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Avocado nutrition facts and health benefits

There are a lot of mixed feelings about whether avocadoes are healthy or not. Whilst some sources preach about their nutritional prowess, some just see them as harmful fat rich foods! In this article, I will explain avocado nutrition facts. Also, I will explain why avocadoes cause bloating and gassing discomforts to some of you. Because, it’s all perfectly normal. But first let me explain the best nutrition facts about this healthy fruit.

A blog graphic describing the concept of avocado nutrition facts.
Avocado nutrition facts| Source: Klucky’s

Basic avocado nutrition facts

Avocados are a very unique fruit.  Unlike other fruits, they are not overly sweet. Also, they have a very low sugar content. It is believed that their glycemic index is zero.

*Glycemic index measures the ability of a food to increase blood sugar levels after a meal. And avocadoes have one of the lowest sugar content in fruits. Which is less than 1g per serving. Of which one serving of avocados equals 30 g. How much avocado do you take in one sitting? Because, it may be just too much!

Avocadoes are also rich in healthy fats. Of the fatty acids in avocadoes;

  • 71% are monounsaturated fatty acids (healthy)
  • 13% are polyunsaturated fatty acids (healthy)
  • Whilst only 16% are saturated fatty acids (unhealthy).

Also, avocadoes have a proper consistency and texture. This makes turning them into a meal easy. They can easily be used as a spread in sandwiches. Avocadoes also have a neutral flavour spectrum. However, people tend to abuse this by adding sugar and salt (an unhealthy eating habit).

Also read: Unhealthy eating habits in Africa.

Avocadoes are also rich in fat-soluble antioxidants. These are not present in most fruits.

They are excellent sources of the vitamin folate and phytochemical lutein. Also, their fat content allows maximum absorption of fat-soluble nutrients. These include fat-soluble vitamins and phytochemicals.

Avocado nutrition facts- Nutrients per serving

Most of the times people eat more avocadoes than needed. Very few people eat less than half an avocado.
One and half avocado | Source: Canva

The recommended serving size of an avocado is 30 g. Most people eat half an avocado in one go. This is equivalent to 68 g of avocado. Here is the nutrition content in 68 g of an avocado:

  • Low sugar content 0.2 g
  • Dietary fibre 4.6 g
  • Good K content 0.345 g
  • Low sodium content 0.0055 g
  • Magnesium 0.0195 g

Avocadoes also contain:
Vitamins A, C, E, K, folate, B6, niacin and pantothenic acid. Also lutein/zeaxanthin and phytosterols.

Also, they are a good source of beneficial nutrients. Because no nutrients are lost by processing. Also, the hard outer skin protects them from damage and spoilage (for some time).

It has been shown that avocado consumers get more fibre, vitamin K, vitamin E and magnesium than non-consumers.

These are just basic avocado nutrition facts.

Health benefits of avocadoes

The unsaturated fatty acids profile of avocadoes enhance the availability of beneficial phytochemicals. It must also be understood that their lipid profile change as they ripen. So, as they ripen their saturated fatty acid content lowers. This increases the content of monounsaturated fatty acids. Especially oleic acid.

The edible part of avocados is 72% water and 6.8 % fibre. Therefore they have almost the same effect on weight as other fruits and vegetables.

Avocadoes consumption in moderation can help improve HDL cholesterol (good).
About, 136 g of edible avocado have the same phytochemical profile as 45 g of tree nuts. (Almonds, walnuts, pistachios etc ). This means avocadoes are qualified for heart health claims. Avocado consumption can help maintain low blood cholesterol levels. Some studies have shown that the addition of normal avocado serving to the diet is beneficial. There were no visible changes to weight.

Regularly eating this fruit improves blood lipid profiles. It does this by lowering blood LDL cholesterol levels. It also reduces triglyceride levels in the blood. Avocado enriched diets have a positive effect on blood lipids. They also enhance the activity of fat-soluble antioxidants.

Also read:

9. Amazing heart healthy foods you should eat.

What makes fats harmful? Healthy fats vs unhealthy fats.

Avocado nutrition facts- nutrient content and benefits explained.

Avocado carbohydrates

About 80 % of the avocado carbohydrates are in the form of fibre. And of the fibre 70% is insoluble whilst 30% is soluble.
Therefore, avocado consumption can help meet the daily dietary fibre requirements. These are 14 g of dietary fibre per 1000 calories.

Also, the main sugar in avocadoes is D mannoheptulose. And it does not behave as conventional dietary sugars nutritionally. However, it provides phytochemical health benefits to the body. It is good for glycemic control. And as stated earlier, avocadoes have a low glycemic index.

