The avocado is a green or black fruit that grows on evergreen trees in warm climates. The avocado contains heart-healthy fat, is versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. It also contains many other nutrients necessary for good health. While the fruit can be a nutritious part of your diet, you do need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of overindulging on avocado.
Although the avocado is a fruit, it can function as a vegetable in many recipes and dishes. Cut it into chunks and toss it with a salad of raw vegetables, or add it to a citrus fruit salad. Mash it up and feed it to your baby once he is eating solids, or cut it into small cubes so he can feed himself. Puree it with lime juice, tomatoes, cilantro, onion and salt to make guacamole, and serve it with tortilla chips or spread it on sandwiches. Try avocado warm, as well; mix it with oil and lime and serve it over shrimp and pasta, or add it to crab soup.
Avocado contains many nutrients that you need in your diet. Ounce for ounce, avocado contains more potassium, which is essential for muscle growth and organ function, than bananas. A 1 oz. serving contains 8 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting. Avocados also contain vitamins C and E, antioxidants that keep the immune system strong. Other important nutrients found in avocados include folate, riboflavin, fiber and vitamin B-6.
Heart Healthy Fat
Each 1 oz. serving of avocado contains 4.5 g of monounsaturated fat. This type of fat is important for heart health, as it does not raise your LDL, or bad, cholesterol level, and might reduce it when eaten instead of unhealthy saturated and trans fats, says the American Heart Association. One disadvantage to eating too much avocado is that you may ingest too much fat. Your total fat intake should make up no more than 25 percent to 35 percent of your daily caloric intake. If you eat 2,000 calories per day, eating an entire 5 oz. avocado could use up close to half of your daily allotment of 50 g to 70 g of fat per day.
An allergy to latex, bananas, tomatoes, kiwi or chestnuts may predispose you to a cross-reaction if you eat avocado. Use caution, especially if you are allergic to latex, as avocado has the potential to cause a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. If you eat avocado and experience oral swelling, hives, trouble breathing or difficulty swallowing, seek emergency medical care. If you have an allergic reaction to avocado, let your doctor know so you can be tested for allergy to latex and other fruits.
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- Food and Drug Administration: Information For Restaurants & Retail Establishments
- "American Family Physician"; Latex Allergy; Sumana Reddy, M.D.; January 1998
- California Avocado Commission: Avocado Nutrients
- Avocado Recipes: Easy Avocado Recipe Collection