You are most likely a UCSB student or at least in California as you read this blog post. If so, you are surely no stranger to the avocado. Avocados are a centerpiece of California food culture. Every year the California Avocado Festival takes place in Carpinteria, just a twenty minute drive from the UCSB campus- a whole festival dedicated to a single fruit! We get it. They’re creamy. They’re delicious. They’re what makes guacamole possible. Enough said. But how do avocados measure up in health and nutrition? Read on to learn more.
The avocado tree is native to Mexico and is actually categorized botanically as a berry. The avocado is used in sweet dishes and drinks in countries such as the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India. It is blended into milkshakes or mashed with sugar, milk, or water. In other countries such as Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Argentina it is made into a savory dish. One of the most common dishes that we know in California is the Mexican dish of guacamole.
Avocados are rich in nutrients. The recommended serving size is about one-fifth of a medium avocado. One serving contains 8% of your daily value (DV) of fiber. Avocados also provide mono and polyunsaturated fats to your diet as well as essential fatty acids. Avocados provide 0.5g of polyunsaturated fats and 3g of monounsaturated fats in a single serving. Studies have shown that decreasing the amounts of saturated fats and increasing the amounts of unsaturated fats in your diet can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve good ( HDL) cholesterol levels. Avocados also contain high amounts of essential vitamins. In one serving you are receiving 8% of Vitamin K, 6% of folate, 4% of Vitamin C and E, and 4% of potassium, riboflavin, and niacin.
Avocadoes do have a high amount of fats. In one serving of avocado there is about 7g of fat. The fats in avocados are mono and unsaturated fats which are the recommended fats over saturated fats. Many people mistakenly believe that eliminating all fats from their diet is the healthiest route but we all need fats in order for our bodies to function properly. Fats are an important part of every healthy diet.It is just important to consume all things in moderation- even the good fats in avocados.
Avocados can be a great addition to a healthy diet. Use guacamole in place of cheese in your burrito or throw a few slices into your next smoothie. Maybe change it up a bit and put avocado slices in your sandwich or on your omelette or even use it in a pasta sauce. The choices are endless!