies.
- It can prevent hair loss.
- It can reduce anxiety and stress.
- It can help with heart problems.
- It can help with overall respiratory problems.
Vitamin A: Eyes, Immune System Aid, Skin
One cup of cubed avocados has 219 IU of vitamin A, but what makes the avocado even more fascinating is its ability to help the absorption of vitamin A from other foods into the body.
In scientific terms, eating avocados promotes the absorption of provitamin A carotenoids, which eventually get converted into an active form of vitamin A.
So, if you eat spinach, kale, carrots, or a sweet potato (all have vitamin A), the nutrients in avocados will help the body absorb the vitamin A that was originally in the kale, carrots, or sweet potato.
- Vitamin A can help you get good vision, and avoid eye diseases.
- It can help improve your immune system.
- It can improve your skin.
Fiber: Avocados can help with digestion, bowel movement, cholesterol, and the stabilization of blood glucose levels.
- Fiber is an important nutrient that can aid digestion.
- It can regulate the bowel movement.
- It can help in achieving a healthy weight (weight loss).
- It can help lower cholesterol.
- It can help keep diabetes in check by lowering blood sugar.
The Bottom Line On The Health Benefits Of Avocados
Although they might be high in good fats, avocados can help lower your cholesterol. They are highly nutritious and can aid in your weight loss efforts.
Eating just one avocado per day can impact all aspects of your health and wellness. Add a cup of green tea 2 hours before or after a salad with avocados and you can rest assured that you are helping maintain the vitality of your physical body, your inner organs, and your mind.