Avocados are high in fat, so they're also high in calories. But when it comes to avocado calories, it's better to focus on the complete nutritional package. These fruits deliver healthy fats, vitamins and minerals that support overall health.
A May 2013 report published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition and funded by the Hass Avocado Board assessed the potential health benefits of avocado. As it turns out, people who consume avocados regularly get significantly higher amounts of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium and other key nutrients into their diets than those who rarely eat these fruits.
Avocado Calories and Nutrition Facts
While the exact amount of calories varies depending on size, a typical California Hass avocado (the most common variety) has around 218 calories, according to the USDA. Avocado calories are indeed fairly high, but you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you focus solely on that. The calories in this fruit come from its macronutrients — carbohydrates, protein and fat — although the majority of calories come from fat.
An average-sized avocado contains 19.9 grams of total fat, 13.3 grams of which are in the form of monounsaturated fats, which may lower your risk of a heart attack and strokes and help your body develop and maintain its cells, according to the American Heart Association.
Monounsaturated fats may also help balance your blood sugar levels and protect against diabetes, states a July 2016 review in PLOS Medicine. In addition to healthy fats, an average-sized avocado also provides:
- 2.7 grams of protein
- 11.6 grams of carbohydrates
- 9.1 grams of fiber
Potential Health Benefits of Avocados
Although these fruits may seem high in carbohydrates, most of the avocado carbs are in the form of fiber, which makes it an acceptable part of a low-carb or ketogenic diet. As the Mayo Clinic points out, high-fiber foods can help you lose weight because they're more filling than low-fiber foods, making it easier to eat less. Fiber also keeps your blood sugar levels stable, which can help you slim down and lower your risk of developing diabetes.
The protein in avocados also plays various roles in your body, contributing to digestive health, strong bones, new cell formation and the delivery of oxygen to your cells. This nutrient can also help you maintain your figure or lose weight by keeping you full. According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in April 2015, protein is more satiating than carbs and fat.
Other Avocado Nutrition Data
These exotic fruits are loaded with nutrients, especially potassium — an essential mineral. According to an October 2019 review published in Antioxidants, fresh avocado contains more than 500 milligrams of potassium per 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces. That's 60 percent more than an equal serving of bananas.
The same review notes that potassium helps maintain your electrolyte balance and may improve cardiovascular health by keeping your blood pressure within normal limits. In addition to this mineral, avocado (about 136 grams) also provides the following nutrients, as reported by the USDA:
- 16.3 milligrams of calcium: keeps your bones, teeth and muscles strong.
- 39.4 milligrams of magnesium: helps regulate blood pressure and keeps your bones healthy.
- 70.7 milligrams of phosphorus: helps convert food into energy.
- 9.5 milligrams of sodium: plays a role in electrolyte balance and blood pressure.
- 13.6 milligrams of vitamin C: boosts the immune system and aids in collagen production.
- 110 micrograms of folate: helps your body create new cells and may lower the risk of birth defects.
- 28.6 micrograms of vitamin K: allows for normal blood clotting.
How to Eat Avocados
There are many ways to eat avocados. While guacamole is an obvious and delicious option, you can also try our Tropical Avocado Smoothie recipe, use avocado in place of mayonnaise in tuna salad or top omelets with some cubed pieces.
Other options include avocado hummus, avocado pesto sauce for pasta and avocado fries. You can even get some healthy fats and potassium in your dessert by using the fruit to prepare our Avocado Chocolate Mousse recipe or dairy-free avocado ice cream.
While there are many health benefits to eating avocados, you shouldn't go overboard. Ariana Cucuzza, RD, a registered dietitian from the Cleveland Clinic, recommends sticking to one-half to one avocado per day. If you only plan on eating half of the avocado, rub a little lemon or lime juice on the flesh of the remaining half and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
This can help prolong the avocado's life by blocking the flesh from excess exposure to air, which can result in oxidation — the chemical reaction responsible for fruit browning. After the avocado is tightly wrapped, store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat it.
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: "Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Avocado, Raw"
- Antioxidants: "The Odyssey of Bioactive Compounds in Avocado (Persea americana) and Their Health Benefits"
- American Heart Association: "Monounsaturated Fat"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Can You Eat Too Much Avocado?"
- Mayo Clinic: "Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet"
- Piedmont Healthcare: Why Is Protein Important in Your Diet?
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Listing of Vitamins"
- PLOS Medicine: "Effects of Saturated Fat, Polyunsaturated Fat, Monounsaturated Fat, and Carbohydrate on Glucose-Insulin Homeostasis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Feeding Trials"
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "The Role of Protein in Weight Loss and Maintenance"