However, mannoheptulose may be the reason why avocadoes cause bloating in some people.

Avocado minerals

The potassium, sodium ratio of avocadoes is beneficial for heart health. Because avocadoes have a high potassium content than sodium.

Avocado is also a good source of magnesium. Magnesium inhibits dietary fat absorption. It is also a beneficial enzyme cofactor. Magnesium so has an essential role in protection from ischaemic heart diseases.

Avocado nutrition facts- antioxidant vitamins

Avocado is one of the few foods with a significant quantities of the antioxidants vitamin C and E. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant with critical functions in the body. Whilst vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant. Also, vitamin C can help recycle vitamin E in the body. Vitamin E is also a circulatory antioxidant in the blood.

Vitamin C is also essential in maintaining cardiovascular health. It improves vascular health and also stabilises vascular plaques. Both vitamin E and C help slow atherosclerosis progression. Therefore vitamin C have cardiovascular disease protective effects.

Vitamin C is very sensitive to damage during processing. However, that is not a big worry with avocadoes. Because they don’t need any processing before consumption.

Other vitamins

Avocadoes have a low vitamin K content. Therefore, does not interfere with anticoagulant therapies. People who take anticoagulant have to watch their vitamin K content. So these fruits are good for them.

Avocado also contains vitamin B complex vitamins. These can help improve vascular and heart health.

Avocado nutrition facts- Phytochemical content

Avocadoes are rich in carotenoids. Some carotenoids are precursors to vitamin A. But some are powerful antioxidants, whilst some are both. Avocadoes have the highest fat-soluble antioxidant activity in fruits and vegetables. The primary carotenoids of avocados are xanthophylls.

Xanthophylls are fat-soluble antioxidants that have beneficial effects on the body. They can help reduce oxidised LDL cholesterol (bad) in the blood. This kind of cholesterol indicates vascular damage. Xanthophylls also thicken carotid artery walls. This protects the blood vessels against atherosclerosis. The green layer near the skin has the highest xanthophyll content.

Avocadoes are also sources of lutein. Lutein has potent and powerful antioxidant properties. This is because, unlike other fat-soluble antioxidants, lutein is also slightly soluble in water.

The oils in avocadoes enhance carotenoid absorption. Whilst salad dressings reduce carotenoid absorption in the gut. Adding avocados to salads without dressings can be beneficial to health. These are some of the avocado nutrition facts.

Avocado phenolic content- avocado nutrition facts

Phenolic compounds in food reduce cardiovascular risks. They do this by reducing oxidative and inflammatory stress. They also improve blood flow and inhibit platelet aggregation. This lowers the risks of blood clots and embolisms. Phenolic compounds in avocados can help improve cardiovascular health.

Avocadoes have moderate levels of phenolic compounds.

Phytosterols in avocadoes

Avocadoes are the richest known source of phytosterol compounds. These induce stronger intestinal cholesterol blocking. Therefore, they reduce cholesterol absorption. As a result, they enhance cardiovascular health.

They are also sources of glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that enhances the activities of other antioxidants.

Avocado nutrition facts- The bad

Whilst avocadoes are healthy and have a lot of healthy compounds, we must highlight their bad side.

A serving of an avocado is only 30 g which means it’s very small. However, research shows that the average consumption of avocadoes is half the fruit! That’s about 68 g or 2 times the recommended size. Therefore, it’s very easy to overeat avocadoes.

Overeating avocadoes can contribute to excess calories and weight gain. Even though avocadoes are rich in healthy fats, they are still fats. And fats are high in calories. So consumption of avocadoes must be moderate and according to dietary recommendations.

Do avocadoes cause bloating and gassing?

Well, that is the reason I wrote this article! Avocadoes contain highly fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, polyols and monosaccharides. These compounds are short-chain carbohydrates. And they are poorly absorbed in the gut. As a result, they pass into the lower gut or colon. In the colon, they cause water to move from the tissues into the colon lumen.  This induces fermentation by colon bacteria. The fermentation results in gas formation. This results in bloating, watery stools and constipation like symptoms.

So, yes! Eating avocadoes cause bloating and gassing to some people. This occurs if you overeat them. Or if you have irritable bowel diseases. It can happen also if you don’t drink enough water! This is one easily forgotten avocado nutrition fact.

An inforgraphic describing how avocadoes cause bloating as explained in the text.
How does avocadoes cause bloating? | Inforgraphic

Conclusion

Well these, are the main avocado nutrition facts. All foods should be eaten according to recommendations. They should be consumed in moderation no matter how healthy they are. Like any healthy foods, overeating avocado is not good for health. And to some people eating avocadoes cause bloating and gassing. Please leave a comment!

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