Medical Reviewed by Ashwathy V. Pillai, Postgraduate Degree in Dietetics & Applied Nutrition
Avocado is a versatile fruit which is also known as butter fruit or alligator pear. It is a unique fruit that is rich in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which make it’s texture creamy and smooth.
This is the ‘good fat’ helps lower bad cholesterol, thus it is helpful in reducing weight. Avocados can be eaten raw or it can be cooked or baked in the form of various dishes.
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Besides being tremendously helpful in weight management, avocados are blessed with nutrition. It is due to its high nutrition value, avocados are also good for heart diseases, diabetes, liver damage as well as for fighting risks of cancer.
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There are various types of avocados found in different colors, shapes, and sizes. It comes in different hues of green, ranging from light green to black when it is fully ripe.
The most popular type of avocado is ‘Hass avocado’, which is round in size and black in color.
Avocado in India
- Avocado is a tropical fruit which is in existence since the 1900s in India.
- Avocados have their native in Mexico and Central America and they hold much importance in the Mexican cuisine.
- Avocado is grown in the Coorg region of Karnataka and some parts of India as well.
- It is most commonly called butter fruit in India.
Do you know ?
The avocado fruit is called in various names in parts of India?
In Hindi it is called ‘Makkhan-Phal’; Telugu it’s called ‘Venna Pandu’; Tamil it’s called ‘Vennai pazham’; Marathi ‘Alpukat’, Mager Nashpati in Urdu; and Kannada ‘Benne Hannu’.
Nutritional value of avocado
Butter fruit is highly nutritious that contains a wide variety of nutrients including 20 different vitamins and minerals. It consists of 73 percent of water, 8.5 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent fat and 2 percent protein. Half an avocado contains 109 calories which are equal to 160 calories per 100 grams.
Here, is a list of nutrition facts of avocado:
1. Avocados contain good Fat
Among all the fruits, avocado is a very extraordinary fruit that is low in saturated fat. The most interesting part of this fruit is that the oil of avocado is used for cooking and it acts as a very good moisturizer for the skin and hair.
Avocado oil contains high levels of antioxidants, including carotenoids, tocopherols, polyphenols, and proanthocyanidins. It is a great source of healthy fats which contains oleic acid (monounsaturated omega 9 fatty acid).
These yummy Omega 3 smoothie recipes are designed to provide your body with the essential Omega-3 fats, fibre, and protein.
How many calories are there in an avocado?
A large avocado contains as many as 400 calories. If you want to boost up your mood, eat a small avocado every day for a week or so. Otherwise, eat a half or whole avocado several times a week.
2. Avocados are fibre-rich
Fiber is a nutrient that is found in large amounts in avocados. Dietary fiber plays an important role as a dietary component which has immense health benefits of avocado. It regulates appetite and reduces the risk of many diseases. Moreover, it keeps you full, hence, suppresses hunger pangs!
A 100 gram serving of avocado contains 7 grams of fiber, which is 27% of the recommended daily amount. About 25% of the fiber in avocado is soluble, while 75% is insoluble.
3. Low in carbs
Avocados are low in sugar content compared to other fruits. They also have a low glycemic index which does not let the blood sugar levels to rise in the body. Half an avocado contains 0.5 grams of sugar in different forms – fructose, glucose, and galactose.
How many carbs are in a avocado?
Around 100 grams of avocado contains only 9 grams of total carbohydrates.
4. Contain Vitamins & minerals
Avocados have abundant vitamins and minerals in them and that’s the main reason why it is the most loved fruit. The list of minerals and vitamins has been given below:
- Folate – It is essential for normal cell function and for the growth of tissues.
- Vitamin K – It is necessary for clotting of the blood and bone health.
- Potassium – It controls the blood pressure thus, helping in the proper functioning of the heart.
- Vitamin E – It is a powerful antioxidant which is often found in fatty plant foods.
- Copper- Copper helps with the formation of collagen, increases the absorption of iron and plays a role in energy production.
- Vitamin B6 – It is a group of related vitamins that are responsible for converting food into energy.
- Avocado also contains small amounts of iron, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, phosphorous, vitamin A B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).
- Vitamin C – The benefits of vitamin C include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, etc. It is overall very beneficial for health.
All of these nutrients in avocado contains 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber so there are only 2 “net” carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.
Health Benefits of Avocado
Avocado is an incredible fruit among health-conscious individuals. It has all the valuable nutrients which are essential for a healthy diet.
The health benefits of Avocado helps to decreases the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and also helps in keeping the skin and hair beautiful and overall reduces body weight.
1. Helps the Heart
Avocados are known to contain 25 milligrams per ounce of beta-sitosterol, a natural plant sterol. This compound helps to lower your cholesterol levels and also lower the risk of heart disease.  
2. Good for Eyesight
The avocado fruit contains two phytochemicals, lutein, and zeaxanthin which are located in the eyes. They provide protection to the eyes from the ultraviolet rays.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are very important for eye health and lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
3. Prevents Osteoporosis
Vitamin k is essential for bone health, a nutrient that is overlooked is found in avocado. It is often overshadowed by other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D and calcium.
