Are Avocados Good for You?
Dr. Mac says Yes: Here’s Why.
- Low calories
- High Fiber
- Quality Fat
- No Sodium
- No Sugar
- No Cholesterol
I started to write this article because I saw a headline somewhere that said “Avocados Are Bad For You” – it turned out to be click-bait, but I was already in the rabbit hole trying to find out what the problem is with them.
It turned out the click-bait article was speaking about only one aspect of avocado, the high-level of fat; and then they turned it around and said avocados are good for you.
Along the way, I ran across this video that was fun: If You Eat an Avocado a Day For a Month, Here’s What Will Happen to You (opens in a new window)
I have determined, after writing this piece, that avocados really are a ‘superfood’ and Lisa and I are going to add them to our diet, we are thinking maybe 3-4 times/week.
(I included a whole bunch of sources on this page, most are listed at the bottom of the page.)
We like avocados. Here is what I discovered while stuck in the ‘are avocados good for you’ rabbit-hole. – Dr. Mac
Avocados have high quality, healthy fats.
Specifically, avocados have lots of mono-unsaturated fats.
Stay with me just for a moment, and I promise, this is easy for you to understand.
And don’t worry about remembering this, there is no test later on this page.
- “mono” means ‘one’, or ‘single’
- “poly” means ‘more-than-one’, or ‘many’, or ‘multiple’
- “saturated” means ‘soaked’, ‘full-to-capacity’
Look at these images:
Here is the molecular structure of fat:
Here is what it means:
We are going to pretend the stalk of brussels sprouts are a molecule of fat.
Reputable sources show that eating avocado can improve your cholesterol levels.
They are high in fiber.
One avocado has 14 grams of fiber, about half of your daily recommended intake of the nutrient. (Recommended daily fiber intake for women is about 25 grams, for men about 38 grams.)
A diet high in fiber can help improve metabolism, support a healthy gut, and is linked to a reduced risk of diabetes, cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Plus, the fiber helps you feel fuller – satisfied – for longer.
They have nutrients that help protect your vision.
They are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that can protect you from the blue light emitted by your phone, computer, and other sources,
They have a high amount of lutein, a natural antioxidant that may help maintain eye health as you age.
The American Optometric Associate claims that lutein is a carotenoid that filters harmful blue light—this helps to maintain healthy cells within your eye. Currently, we know about 600 different carotenoids that exist in nature, and lutein is one of only two that benefit the retina of your eye. This means that lutein may help prevent age-related macular degeneration.
The human body does not synthesize the lutein it needs to help your eyes fight macular degeneration, and for this very reason, it is a good idea to add some avocado to your diet.
Avocados may help you get a better night’s sleep.
That’s because they are a good source of magnesium. Magnesium has been associated with helping your body fall and stay asleep. Magnesium also helps your body absorb vitamin D and can help improve nerve functions, memory, cognition, and reduce stress.
Nerve system functions include the brain. Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health. The avocado fat is monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow, and healthy blood flow is important for a healthy brain.
Avocados also lower blood pressure; and high blood pressure risk factors for the decline in cognitive abilities. And recently this type of fat has been recognized as ‘brain food’.
Avocados are high in important vitamins and minerals.
So are avocados good for you, yes, for sure, because they are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.
Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving:
- Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
- Folate: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
- Potassium: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
Avocados also contain small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).
Avocados are Clean: They are less likely to be sprayed with pesticides.
Avocados are generally members of the Clean 15”, which means they are a food/produce item that is not commonly sprayed with pesticides.
Avocados Have Been Called “A Fat Burning SuperFood”
“And here’s the big bonus to those luscious green fruits: Avocados also act as a triple-fat burner due to the thermogenic effects its nutrients have on the body — particularly in the belly region! Central obesity is associated with pre-diabetes, but several studies show that avocados trim abdominal fat.”
“For a speedy metabolism, inflammation also needs to be in check, and blood vessels clear and supple. Avocados have essential fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, and antioxidants that help do just that.”
They are the opposite of junk foods, which supply little or no nutrition, but lots of salt, sugar, and calories.
