Yes, you read that right! Avocados are not just a trendy, Instagram-worthy spread for toast. An
apple avocado a day may actually keep the doctor away!
What makes an avocado 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. The 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. 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, they’re so much more than just “healthy fats”; they’re essentially large vitamins that support cardiovascular health, weight management, and aging. When eaten in conjunction with fruits and vegetables that are lower in fat, they can help you absorb the fat-soluble nutrients from those, as well! 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 in every shape and form. Yes, it’s great to eat avocados on the regular, but you still must be sure to eat them in the healthiest manner possible in order to benefit from all of their amazingness. Here’s how:
- Make guacamole! (Who doesn’t adore guacamole, right?) However, instead of dipping regular grain-laden, processed oil-saturated chips into your healthy guac, use chopped-up vegetable sticks, grain-free chips (like those made by Siete; find them on thrivemarket.com, at Whole Foods, and at other natural grocery stores), and/or gluten-free crackers (like Jilz; find them on thrivemarket.com, at Whole Foods, and at other natural grocery stores). By eating guacamole with other vegetables, you’ll get the added benefit of better absorbing the nutrients from those vegetables (as mentioned above). Guacamole + veggie sticks is quite literally the perfect snack!
- Add half of an avocado to a green juice/smoothie. I recently introduced a daily green smoothie into my life and it has been life changing. (Stay tuned for a blog post on this new obsession!) Adding avocado to a green smoothie perfects its consistency, boosts its nutritional value, and makes the drink more filling.
- Scoop out some chunks and use them as a garnish for omelettes, salad, meat, and more!
- Simply spoon out the edible part of the avocado and sprinkle on salt, pepper, olive oil, and/or your favorite seasoning…and eat it like that! Easy peasy and delicious!
However you eat them, be sure that you’re not always negating their nutritional benefit by combining them with less-healthy mediums like tortilla chips and toast. Avocado toast is pretty and ubiquitous, but it’s not the most nutrient-dense.
Don’t want to eat actual avocados all the time?
Use avocado oil in your cooking! For more information, check out my prior post “Eat Only Fruit Oils.” My favorite avocado oil is this one because it’s 100% cold-pressed, non GMO, and Glyphosate residue-free.
Whatever happened to an apple a day keeping the doctor away?
As previously mentioned, we often say “eat your fruits and vegetables,” but we should really prioritize vegetables. (So, maybe re-think the saying as “eat your vegetables and fruits”!) Most fruits are filled with sugar, and many have been genetically engineered to have a higher sugar content than their original ancestors. 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.
However, if you love apples, don’t fret. Just be sure to choose organic varieties that are less sweet–like Granny Smith–instead of the sweetest types–like Pink Lady, Fuji, etc. An apple a day is still better than a bag of M&Ms a day, but it’s not as great as an avocado a day!
How many avocados do you eat a day/week? Do you have any favorite ways to eat them?
In each blog post, I aim to bring you food for thought (pun intended. Note: my day job is teaching English), but don’t take my word for it! Click on and read all of the links above to become your own expert on this topic; knowledge is power. The more you know and understand the “why” behind each biohack, the easier it will be to stick to it and realize you can’t live without it!