With their smooth, creamy texture and total versatility, avocados have become an increasingly trendy fruit (yes, fruit!). But let’s set the record straight on avocados containing a lot of fat: The heart-healthy kind here is actually good for you in moderate amounts. Now that we’ve cleared that up, read on for more about this Instagram-friendly superfood.
Serving Size: 1/2 avocado
- 114 calories
- 6g carbohydrates
- 1g protein
- 10.5g total fat (16% DV)
- 1g saturated fat
- 5g fiber
- 0g sugar
- 345mg potassium (10% DV)
- 20mg magnesium (5% DV)
- 6mg vitamin C (10% DV)
- 0.2mg vitamin B6 (10% DV)
Health Benefits of Avocados
All of the unsaturated fats, fiber, and phytochemicals (biologically active components of plants) in avocados work a lot of magic. Eating them can:
- Lower LDL cholesterol: The unsaturated fats can get “bad” cholesterol in check.
- Help your heart: The fats and fiber reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Promote eye, skin, and bone health: Phytochemicals like carotenoids and phytosterols reduce oxidative and inflammatory stress.
Now that you’ve got the deets, here are the top questions nutritionists get about avocados, answered:
Are avocados fattening?
Avocados are rich in mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, the kind that actually reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Clinical trials have consistently found that eating avocado can lower your LDL cholesterol and improve lipid and lipoprotein profiles.
Will they make you gain weight?
Studies have shown that moderate consumption of avocados and other healthy fats can actually promote weight loss through its effect on satiety. The water content and dietary fiber help you feel full, meaning you’re less likely you are to overeat throughout the rest of the day. Try integrating them into a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) or Mediterranean-style eating plan if you’re looking to lose or maintain weight.
How much can I eat and what should I eat them with?
As with most foods, it’s important not to go overboard. We recommend keeping serving sizes to 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado per meal or snack, and having no more than one whole avocado per day. There are unique ways to eat them, too! Try these five favorite suggestions:
- Put avocado in your salad to make it more filling
- Substitute it for mayo in tuna or egg salad sandwiches
- Make “creamy” pasta sauces (such as avocado pesto)
- Indulge in avocado chocolate mousse
- Blend an avocado smoothie
Should you eat the pit?
You may have heard that you should eat the seed of an avocado because it contains beneficial antioxidants and fiber. However, the California Avocado Commission does not recommend eating the pit. While preliminary studies have shown that the avocado seed does contain various phytochemicals, studies have only looked at their functional properties in rats, in vitro, or topically. No studies have examined the effects (or safety) of eating the entire pit for humans.