So you want to eat a little bit better, but refuse to subsist entirely on sad salads and depressing handfuls of mixed nuts? Good news: You can have the best of both worlds — that is, good health and good food — so long as you mind your portion sizes and limit how often you indulge in the less-than-healthy stuff. To help you stay healthy and satisfied, we’re asking nutrition experts how often you can dig into your favorite unhealthy snacks without setting yourself back too far. The focus this time around: Avocados.
They call avocados “the magical fruit” (it’s technically a berry!) and who am I to disagree — the avocado, whether sliced, diced, or in guacamole form, is freaking delicious. Hell, you can even use them to make really, really good chocolate pudding.
But are they healthy? Why, yes, yes they are, but of course you knew that already. “The avocado is often referred to as a ‘superfood,’ due to its abundant amounts of fiber, antioxidants and vitamins,” says Dr. David Friedman, a Clinical Nutritionist and author of Food Sanity: How to Eat in a World of Fads and Fiction. “It’s also one of the best sources of potassium, an essential mineral that helps regulate muscle contractions, maintains healthy nerve function and regulates fluid balance — a mineral that approximately 98 percent of Americans do not consume enough of.”
But there’s something else that avocados have a lot of that we’ve all been afraid of for years, and that’s fat. In a single, medium-sized avocado there might be close to 25 grams of fat, and 250 calories. For comparison, there’s only 11 grams of fat in a donut — less than half!
As you might’ve guessed, though, that’s only part of the story. That’s because the kind of fat in avocados, monounsaturated fat, is considered “healthy,” in that it is believed to help lower cholesterol, increase weight loss and reduce triglycerides — unlike, of course, the saturated and trans fats in the donut, which do pretty much the opposite.
So given the fact that avocados are high in healthy fat, and generally very good for you, how much avocado can you eat? “In 2015, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee (GDAC), an independent group of scientists tasked with reviewing existing scientific and medical research on nutrition, recommended there should be no restriction of total fat consumption of healthy fats like avocados, nuts and fish,” says Dr. Friedman. “Avocados are chock-full of vital vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fat, which helps benefit the heart, brain, muscles and bones! Make some tasty guacamole, or add an avocado slice to your morning omelet; the options are endless.”
Avocados truly are a magical fruit!