3. How healthy is the avocado? Benefits of the butter fruit

Avocados are tasty. When the healthy berry has reached the perfect degree of ripeness, it melts in your mouth. Depending on the variety, the taste varies from nutty-intense to very mild. Of course, not many people eat avocados pure. Only with a little salt and chilli powder the butter fruit becomes a real treat for me. Others love to enjoy it with lime juice, which also prevents the avocado from turning brown.

The avocado is said to have numerous health benefits. I will examine the most important ones in the following paragraphs: fats, vitamins and minerals.

I often found a surprising range of values for specific vitamins in my research. This is due to differences in measurement, but also because different varieties of avocado contain different ingredients. The Hass avocado, for example, has a particularly high fat content.

I. Avocados contain healthy fats. They contribute to lower cholesterol levels and can help with weight loss.

Fat content: Between 8 and 33 g per 100g, depending on the variety.

Of which at 15 g 2.1 g saturated fatty acids, approx. 1 g monounsaturated and approx. 10 g polyunsaturated fatty acids.

=> Daily requirement varies depending on calorie intake.

The butterfruit lives up to its name: with about 15 g fat per 100g, it is undoubtedly one of the berries with the highest fat content. For the Hass variety, some sources even speak of 33.7g of fat per 100g. But this fat consists mainly of unsaturated fatty acids that have positive effects on your body. According to a study conducted with overweight patients, one avocado per day in an otherwise moderate diet can reduce the cholesterol content in the blood.

The positive effect can be attributed to the high fibre content as well as the content of β-phytosterols. The latter weaken the absorption of cholesterol from the digestive system, which leads to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Avocados also contain 7 C keto-sugar mannoheptulose, which according to the study regulates insulin production and supports lower calorie intake.

=> True: Avocados contain fats that are healthy for our bodies.

=> As part of an average balanced diet, avocados can lower the amount of cholesterol in your blood. This can have positive effects on your health.

=> Avocados can help you to lose weight. You will get full faster if use avocado instead of half-fat margarine on your bread. This way, you will eat fewer calories without starving.

There are already low-fat avocado varieties grown in Spain (2017). They contain about 30% less fat per 100g, i.e. about 8g fat per 100g instead of 12g. They ripen a little faster and oxidises a little slower in the air. Slimcados“ are also known from Florida (2016). But according to social media, their taste is not the best, despite their pleasant appearance and size.

Vitamins

II. Avocados contain a lot of vitamin D.

Between 0 and 3.4 μg per 100g.

=> Daily requirement: 2-4 μg (through diet).

=> 200g avocado could cover the daily requirement.

There is contradictory information on the vitamin D content of avocados: Some sources assume that avocados contain no vitamin D at all, others speak of up to 3.43 μg . Thus, one could cover one’s daily vitamin D requirement with an average avocado (approx. 200g). It is important to know that there are different levels of vitamin D and that you cannot cover your entire vitamin D requirement through food (on average only about 2-4 μg, but an intake of 20 μg is recommended). Directly, you can only get vitamin D from the sun, and that’s how we meet most of our vitamin D needs.

=> Whether and how much vitamin D avocados contain and how this can be absorbed by the body is not entirely clear. The vitamin D content is not a particular reason to eat more avocados.

III. Avocados contain a lot of vitamin E

2000 – 2030 μg per 100g

=> Daily requirement: 12 000-14 000 μg

=> 600g avocados could cover the daily requirement.

Avocados contain appreciable amounts of vitamin E. Nevertheless, it would be difficult to cover your vitamin E requirement exclusively with avocados. Vegetable oils, linseed or blackcurrants are regional alternatives (Middle Europe) that contain at least as much or even more vitamin E as avocados.

IV. Avocados contain a lot of vitamin A

19 μg per 100g

=> Daily requirement: 800- 1000 μg

4 kg of avocados could cover the daily requirement.

Avocados contain vitamin A, but you would have to eat a lot of avocados to completely cover your vitamin A needs. Other sources can cover your vitamin A needs more quickly, e.g. abricots (265) or carrots (2000 μg).

V. Avocados contain a lot of vitamin B6

270 μg per 100g

Daily requirement: approx. 1400 – 1600 μg

Approx. 520 g avocados can cover the daily requirement .

Avocados contain appreciable amounts of vitamin B6. Still, fish and shellfish, but also walnuts (870 μg), sesame seeds (790) and chickpeas (550) provide more.

Other ingredients

Avocados contain only small amounts of carbs, 0.4-9 g, making them an important part of many fitness diet plans. It is rare to find a berry with a lower sugar content. With about 1,9g per 100 g, the protein content is not remarkably high.

My analysis shows: Avocados are healthy – but they do not provide you with vitamins that could not be covered by other animal or vegetable sources. Thus, avocados are not an indispensable part of your diet, no matter whether fitness-oriented, vegetarian or vegan. So should you eat avoacados or not? If you like the taste – but not only because they are healthy. To cover your vitamin and fat needs, you can easily choose other, more regional products.

How many avocados end up in the bin? How can I prevent this? And should I not consume avocados at all, or are there sustainable options? Find out more in the next part of this series.  

Sources:

[1] https://fddb.info/db/de/lebensmittel/naturprodukt_avocado_frisch/index.html

[2] https://www.delish.com/food-news/a47529/skinny-avocados/

[3] https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/jaha.114.001355

[4] https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/jaha.114.001355

[5] https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/low-fat-avocados-invented-spain/101217

[6] https://www.delish.com/food-news/a47529/skinny-avocados/

[7] https://www.baliza.de/blog/files/avocados-vitamin-d.html

[8] https://www.dge.de/presse/pm/neue-referenzwerte-fuer-vitamin-d/

[9] https://www.dge.de/presse/pm/neue-referenzwerte-fuer-vitamin-d/

[10] https://www.geo.de/wissen/ernaehrung/vitamin-lexikon/20702-rtkl-avocados-diese-vitamine-stecken-drin

[11] https://www.mylife.de/gesunde-ernaehrung/vitamin-b6/

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