Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough
Special to the Village News
Avocado is the main ingredient found in guacamole; it's also a topper for salads, on a sandwich or wrap, and even in smoothies. The Hass is the most common variety in the U.S. Each serving is packed with 20 vitamins and minerals, potassium, folate, and lutein. Potassium helps control blood pressure, folate is needed for cellular repair, and lutein is good for the eyes.
These green fruits also contain vitamins B, C, and E. Vitamin B helps fight off infection, while vitamins C and E have been found to help fight cancer. They're low in sugar and high in fiber. Sounds too good to be true, and the catch is that avocados are high in fat.
However, this is the good type of fat called "monounsaturated" which helps lower bad cholesterol. The problem is that one serving of avocado is 1/3 of a medium pick. This small amount has 50 calories with 4.5 grams of fat. Doesn't sound like much but the reality is that this is a mere one or two dips in the guacamole bowl. Moderation is not avocado's strong suit.
Too much of anything of course catches up with the body. The plus side is that avocados have so many positive benefits. Avocados contain vitamins A, K, C, E, B, iron, potassium, zinc, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and folate. This fruit may help reduce inflammation in the body. Avocados may help the body absorb nutrients from other foods. They have been linked to cancer prevention because they contain phytochemicals that prevent the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells. Avocados are also high in fiber which helps with digestion. One serving contains 2 grams of fiber, which means they also help the body feel fuller.
Yes, avocados are healthy. However, that doesn't give the green light to have as much as desired. Extra pounds will accumulate if eaten in excess. Avocados are a great alternative to other condiments and sauces.
The key to recognize is that 77% of the calories in avocados are composed of fat. This is the very healthy type of fat, the same found in olive oil. Avocados fit nicely into a healthy diet but sticking to reasonable portions is the key. It's too easy to eat too much without noticing. The whole avocado is just too much.... sadly.
Avocados can be part of an effective weight loss approach, but when eaten in the proper amount. That means some chips will have to spare the dip.
Megan Johnson McCullough, EdD, recently earned her doctorate in physical education and health science, is a professional natural bodybuilder and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine master trainer.