If you hesitate to enjoy avocados due to their high-fat reputation, it’s time to look at them from a new perspective. Sure, they contain fat, but it’s primarily the healthy type of unsaturated fat known to lower cholesterol. Avocados are also packed with nutrients, including fiber, potassium and essential vitamins. You can eat avocados every day as long as you limit the serving size to avoid getting too many calories.
Watch Your Serving Size
The biggest challenge to including avocados in your daily diet is keeping an eye on calories. One-half of an avocado has 161 calories, which is high enough to impact your weight if you overindulge. It’s easy to track your consumption when the avocado is sliced and added to a salad or sandwich. But it’s more of a challenge to judge your serving size when it’s mashed and added to soup or you’re dipping tortilla chips in guacamole. It might help to envision cubed or pureed avocado. You’ll get 161 calories from 2/3 cup of cubed avocado and 121 calories from 1/2 cup of pureed avocado.
Healthy Unsaturated Fats
Most of the fat in avocados comes in the form of healthy unsaturated fats. They’re especially high in monounsaturated fat, which boosts your levels of good HDL cholesterol without raising the bad LDL cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats may also help lower triglycerides in your bloodstream. The total fat in half an avocado is 14.7 grams or 132 calories. You can work this amount of fat into your daily diet as long as your total fat intake stays within the recommended range -- 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories should come from fat, according to the Institute of Medicine.
Benefits From Fiber
Chances are good that you need to add fiber to your diet. Most Americans only consume 15 grams of fiber daily, compared to the recommended daily intake of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, reports the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. Adding avocados to your daily diet will help you increase your fiber because you’ll get 6.7 grams from one-half of an avocado. The soluble fiber in avocados helps protect your cardiovascular health by lowering levels of cholesterol. It also slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, which keeps your blood sugar balanced.
Even though avocados are a little high in calories, their calories come packaged together with a good dose of nutrients. Just one-half of the fruit has 487 milligrams of potassium, which is the same amount as a large banana. Potassium helps lower your blood pressure and keeps your muscles and nerves working. Avocados are a good source of many of your daily vitamins. You’ll get about 11 percent of your recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C and niacin and 20 percent of your daily folate and vitamin B-6 from one-half avocado. The same portion is also a good source of vitamins E and K.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Avocados, Raw, All Commercial Varieties
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Avocado: The Misunderstood Fruit
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes
- Health.gov: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Bananas, Raw
- McKinley Health Center: Macronutrients: The Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat