SAN ANTONIO – Avocados are deliciously popular but also very high in fat. That may leave you wondering: Can they also be healthy?
Avocados are on the menu more and more. They’re mashed on fancy whole grain breads at breakfast, topping sandwiches at lunch and, as the main ingredient in guacamole, used for celebrating everything from the Super Bowl to Cinco de Mayo.
One medium avocado has about 114 calories and 10 grams of fat.
“Avocados are high in fat, so you should eat them in moderation,” said Julia Calderone, Consumer Reports’ health editor. “But it’s the good kind of fat. It’s monounsaturated fat, which can reduce your bad, LDL cholesterol, and that can actually reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.”
If you choose Hass avocados — the small, dark ones with the pebbly surface –– you get slightly more fat than Florida avocados, which are larger and a brighter green. However, any avocado can be a good choice.
Avocados are also chock-full of vitamins, including folate, B6, C, E and K. They are also rich in blood-pressure lowering potassium. Plus, a half of an avocado contains almost 5 grams of fiber, roughly 15-20 percent of the amount you need every day.
“They also contain nutrients that have been shown to be important for eye health, such as lutein. That can help protect against things like age-related macular degeneration or cataracts,” Calderone said.
Fat helps the body better absorb antioxidants – not just from the avocado itself but from other fruits and vegetables.
Tossing avocado chunks into a salad or smoothie or pairing guacamole with fresh veggies are good dietary strategies.