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Yep, you read that right! Avocados don’t just make trendy, Instagram-worthy spreads for toast. An
apple avocado a day may actually keep the doctor away!
What makes avocados so healthy?
Results from a 2017 study suggest that avocado consumption may play a pivotal role in gut health.
Another study from 2013 suggests the following:
Hass avocados, the most common commercial avocado cultivars in the world, contain a variety of essential nutrients and important phytochemicals. Although the official avocado serving is one-fifth of a fruit (30 g), according to NHANES analysis the average consumption is one-half an avocado (68 g), which provides a nutrient and phytochemical dense food consisting of the following: dietary fiber (4.6 g), total sugar (0.2 g), potassium (345 mg), sodium (5.5 mg), magnesium (19.5 mg), vitamin A (43 μg), vitamin C (6.0 mg), vitamin E (1.3 mg), vitamin K1 (14 μg), folate (60 mg), vitamin B-6 (0.2 mg), niacin (1.3 mg), pantothenic acid (1.0 mg), riboflavin (0.1 mg), choline (10 mg), lutein/zeaxanthin (185 μg), phytosterols (57 mg), and high-monounsaturated fatty acids (6.7 g) and 114 kcals or 1.7 kcal/g.
Further, avocado oil:
. . . consists of 71% monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), 13% polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and 16% saturated fatty acids (SFA), which helps to promote healthy blood lipid profiles and enhance the bioavailability of fat soluble vitamins and phytochemicals from the avocado or other fruits and vegetables, naturally low in fat, which are consumed with avocados.
(To read more about the importance of eating healthy fats in conjunction with nutrient-dense vegetables, click here.)
And now (drum roll please)…the health benefits of avocados/avocado oil!
There are eight preliminary clinical studies showing that avocado consumption helps support cardiovascular health. Exploratory studies suggest that avocados may support weight management and healthy aging.And one final benefit: they’re low in sugar! Generally, we should consume more vegetables than fruits, and an avocado is technically a fruit. However, it’s exempt from its sugary fruit counterparts. A whole avocado contains only 1.3 grams of sugar.
Basically, avocados are so much more than just “healthy fats”; they’re essentially large vitamins that support cardiovascular health, weight management, and aging.
Also, when eaten in conjunction with fruits and vegetables that are lower in fat, avocados actually help you absorb fat-soluble nutrients! (To read more about proper nutrient absorption, click here.)
The buzz word “superfood” is hot right now, but avocados are the real deal!
The Healthiest Ways to Eat an Avocado:
As amazingly nutritious as it is, an avocado isn’t a silver bullet that you can eat with abandon. Yes, it’s great to eat avocados on the regular, but you must be sure to eat them in the healthiest manner possible to benefit from their amazingness. Here’s how:
- Make guacamole! (Who doesn’t adore guacamole, right?!) However, instead of dipping traditional canola/vegetable oil-saturated chips into your healthy guac, opt for veggie sticks, gluten/grain-free chips and crackers.
- My favorite gluten/grain-free chips are made by Siete and are available at most Whole Foods, Sprouts, and similar health food stores; they’re also for sale at a discounted price on thrivemarket.com!
- My favorite gluten/grain-free crackers are Mary’s Gone Crackers, which are also available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, health food stores, and at a discounted price on thrivemarket.com.
- Add 1/2 an avocado to a green smoothie. (Click here for my favorite recipe.) Adding avocado to a green smoothie perfects its consistency, boosts its nutritional value, and makes the drink more filling!
- Dice up an avocado for use as a garnish. I use avocado as a topping for omelettes, salads, meats, and more!
- Simply spoon out the edible part of the avocado; sprinkle on salt, pepper, olive oil, and/or your favorite seasoning; and eat it like that! This snack is easy peasy and delicious.
However you choose to eat them, just be sure not to negate avocados’ nutritional value by combining them with less-healthy mediums like conventional tortilla chips and toast. Avocado toast looks pretty, but refined grains—like those found in most breads—are not nutritious.
Don’t feel like eating actual avocados all the time?
Use avocado oil in your cooking!
For more information as to why avocado oil is healthier than canola/vegetable oil, read my prior post “Canola Oil vs Vegetable Oil: Which Is Healthiest?”
My favorite brands of avocado oil are:
- Chosen Foods (available on Amazon, thrivemarket.com, and in many grocery stores)
- Chosen Foods spray (also available on Amazon, thrivemarket.com, and in grocery stores)
- Primal Kitchen (also available on Amazon, thrivemarket.com, and in grocery stores)
Whatever happened to an apple a day keeping the doctor away??
We often say, “Eat your fruits and vegetables,” but we should really prioritize fatty fruits (like avocados, olives, and coconuts) and veggies over the more sugary fruits (like apples, pineapples, mangoes, etc.). Really, we should change the saying to, “Eat your fatty fruits and vegetables!”
Since most fruit is filled with sugar, we can think of it as “nature’s candy.” Even though fruit contains natural sugar…it’s still sugar! Too much sugar in any diet can lead to negative health outcomes.
In fact, a lot of modern produce we eat has been genetically engineered to have a higher sugar content. According to The New York Times:
Today, most of the fresh corn in our supermarkets is extra-sweet. The kernels are either white, pale yellow, or a combination of the two. The sweetest varieties approach 40 percent sugar, bringing new meaning to the words “candy corn.” Only a handful of farmers in the United States specialize in multicolored Indian corn, and it is generally sold for seasonal decorations, not food.
We’ve reduced the nutrients and increased the sugar and starch content of hundreds of other fruits and vegetables.
If you loooove apples, don’t fret. Just be sure to eat less-sweet, organic varieties—like Granny Smith—rather than the sweetest types—like Pink Lady, Fuji, etc.
An apple a day is definitely better than a bag of M&Ms a day…but it’s not as great as an avocado a day 😉
Bottom line: Avocados are chock full o’ nutrients, so eat ’em up!
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