Since 2014, the consumption of avocados in America has more than doubled. Although there are several varieties of avocados grown across the globe, “Hass” avocados are grown in Central America and are the most common species imported to the United States by a large margin.
What’s all the hype about with this green botanical fruit? Aside from their delicious taste and creamy mouthfeel, avocados have an auspicious nutrition profile that can benefit health in numerous ways.
It is important to note that over 75% of the calories in avocados are derived from fat. Because of this, the amount of calories in avocados is relatively higher than one might expect. A medium-sized avocado contains around 325 calories, with approximately 250 of them being from fat. Thus, portion size matters, but don’t let that deter you from buying this nutritious produce!
You see, with regard to health outcome, the type of fat matters. In the case of avocados, over 65% of their fat content is a variety termed monounsaturated fatty acids, commonly referred to as MUFAs. This is the same type of fat that can be found primarily in olive oil, and certain species of nuts. Increasing intake of MUFAs has been associated with improved blood cholesterol levels (also known as your lipid panel), blood glucose, and weight status.
In addition to the aforementioned properties of this functional food, avocados are unique in the fact that they are one of the few sources of fat that also contains fiber, and a substantial quantity at that. A medium avocado contains around 13 grams of fiber. For those who are unaware, daily fiber intake recommendations by the National Institute of Health are 25 grams for women, and 38 grams for men. Yet, the average fiber intake for American adults is closer to 15 grams daily. Getting an adequate amount of fiber is imperative to health and functionality of the alimentary canal (digestive tract), and regulation of satiety (hunger) control.
It would be remiss to fail mentioning the cornucopia of vitamins and minerals found in avocados. This includes stupendous amounts of: Vitamins C, E, K, B2, B3, B6, B9, magnesium, potassium, and copper. Including avocados as a part of your daily routine is sure to contribute substantial amounts of naturally sourced micronutrients essential to meet your body’s needs.
While this functional food contains all of these fantastic nutrients, its caloric content should not be neglected. In the context of weight management, energy intake is the number one determinant of weight gain, loss, or maintenance. Always keep in mind that portion matters with any food, and avocados are no exception. While their caloric content is relatively high, the nutrient pay-off is certainly worth it so long as it fits within your overall caloric needs for the day.
Wondering how to incorporate avocados into your meal plan? Check out this great recipe for inspiration.
4. de Luis D, Aller R, Izaola O, Conde R, de la Fuente B, Sagrado MG. Genetic variation in the endocannabinoid degrading enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and their influence on weight loss and insulin resistance under a high monounsaturated fat hypocaloric diet. Journal of Diabetes and its Complications. 2013;27(3):235-239.