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Avocados have always been popular for their nutritional value and health benefits. In fact, the cultivation and use of avocados have been traced back to 8000 B.C. It is said that avocado trees (Persea americana) are native to the Central and South America, but now they are grown in most of the tropical regions across the globe. With a unique flavor and nutty taste, avocados are packed with a wide array of nutrients. They are rich in various vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.

Avocado Nutritional Value

Avocados are otherwise known as butter fruit, due to their buttery flesh. They are also referred to as alligator pears, for the coarse, dark-colored skin (especially, in the Hass variety). The buttery flesh of this fruit has a nutty flavor. While some people detest the flavor, others avoid this fruit due to its high fat content. However, avocados are tagged as one of the most nutritious fruits in the world, and regular use of this fruit in moderate amounts is recommended by health experts. According to recent researches, the fats found in avocados are actually beneficial for the human body. The following table will provide you with a basic understanding about the nutritional value of avocados.

Nutrients in 100 g of raw avocado (California)

Calories167 Kcal
Water72.3 g
Carbohydrate8.6 g
Protein2 g
Fiber6.8 g
Total Sugar0.3 g
Total Saturated fat2.1 g
Total Monounsaturated fat9.8 g
Total Polyunsaturated fat1.8 g
VitaminValue
Vitamin A147 IU
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.075 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.143 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)1.91 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)0.287 mg
Folate89 mcg
Vitamin C8.8 mg
Vitamin E1.97 mg
Vitamin K21 mcg
MineralValue
Potassium507 mg
Selenium0.4 mcg
Calcium13 mg
Sodium8 mg
Phosphorus54 mg
Magnesium29 mg
Iron0.61 mg
Zinc0.68 mg
Manganese0.1 mg

* Source: USDA National Nutrient Database

Avocado Fat Content

There are many who avoid eating avocados due to the high fat content of the fruit. In fact, around 80% of the calories in avocado comes from fat only. However, the good news is that almost 90% of this fat is monounsaturated fat, which is considered to be relatively healthy. The amount of monounsaturated fats in an avocado is five times than that of polyunsaturated fats. It is one of those fruits with highest concentration of monounsaturated fats. Another plus point is the presence of oleic acid in large amounts. A type of monounsaturated fat, oleic acid is believed to lower the risk of heart diseases and certain types of cancer. Other types of fats, like polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols and phytosterols in avocado, are anti-inflammatory in nature. In short, the composition of fats in avocados is unique, and is found to be healthy for humans.

Health Benefits

Being highly nutritious, avocados offer a wide range of health benefits. The fruit has high levels of carotenoids, which require dietary fats for absorption. The advantage of this fruit is that it provides the right types of fats, that too in right amounts, so that the carotenoids are absorbed properly. The fats in avocados help the body in absorbing carotenoids from other food sources too. Carotenoids, along with other beneficial components in avocados, like the phytosterols, omega-3 fatty acids, and polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols, protect the body from inflammatory conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis.

Though there is no adequate scientific backing for the claim, avocados are believed to be good for heart health. Intake of this fruit is said to lower cholesterol levels. High level of B vitamins in the fruit is another factor that is said to be beneficial for cardiovascular health. Avocados are also claimed to be beneficial for lowering blood sugar levels and for preventing liver damage. As far as the anti-cancer properties of the fruit are concerned, studies are still underway. With a low sugar content, avocado is said to be good for diabetics. However, excessive intake is not advisable. This fruit is also used for skin and hair care. Avocado is very widely used in hair masks and other beauty products.

In short, avocados are rich in nutrients and can be included in your daily diet, in moderate amounts. If you are calorie conscious, you can use avocado as a replacement for some fatty items like dips and spreads.