Avocados are often viewed as a great food for health. And, why not? They’re packed with healthy fats and nutrients, while the amount of carbs in avocados is very reasonable.
More importantly, avocados taste great. They’re a popular addition to the diet – and there’s no shortage of recipes that take advantage of them.
Read on to learn more about avocados and why they’re so powerful.
How Many Carbs in an Avocado?
A whole avocado contains around 11.8 grams of carbs (1). But, most of those carbs come from fiber. Once you exclude the fiber, a whole avocado is simply 2.6 grams of net carbs. If you only eat half, that’s 1.3 grams of net carbs.
For anyone counting net carbs, avocados are simply amazing. The fruit is extremely low in carbs, taste greats and is satisfying.
For people counting total carbs, avocados aren’t quite so good. But, at 5.9 grams of carbs, half of an avocado could still be realistic. You could even go with a third of an avocado, which has less than 4 grams of total carbs.
The carb content of avocados is important. But, that’s just one factor. Avocados also contain a wide range of nutrients (2). Take a look!
Nutrition Facts: 1 Avocado (no skin or seed)
28.6 mcg (36% DV)
121 mcg (30% DV)
689 mg (20% DV)
0.4 mg (20% DV)
12.0 mg (20% DV)
As you can see, avocados are significant sources of fiber and offer some protein as well. They also contain a range of other important nutrients, including vitamin K, folate and potassium.
Avocados also contain various plant-based compounds not shown in the profile, including antioxidants and oleic acid.
Of course, the nutritional details will vary depending on the variety and size of the avocado. Still, the table above offers a good general guideline.
Types of Avocados
Like most fruit, there are dozens of individual varieties of avocado. For avocados, these fall into two categories, A-type and B-type, depending on the flowers that they are produced from.
The list below shows some key examples.
- Hass avocados. This is an A-type variety and the most common type of avocado. The skin is bumpy and thick, making the avocado easy to peel. Hass avocados are green when unripe and dark purple when ripe. Their flesh is light green and packed with flavor.
- Lula avocados. These avocados are also A-type. They tend to have large seeds, while the skin is smooth and dark.
- Pinkerton avocados. These A-type avocados have green skin and pale green flesh. The fruit is longer than Hass avocados and the seed is smaller. The flesh flavor is nutty.
- Bacon avocados. This variety is B-type and was named after a farmer. The avocados have bright yellow flesh, along with green freckled skin.
- Fuerte avocados. These avocados are mostly grown in Mexico. They’re a hybrid variety, a cross between Mexico and Guatemala avocados. The avocados are B-type, elongated and have green skin. The skin is easily removed and the flesh has a somewhat nutty flavor.
In most cases, you’ll be buying Hass avocados. But, the other varieties can be interesting too. The list above only covers a small selection of the types, there are many others available. The site Oola offers details about many of these, as does Fine Dining Lovers.
Why Eat Avocados?
There are plenty of great reasons to include avocados in your diet regularly.
Low in Carbs, High in Healthy Fats
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats, with a whole avocado containing around 21 grams of fat.
The fruit is high in monounsaturated fat. As Mercola explains, this can help decrease LDL cholesterol levels (the bad cholesterol) and increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).
Low in Sugar
A whole avocado just has 0.4 grams of sugar (3). This is ideal for anyone trying to decrease their sugar intake.
Perfect for Many Diets
The low carb nature of avocados means they work well for a low carb and keto diets. This includes approaches like Atkins too. In fact, avocados have a perfect macronutrient distribution for keto – one reason why they’re so popular on that diet.
Avocados are considered paleo as well. Many paleo sites even host collections of paleo avocado recipes. Paleohacks and PaleoGrubs are two examples of this pattern. The fruit is suitable for Whole30 too.
You’ll also find avocados on immune-focused diets, like AIP and GAPS. You can even enjoy avocados on a low-fat diet, as long as you watch your portion size.
In fact, very few eating approaches entirely exclude avocado.
Avocados offer a range of different nutrients, including fiber. This makes them a great way to promote health.
The individual nutrients also have their own advantages. For example, potassium helps promote heart health and can decrease blood pressure (4). You also get more potassium in an avocado than you do in a banana (5,6).
