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The avocado is the fatty fruit of the avocado tree, scientifically known as Persea americana. It is native to Mexico and Central America.
The avocado has a smooth and creamy texture. It is rich in monounsaturated fats and is much higher in fat than most other fruits.
Research has linked eating avocados with various health benefits, such as a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. They are also very satiating and may be useful for weight loss.
There are many types of avocados, varying in color, size, and shape. People can eat avocado raw, in smoothies, or in dips, including guacamole.
Avocados are usually pear-shaped to round, and they come in a variety of colors, ranging from pale green to almost black when fully ripe.
The most popular type is called Hass avocado, which is round with black skin.
The avocado consists of around 73% water, 15% fat, 8.5% carbohydrates — mostly fibers — and 2% protein.
Compared to other fruits, avocados contain very little sugar.
Half an avocado, or 100 g, contains just 0.66 g of sugar, which includes glucose, fructose, sucrose, and galactose.
The net digestible carbs are only 1.8 g for each 100 g of avocado.
Fiber occupies most of the carbohydrate content (79%) of avocados.
A 100 g serving of avocado provides 6.7 g of fiber, which is very high, providing 24% of the daily value (DV).
Dietary fiber is an important dietary component with many health benefits.
Avocados also contain FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols), which are short chain carbohydrates that some people cannot digest.
Not everyone is sensitive to FODMAPs, but they may cause unpleasant digestive symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Bottom line: Avocados contain a lot of fiber and very little sugar. They also contain FODMAPs, short chain carbs that may cause unpleasant digestive symptoms in some people.
As a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, the avocado is a very unusual fruit. There are several types of dietary fat. This is a healthful type.
The most abundant fatty acid is oleic acid, which is also the main component of olive oil.
Bottom line: Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, mainly oleic acid. They may help protect against heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Vitamins and minerals
Avocados are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals. Some of the most abundant ones include:
- Folate (B-9): Avocados contain a significant amount of folate, which is important for normal cell function and tissue growth, and is essential for pregnant women (11)
- Vitamin K-1: Vitamin K-1 is important for blood clotting and may have benefits for bone health (12).
- Potassium: This is an essential mineral that is beneficial for blood pressure control and heart health (13). Avocados contain more potassium than bananas.
- Copper: Avocado is a rich source of copper. This trace element is relatively low in the Western diet. Low copper intake may have adverse effects on heart health (14).
- Vitamin E: This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant often found in high amounts in fatty plant foods (15).
- Vitamin B-6: This group of related vitamins helps convert food into energy (16).
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is important for immune function and skin health (17).
The table below lists more of the vitamins and minerals in avocados per 100 g in milligrams (mg) or micrograms (mcg) (1).
|Amount mg, mcg||% Daily value (DV)|
|Vitamin B-5 (panthothenic acid)||1.39 mg||28%|
|Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine)||0.26 mg||15%|
|Vitamin K||21 mcg||18%|
|Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin)||0.13 mg||10%|
|Vitamin E||2.07 mg||14%|
|Vitamin B-3 (niacin)||1.74 mg||11%|
|Vitamin C||10 mg||11%|
|Vitamin B-1 (thiamine)||0.07 mg||6%|
|Vitamin A||7 mcg||1%|
|Vitamin B-12||0 mcg||–|
|Vitamin D||0 mcg||–|
Bottom line: Avocados are rich in many vitamins and minerals, such as B-vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C, potassium, and copper.
Other plant compounds
These are the main plant compounds in avocados:
- Carotenoids: Avocados contain many carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for eye health and may reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases (18).
- Persenones A and B: These are unique antioxidants that may protect against inflammation and cancer (19).
Because avocados are high in fat, the body absorbs the carotenoid antioxidants in them particularly well (20).
Bottom line: Avocados are a good source of many plant compounds, such as carotenoids and antioxidants. The body absorbs the carotenoids well because of the high fat content of avocados.
Avocados are high in antioxidants and many important nutrients, some of which are rare in the modern diet.
For this reason, it is not surprising to see that avocados have numerous health benefits.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world (21).
Research has shown that avocado consumption may reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides significantly, as well as lower the potentially harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increase the good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (24, 25).
Satiety and weight loss
Some people who are following a calorie-restricted diet think that they should avoid avocados because of their high fat content.
However, eating avocados does not seem to prevent weight loss, and people can eat them as part of a healthful calorie-restricted diet (26).
In fact, adding avocados to meals makes people more satiated, or feel full, and reduces the desire to eat for many hours, compared to a similar meal without avocados (27).
For this reason, avocados may be an excellent addition to an effective weight loss diet.
Avocados are also very high in fiber, low in carbs, and do not raise blood sugar levels, which are all properties that make it a weight loss friendly food.
Reducing symptoms of arthritis
Arthritis, which is characterized by progressive deterioration of the joint cartilage, is a common problem in Western countries.
Avocado and soybean unsaponifiables are supplements made from 33% avocado oil and 66% soybean oil.
Bottom line: Avocados may reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease. They are also very filling and may reduce symptoms of arthritis.
Avocados are safe to eat for the majority of people but may cause problems in individuals with allergy or IBS.
An allergy to avocado is rare, but individuals with a latex allergy can experience allergic reactions to fruits, such as avocados, bananas, or kiwis. According to an older study, this is known as the latex-fruit syndrome (30).
In latex-fruit syndrome, the immune system attacks fruit proteins that are similar to the allergy-causing proteins in latex.
FODMAPs and IBS
FODMAPs may cause problems in people with IBS.
If a person has digestive issues, they may wish to monitor their symptoms carefully after eating avocados and other high FODMAP foods.
Bottom line: An allergy to avocados is rare, but they may cause allergic reactions in individuals who have a latex allergy. They also contain FODMAPs, which may cause digestive symptoms in sensitive individuals.
Avocados are very filling, incredibly nutritious, and taste really good.
They are a good source of several vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds, and may have benefits for heart health and arthritis.
Avocados are an excellent addition to a healthful diet.