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I've heard it's beneficial to include avocados in your diet. What are the benefits of eating avocados, and how much avocado can I eat without overdoing it?
At first glance, avocados appeared to be a bad choice because a medium-sized one contains as much fat as 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Research took another look at them and found that the fat in avocados is different from that in mayonnaise and would end up being beneficial when used to replace foods that are high in saturated and/or trans fat. The other health benefits to adding them to your diet are that they provide phytochemicals and more than 25 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and folic acid.
As good as avocados are they do need to be limited. The dietary guidelines are to eat less than 30% of your calories from fat and too many avocados could easily put you over your daily limit. The other reason to set limits is because with high fat comes high calories and excess calories will result in weight gain.
The recommended serving size is one-sixth of a medium avocado (approximately 2 tablespoons). Each serving contains 55 calories and five grams of fat, so be sure to factor this into your daily calorie and fat goals. Some great ways to add avocado to your diet are to add slices to your salad, soup and salsa; use it as a spread in place of butter or mayonnaise; or replace sour cream in dips with it. You can find many great recipes at http://www.avocado.org/.
Medically reviewed by Robert Bargar, MD; Board Certification in Public Health & General Preventive Medicine