How many calories in avocados?
Avocados get a lot of press — from being ridiculed as an expensive treat enjoyed by millennials to being hailed as a source of heart-healthy fats. Some people claim avocados are a miracle health food, while others say they have too many calories. While avocados are more calorie-dense than many other vegetables, they pack a lot of nutrition and healthy fats. As a result, you can enjoy them guiltlessly in moderation as part of your healthy weight-loss diet.
A whole avocado has between 200 and 300 calories depending on its size. It also contains between 20 and 25 grams of fat, of which 15 grams is healthy monounsaturated fat. Although avocados aren't low in calories, they contain healthy fat and fiber, which means they'll fill you up, making it harder to overindulge. Avocados are also high in potassium and vitamin E. They can help you better absorb other nutrients, including the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Benefits of avocados
There is a reason avocados are hailed as a health food. Some of the nutritional benefits of avocado include:
Though they contain more fat than carbohydrates, it's the heart-healthy kind of fat that won't increase your cholesterol levels. Avocados' high fat content makes them an excellent option for vegan and vegetarian diets. They're also popular with people counting their carbs, such as those with diabetes.
In addition to filling you up while helping you lower your cholesterol, the healthy fats in avocados are good for your brain, skin, joints, and digestion.
One avocado packs around 10 grams of fiber, a significant portion of the 25 grams you should eat daily. If you're trying to lose weight, fiber is your friend. It can help you feel fuller for longer. In addition, it can help lower your blood sugar and cholesterol and prevent some kinds of cancer.
Avocados contain fat-soluble carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin. These plant compounds naturally occur in your eyes. They protect your eyes from damage from the sun's ultraviolet light. Eating a diet rich in lutein and zeaxanthin is associated with a decreased risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
Eating avocados is linked to a healthier gut microbiome. Prebiotics like those in avocados provide the food that good bacteria need to feed on to produce probiotics. A recent study of people who ate avocados daily indicated that they might be absorbing less fat from their diets, which could help with weight control.
How many avocados should you eat?
Although avocados offer many benefits as part of a plant-focused, whole-food diet, they shouldn't be your only source of healthy fat. If you're trying to lose weight, it's best to eat no more than one avocado daily. Sticking with one avocado daily will give you room to include other sources of healthy fats in your diet, such as olives, olive oil, seeds, and nuts. It's essential to include a variety of healthy fats in your diet to receive the maximum benefits.
Buying and storing avocados
When you're shopping for avocados, look for one with dark green, almost black skin that yields to slight pressure when squeezed. Avocados with lighter green skin that are hard aren't ripe yet. You can still purchase them, but you'll have to wait until they ripen to eat them. Avocados continue to ripen after they're harvested. However, you should avoid buying avocados that have shriveled skin and soft spots. These are overripe and won't be good to eat.
Once you get your avocados home, you should use the ripe ones immediately or store them in the refrigerator. A hard, unripe avocado will ripen if left at room temperature for two to three days. If you want to speed up the process, you can put your avocado in a paper bag with a banana. Bananas emit ethylene gas that will hasten ripening.
Avocados are endlessly versatile. Their bland taste makes them ideal for both sweet and savory recipes. Preparing them is simple, and they are easy to use in various dishes.
Pitting and peeling avocados
To peel and pit your avocado, do the following:
- Thoroughly wash your avocado.
- Slit it lengthwise around the pit.
- Rotate the avocado halves and pull them apart.
- Slide the tip of a spoon underneath the pit and gently lift it out.
- Scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon.
- Sprinkle the avocado with lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar to prevent browning.
Store your avocado in an airtight container in your refrigerator. If it turns brown, it's fine to eat, but you can also scrape off the brown layer before you eat it. To store leftovers and prevent them from turning brown, place plastic wrap on the surface of the avocado before you refrigerate it.
Best ways to enjoy avocados
You don't need to make big changes to your diet to enjoy avocados. Instead, you can incorporate them into your normal meals for a healthy addition:
- Mash up an avocado and smear it on your hamburger or sandwich in place of mayonnaise.
- Top your sandwich with a few slices of avocado along with tomatoes, lettuce, and onions.
- Dice an avocado and add it to your favorite salad.
- Blend some avocado in with your favorite dressing.
- Mash an avocado in with the yolks when you're making deviled eggs.
- Use diced avocado instead of cheese in your favorite omelet recipe.
- Put a heaping spoonful of chicken salad into an avocado half.
- Stick with a classic and make guacamole for dipping corn chips and fresh vegetables.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Society for Nutrition: "Avocado Consumption: Feeding your gut microbiota."
Better Health Foundation: "Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Avocados."
Cedars Sinai: "In Case You Need a Reason to Eat More Avocado."
Cleveland Clinic: "Can You Eat Too Much Avocado?"
The Nutrition Source: "Avocados."
University of Nebraska-Lincoln: "Peeling and Pitting an Avocado."
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