Avocados are often misunderstood. While you might think of them as vegetables, the fact is that an avocado is actually a nutrient-dense fruit. And although they're high in calories and fat that doesn't make them bad for your health. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which promote heart health and basic body functions. When you eat them in moderation, avocados can make a healthy addition to your diet plan.
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Many people, especially those watching their calorie intakes, avoid avocados because of their high calorie and fat content. One cup of cubed avocado contains 240 calories and 22 grams of fat. Compare this to 1 cup of broccoli, which has just 52 calories and .6 grams of fat, or 1 cup of green beans with 44 calories and .3 grams of fat. If you enjoy the sweet, nutty flavor of avocados in your salad but are watching your weight, opt for just a small amount of avocado and load up your salad with plenty of low-calorie veggies and fruits instead.
Consuming monounsaturated fats, which are found in avocados, in lieu of saturated or trans fats, which are found in animal and dairy products and processed foods, can help lower your cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. Your body needs some fat to help with hormone production, pad your internal organs, keep your hair and skin healthy and absorb certain vitamins. You should aim to consume between 25 and 35 percent of your daily calories from fats, primarily unsaturated varieties. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this is between 55 and 77 grams of fat per day. A serving of avocado fits within these recommendations.
A 1-cup serving of cubed avocado provides a wealth of other nutrients that promote good health. You get 10 grams of fiber, which helps keep digestion running smoothly and may contribute to lower cholesterol, promoting heart health. This size serving of avocado also provides 15 milligrams of vitamin C, 52 micrograms of vitamin K, which is essential to blood clotting, 3 milligrams of vitamin E, 122 micrograms of folate, a B vitamin, which helps with red blood cell production and 728 milligrams of potassium, which is more potassium than a small banana.
In addition to including avocado in your salads, the creamy texture of avocados works well in green smoothies or dips. Make a classic guacamole with lime juice and garlic and enjoy it with red bell pepper strips and carrot sticks instead of fatty chips. Add sliced avocado to egg white omelets instead of cheese, which contains saturated fat. Use avocado as a substitute for mayonnaise, another source of saturated fat, on sandwiches.