Half an avocado provides 25 percent of vitamin k which supports bone health. It reduces the urinary excretion of calcium and increases the calcium absorption in the body.
4. Improves digestion
Avocado is high in fiber, with 6-7 grams per half fruit. Fiber foods help in digestion, prevent constipation, and lowers the risk of colon cancer. 
Highly recommended antioxidant smoothie
5. Reduces depression
Butter fruit contains folate, a B vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Folate is very crucial for cell repair and pregnancy.
Folate helps to decrease the risk of depression as folate helps to stop the buildup of homocysteine, a substance that can damage circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. 
6. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas
Avocados are very high in potassium that aids in blood pressure levels. Potassium is an important mineral that the body requires. It supports the electrical gradients in the cells of the body. With 100-gram serving avocados contain 14 percent of the RDA compared to 10 percent in bananas.
Potassium is known to have several health benefits such as it reduces blood pressure, prevents kidney failure and heart stroke.
7. Avocados might help fighting cancer
Cancer is one of the dreaded diseases that it has the capability to kill a person. Studies have shown that avocados can prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells. It also has the ability to lower the side effects of chemotherapy in the cells.
8. Avocado may reduce symptoms of arthritis
Arthritis is a common chronic problem that persists in our country. It is such a disease that does not give you any kind of relief. But, the extract of an avocado is known to reduce symptoms of arthritis of the bones, which is called osteoarthritis.
Additional benefits of avocado
Some people have misconceptions whether avocado should be avoided in calorie-restricted diets because they are high in fats. But, it is just the opposite eating avocados by adding it to your diet will help you in losing weight.
Instead, if you add avocados to your diet it will help you to feel more satiated, which will reduce your desire to eat more often. Thus, avocados are a weight loss friendly food and an excellent supplement to an effective weight loss diet.
Avocado is considered a superfood because it does not contain cholesterol or sodium and is low in saturated fat.
Avocado is the only fruit that absorbs nutrients from plant foods. It has the ability to absorb nutrients from the digestive tract and deliver the nutrients to your body.
Some nutrients are fat-soluble vitamins which mean that it needs to be combined with healthy fat (found in avocado) in order to be used and utilized.
Fat soluble nutrients are vitamins A, D,E and K as well as antioxidants like carotenoids.
Avocado is also well known for its anti-inflammatory properties because it contains both vitamins E and K, that reduces cellular inflammation.
Avocado is very good and prevents liver damage. The antibacterial and antioxidant properties of flavonoids found in avocado help to get rid of bad breath because they have the ability to kill the bacteria in the mouth.
Avocado is known to have a powerful antioxidant called ‘Xanthophyll’ which decreases the signs of the ageing process. The good fats in avocado are known to protect the skin and it has two types of fat.
- Polyunsaturated fats keep the skin protected from sun damage and inflammation.
- Monounsaturated fats keep the top layer of the skin moisturized preventing the skin to form wrinkles.
The vitamin C and E in avocados protects the skin cells by keeping the skin hydrated making the skin looking radiant.
Having a mood swing? Eat an avocado
Yes, you read it right! Avocados are the only fruit that regulates the mood. Serotonin and dopamine are the two chemicals that regulate the mood and helps to get better sleep.
Avocados consist of folate, a vitamin that helps to prevent the excess amounts of homocysteine that block serotonin and dopamine in the body. Eating an avocado will help to improve the mood and will give you a sound sleep at night.
With all the great health benefits of avocado offers, it has become a popular choice for healthy dishes. You can eat the bitter fruit the way you want to by whipping it into a milkshake or adding it to your sandwich.
After reading how avocados are a powerhouse of healthy nutrients you must be wondering to rush to the market to buy avocados and cook them up into delicious food.
Here, is a list of some recipes to cook these fleshy avocados, from dips to sandwiches you have got it all.
1. Corn and Avocado Salad
A healthy and nutritious salad filled with the goodness of corn, tomatoes and bell peppers.
- 1 boiled corn
- 1 diced onion
- ½ red and yellow bell pepper diced
- 3-4 cherry tomatoes
- ½ green chillies chopped
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves
- 1 chopped avocado(ripe)
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil for drizzle
- Salt and Pepper to taste
In a bowl mix together all the ingredients and toss well.
‘Guacamole’ is a traditional Mexican dip, rich with avocado butter and whipped with salt, lime, garlic and chilli. Make this delicious spread for bread instead of using mayonnaise as a bread spread.
- 1 avocado and tomato
- ½ onion
- 1 green chilli
- Coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Lemon juice
Mash the avocado lightly and add the chopped tomatoes, onions, green chilli and chopped coriander. Add salt and lemon juice and mix.
Is Guacamole dip good for you?
Guacamole is rich in fiber, potassium and other essential nutrients, guacamole dip is healthy and can prevent certain illnesses.
3. Greek Avocado Toast with Cherry Tomatoes
An easy to cook a recipe that you can start your breakfast with. A delicious toasted bread teamed with avocado spread.
- A ripe avocado
- ½ tsp of lime juice
- 1 clove garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, mash the avocado then add lime juice and garlic. Spread this over a toast and garnish it with some tomatoes and fresh lettuce.