Low in sugar and rich in healthy fats, avocado is the go-to choice for low-carb dieters. This fruit increases satiety and may protect against heart disease. Although there seems to be a connection between avocado, diarrhea and tummy pain, you can manage these issues by limiting your portions.
Avocado, Diarrhea and Stomach Pain
This popular fruit is best known for its high fat content. One avocado provides 322 calories, 4 grams of protein, 17 grams of carbohydrates and nearly 30 grams of fat. It has only 1.3 grams of sugar, making it ideal for ketogenic and low-carb diets. Potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin E and vitamin C are the most abundant nutrients in avocado.
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What you may not know is that avocado also delivers a lot of fiber. A single fruit contains 13.5 grams of this nutrient, or 54 percent of the daily recommended fiber intake for adults — and that's why it may cause gastrointestinal distress.
According to Duke University, fiber may cause diarrhea, constipation, bloating, cramps and other digestive symptoms when consumed in excess. Additionally, it can bind to zinc, iron, magnesium and other minerals, reducing their absorption in the body. Over time, too much fiber in the diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
If you experience what seems like avocado intolerance and stomach pain, fiber might be the culprit. In normal circumstances, this nutrient keeps you regular, supports colon health and may improve blood lipids. However, too much of it can wreak havoc on your gut. The daily recommended fiber intake is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, so try not to exceed these limits.
Avocado and Nausea
Stop searching for an avocado allergy remedy if you have diarrhea after eating this fruit. Food allergies may cause vomiting, nausea, heartburn and abdominal pain, according to a December 2016 research paper published in Nature Reviews Immunology. Therefore, there might be a connection between avocado and nausea, but not diarrhea.
Depending on the trigger, sufferers may also experience hives, itching and difficulty swallowing. Certain allergens, such as milk, eggs, soy, rice and oats — but not avocado — may cause diarrhea.
Furthermore, about half of all people who are allergic to latex report adverse reactions after eating avocados, plums, strawberries and other fruits. Again, diarrhea isn't a typical symptom. Instead, you may experience itchy eyes and skin, sneezing, coughing or difficulty breathing.
Avocado may also pose risks for those with oral allergy syndrome (OAS). This condition occurs when your immune system reacts to the proteins of pollen and similar compounds in certain fruits, nuts and veggies. People who are allergic to birch tree pollen, for instance, may also experience allergic reactions when they eat apples, mangos, kiwis, avocados, tomatoes, carrots, almonds and other foods.
OAS symptoms usually affect the mouth and throat, as reported in a review published in the Journal of Allergy in November 2015. These may include itching and burning in the mouth, swelling of the face or lips, dizziness, hives and rash. Honey is the only allergen that may cause digestive symptoms in those with OAS.
Beware of Foodborne Illnesses
Like most foods, avocado can be contaminated with molds, bacteria and other pathogens. These microorganisms may trigger diarrhea, among other symptoms. According to the FDA, this fruit may carry listeria and salmonella, two microorganisms responsible for foodborne illnesses.
Listeria infection is more common in newborns and people with weak immune systems, notes the Mayo Clinic. Its symptoms, which include diarrhea, nausea and fever, may occur within a few days to one month after contamination. If left unaddressed, this condition may affect the nervous system.
Read more: 11 Food-Safety Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making
Salmonella infection has similar symptoms, with fever, diarrhea and tummy pain being the most common. If you eat avocados contaminated with salmonella, you may begin to feel sick within six hours to four days. Contact your doctor immediately in case of severe diarrhea or vomiting, bloody stools and fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As you see, avocado is unlikely to cause digestive problems unless you eat too much of it. In rare instances, bacteria can be the culprit. This fruit provides more than half of the daily requirements for fiber, so enjoy it in moderation. As the Cleveland Clinic points out, eating up to one avocado a day is generally safe for healthy people.
- USDA: "Avocados"
- Duke University: "Fiber-How"
- Mayo Clinic: "Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet"
- Nature Reviews Immunology: "Food Allergy: Immune Mechanisms, Diagnosis and Immunotherapy"
- Better Health Channel: "Latex Allergy"
- Journal of Allergy: "Oral Allergy Syndrome: An Update for Stomatologists"
- FDA: "Microbiological Surveillance Sampling: FY14-16 Whole Fresh Avocados"
- Mayo Clinic: "Listeria Infection"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Salmonella Symptoms"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Can You Eat Too Much Avocado?"
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Avocado Consumption and Risk Factors for Heart Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis"