Avocado nutrition facts — including avocado nutrients, heart-healthy fats, and avocado calories — provide evidence of the multiple health benefits of avocado.
Avocados are everywhere — available at grocery and health food stores and served in countless restaurants in a variety of dishes. They are also the subject of more than a dozen cookbooks dedicated exclusively to the fruit. For people who can’t get enough of all things avocado, there are t-shirts, notebooks, and calendars emblazoned with pictures of avocados and even avocado-shaped earrings.
Obviously, a lot of Americans love avocados. The latest statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) show the fruit’s popularity has tripled over the past two decades, hitting a new record for consumption — up from 2.23 pounds per person annually in 2000 to a recent record of 7.1 pounds per capita. While Americans’ fascination with avocados is largely a result of the taste and versatility of the fruit; the health benefits of avocado are frequently touted, too.
And it turns out, avocado nutrition facts are substantiated by research. In fact, the health benefits of avocados — ranging from cardiovascular benefits to weight control — make it smart choice to add to your diet.
The skinny on avocado calories and nutrients
Avocados are nutrient-dense, meaning they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. One-third of a medium avocado (50 g) is packed with about 20 vitamins and minerals, according to the California Avocado Commission. However, avocado calories in the same amount of the fruit are low — only about 80.
Avocados contain antioxidants, including vitamins C and E and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients may prevent potentially disease-causing cell damage resulting from natural bodily processes and exposure to certain chemicals, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health explains.
A survey of research on avocado nutrition facts, published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, noted the fruit is also a good dietary source of additional nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, niacin, pantothenic acid (also known as vitamin B5), riboflavin, and choline.
Avocado nutrition includes healthy fats
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, established by the USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommends limiting the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars, and sodium you eat to lower the risk for many serious health problems. And avocados fit the bill for this recommendation perfectly. Avocado nutrition facts reveal the fruit is low in sodium, contains no sugar, and none of the saturated and trans fats linked to cardiovascular disease.
Instead, avocadoes are a key plant source of monounsaturated fat — and research has shown this type of fat is heart-healthy. Moreover, the rich monounsaturated fat content in avocados makes them a “nutrient booster.” The healthy fat increases your body’s absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, including vitamins A, D, K, and E.
Bottom line? More evidence for health benefits of avocado
Researchers have found eating avocados regularly can help promote healthy cholesterol levels, supporting cardiovascular health. Avocados may help you keep weight off, too, because the fat and fiber content helps you feel full longer.
What’s more, a study by Loma Linda University scientists suggests the nutrients in avocados may play a role in preventing obesity in people who eat the fruit regularly.
Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), involving over 17,500 U.S. adults, revealed people who ate avocados regularly had a better intake of nutrients and a better overall diet quality than people who didn’t eat the fruit.
In addition, avocado consumption was associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, a common and potentially dangerous medical condition. Metabolic syndrome substantially raises the odds of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
The condition is diagnosed when a cluster of conditions occur together (including high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, and excess fat around the middle). Weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation, and sometimes medications are prescribed to treat metabolic syndrome.
Of course, prevention is always the best course — and preventing metabolic syndrome is another reason to consider eating avocados regularly.
June 27, 2019
Janet O’Dell RN