Avocados are a popular summer food. They’re also considered to be a super food by some nutrition experts because of their high micronutrient levels and the naturally occurring “good” fat they contain.
That fat is monounsaturated fat, which has been found to lower blood cholesterol levels and protect against cardiovascular disease when it replaces saturated fat in the diet, according to Kirk Vidrine, a local nutrition and fitness consultant.
“Because avocados are a good source of these fats, you can argue that avocados may have cardiovascular health benefits,” Vidrine said.
Avocados are also rich in vitamin K, E, B vitamins, folic acids and potassium, all of which are very beneficial to the body.
Vitamin K is primarily known for blood clotting in the body. Research is also looking into its effects on bone health, Vidrine said.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which protects against free-radical cell damage, and also helps create red blood cells.
Vitamin B6 supports the immune system and antibody production and is required for the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters.
Folic acids are essential for cell development, particularly during pregnancy and infancy.
Potassium plays vital roles in the function and regulation of cells, acid-base balance, metabolism and protein.
With so many health benefits, you might be tempted to eat an avocado every day. But as Vidrine points out, though full of nutrients, avocados are packed with calories - and fat.
“True, the fat found in avocados may be a so-called healthy fat,” Vidrine said. “But, it’s still fat and it all adds up.”
Vidrine suggests being mindful of the portion size of the avocado you are consuming and don’t overindulge.
One serving of avocados is slightly less than 1/4 of a medium-sized avocado. That equates to about 50 calories, 4.5 grams of total fat (3 grams monounsaturated), 3 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber and 1 gram of protein.
One other bit of advice: If eating avocados as part of a spread or dip, like Vidrine’s Best Guacamole Ever, make sure not to pile on additional calories by adding sour cream, eating it with too many fried tortilla chips or washing it down with calorie-laden margaritas or beer.