There are only three things absolutely certain in life: death, taxes, and the fact that everyone will always love avocados. The beloved healthy fruit, for better or for worse, has even moved off our plates to make its mark on pop culture as wall art, athleisure, and pool floats. But nutrition-wise, are avocados really worthy of the over-the-top praise and devotion we give them?
That’s the question registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, tackles in the inaugural episode of Well+Good’s new YouTube series, You Versus Food. The goal? To give a no-B.S. nutritional breakdown on the most popular food and drink trends. Because let’s face it: Between adaptogens, collagen, and whatever the latest trendy eating plan is, living your healthiest life can get pretty baffling.
So, for those of us who are forgoing mortgages in favor of more avo toast, here’s what you need to know about the beloved fruit.
What exactly are the benefits of avocados?
A “fun” fact: the proper serving size of an avocado is actually 1/3 of the fruit. Which doesn’t sound like much, TBH. But that small portion actually contains a lot of nutrients, per the USDA:
- Calories: 80
- Fat: 7 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 4 grams
- Sugar: 0.3 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
Beyond the nutritional breakdown, avocados have a ton of benefits for you health. The short list:
1. They’re high in healthy fats. Specifically, monounsaturated fats, Beckerman says. “Research has shown that eating an avocado can actually improve your cholesterol,” she says.
2. They’re also pretty high in fiber, too. One avocado has 14 grams of fiber, Beckerman says—about half of your daily recommended intake of the nutrient. A diet high in fiber can help improve metabolism, support a healthy gut, and is linked to a reduced risk of diabetes, cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Plus, she says the fiber helps you feel fuller for longer.
3. They have nutrients that help protect your vision. That’s a surprising one. Beckerman says that avocados are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that can protect you from the blue light emitted by your phone, computer, and other screens. (Good, because blue light glasses aren’t everyone’s style.)
4. Avocados may help you get a better night’s sleep. That’s because the fruit is full of magnesium, a mineral that can help the body fall and stay asleep. It also helps your body better absorb vitamin D and can improve cognition and reduce stress.
5. It’s high in important antioxidants. Specifically, glutathione, the “Beyonce of antioxidants,” says Beckerman. The liver uses glutathione to help filter out toxins from the body.
6. They’re less likely to be contaminated with pesticides. Unlike, ahem, kale, avocados are generally members of the “Clean 15” aka they’re a produce item that usually is not sprayed with pesticides.
So for everyone out there who’s ever wondered if avocados are actually healthy while mashing up two of them on a piece of toast…you’re in pretty good hands, IMO.
This piece was originally published on November 29, 2018. It was updated on April 4, 2019.
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