Avocados give you a healthy variety of nutrients not often found together in one place. These include folic acid and vitamins B6, C, E, and K.
Avocados are particularly rich in blood-pressure-lowering potassium (avocados have more potassium than bananas) and fiber. Half of an avocado contains almost 5 grams of fiber, about 20 percent of the amount you need in a day.
They also contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are linked to eye health and help to give the fruit’s interior its color. “These antioxidants accumulate in the retina and lens of the eye,” says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports’ former chief medical adviser. “There, they are thought to filter the blue UV rays from the sun—which can damage these eye parts—helping to prevent macular degeneration and possibly cataracts.”
Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale, other dark green vegetables such as broccoli and zucchini, and egg yolks are also sources of these two healthful compounds. But avocados have the additional perk of being rich in monounsaturated fats, which some research suggests may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
Even more beneficial: The fat in avocados helps the body better absorb antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin, not just from the avocado itself but from other fruits and vegetables you eat at the same time. So pairing guacamole with crudités or tossing avocado chunks into a smoothie, a salad, or an omelet is a good vision-saving diet strategy.
Here is a very interesting report from PubMed, telling us, avocados are good for you:
(Short article, long title: Are avocados good for you? Yes. People who eat avocados are generally healthier than people who do not.)
Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008.
Avocado consumers had significantly higher intakes of vegetables; fruit, diet quality, total fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, dietary fiber, vitamins E, K, magnesium, and potassium; vitamin K; and lower intakes of added sugars.
No significant differences were seen in calorie or sodium intakes. Body weight, BMI, and waist circumference were significantly lower, and HDL-C was higher in avocado consumers. The odds ratio for metabolic syndrome was 50% lower in avocado consumers vs. non-consumers.
Avocado consumption is associated with improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.
(‘Metabolic Syndromes; are things like diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, etc.)
You almost need a science background to read the study, but we can all understand the bottom line: Avocados seem to be one ingredient, in addition to others, that leads to better health.
What to Do With an Avocado
Avocados’ one-two punch of fat and fiber makes them a particularly filling food.
Guacamole is probably the most familiar avocado-based dish, and there are plenty of other ways to use the fruit.
People say they don’t have time to make breakfast or lunch, but try Avocado Toast:
Cut and mash an avocado, spread it on toast, and top with slices of tomato, maybe an egg, maybe add a little sea salt and pepper. In just 4 or 5 minutes, you have a simple, quick, delicious, healthy meal.
- Whip avocados into smoothies;
- blend them into dressings;
- work into egg dishes;
- add to salads;
- top a burger;
- use in place of butter or mayonnaise on a sandwich;
- fill halved avocados with chopped veggies and serve as a side;
- drizzle slices with a little balsamic vinegar for a snack.
How To Buy Avocado, How to Store Avocado
Choose avocados that are firm; they should ripen in three to four days (though you can speed that up by storing them out of the sun in a paper bag with a banana). That long ripening time means you have to plan your avocado-eating – don’t let them go to waste!
Some writers have described avocados as ‘near-perfection in the food world’. Avocados have all of these wonderful, natural features, a variety of nutrients, no sodium, quality fat, and nothing is added.
Adding avocado a few times a week will support your weight loss goals and improve your health.
So the question was: Are Avocados Good For You?
The Answer Is: Yes, Avocados Are Good For You
- Harvard: Should I be eating more fiber?
- PubMed: The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders
- Amazing powers of avocados
- Take a look: Avocado Toast Ideas
- Avocados and heart health
- High Fiber Diet Boosts Metabolism
- Heart attack – understanding heart disease
- 2019’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Are Here, Proving That Avocados Are Flawless
- lutein may help avoid macular degeneration
- Hass avocado composition and potential health effects.
- Diabetes, Kidney and Heart Disease: Too Much Phosphorus In Your Diet - January 11, 2020
- Harvard: In Defense of French Fries - January 5, 2020
- Health Question – Avocados Are Good For You: Yes or No? - December 21, 2019