There are other powerful plant-based compounds too, including oleic acid and various antioxidants. Oleic acid is an omega-9 fatty acid. It has been linked to many health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and helping the immune system to function better (7).
They Promote Health Benefits
This is important for health and weight loss. A meal (or snack) like this can help decrease cravings for unhealthy foods or sweet treats.
Avocados are healthy, but they taste like they shouldn’t be. Instead, they feel like a treat. Finding healthy food that you love is always a good thing for weight loss and wellbeing.
Many recipes take advantage of the flavor and texture of avocados. You don’t need a recipe either. Avocados are simply great on their own and you can mix them into many different meals.
How to Use Avocados
There’s no question – avocados are best when they’re eaten raw. They have such an appealing combination of flavor and texture. No other ingredient comes close.
Avocados aren’t just used for guacamole. Instead, there are many different ways that you can take advantage of them.
- You can cut up avocado and toss it in salads. In fact, chopped avocado pairs well with other types of meal too, including casseroles and pasta dishes.
- Mashed avocado works well on toast (and many other things). Simply mash the avocado flesh with a little salt, pepper and lemon juice, then spread it on whatever you like.
- Avocados can be used as a bowl. Simply cut the avocado in half and remove the stone. You can hollow it out further if you want to. This technique is used in many recipes and is great for easy snacks.
Avocado roses are a cool trick that you can try. The video below shows how to make these. They can be used as a garnish or simply another component of your dish.
There are also plenty of fantastic avocado recipes, regardless of the diet that you happen to be on. They take advantage of the flavor and texture of avocado in unique ways.
There are far too many recipes to go into any detail. But, we’re going to list some of our favorites in a few different styles.
Low Carb Avocado Snacks
Creative Avocado Recipes
Can You Cook an Avocado?
Avocados can be cooked, but this takes a little precision. The fruit tends to get bitter when it’s heated too much. Still, cooked avocado is well-worth trying and can taste very good.
Many recipes take advantage of this practice. For example, the site Damn Delicious has a fantastic recipe for Baked Eggs in Avocados. This is a very simple recipe – and a powerful way to create a filling snack.
I’ve seen many variations on this idea too, such as Avocado Bacon and Eggs from Lil’ Luna, as well as the recipe in the video below.
How Do You Peel an Avocado?
The simplest way to peel an avocado is to cut it in half and then into segments. After you do this, you can just peel the skin off each segment manually. This is a great way to ensure you get as many nutrients as possible.
But, if you want to use avocado halves, you can follow the processes in the video below.
How Do You Know When an Avocado is Ripe?
Avocados can be a little frustrating. They’re expensive and get ripe quickly. It’s easy to wait too long and end up with a brown slimy mess. But, there are some key things you can look for.
- Skin color. On average, a darker avocado will be riper than one with lighter skin (this is variety specific).
- Firmness. A ripe avocado is slightly soft and will ‘give’ a little when you apply gentle pressure. Do this with the palm of your hand, not your fingertips, to prevent bruising.
- Texture. Avoid any avocados that have indentations, cracks or soft spots. These are all indications of bruising.
There is also a fast and easy way to tell. Simply pop the stem off. A green-yellow color underneath shows that the avocado should be ripe, perfect for eating.
But, this just applies to avocados you’ve purchased. When you’re shopping for the fruit, you’ll need to rely on skin color, texture and firmness.
Cool Avocado Facts
- Avocados are considered a fruit, one of the few fruits that is a decent source of fat.
- Botanically, an avocado is a large berry.
- Avocados grow on the tree Persea Americana.
- They’re thought to originally come from South Central Mexico.
- Cultivation of avocados may have begun around 5,000 BC.
- 95% of the avocados grown in the United States come from California.
- The fruit is also commonly grown in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil.
- Avocados are sometimes called alligator pears, due to their skin.
- Avocados can be grown from seed. It can often take four to six years before they bear fruit.
- Flowers on the avocado plant switch genders throughout the day, allowing for self-pollination (18).
Avocados have so many things going for them. They taste great, are satisfying, offer health benefits and can be included in almost any diet. What’s not to love?
Even the high fat nature isn’t a bad thing. Instead, avocados are a great source of healthy fats and can help decrease heart disease risk. Combine this with their low net carb content and you’ve got a winner.
So, go on, enjoy one today.
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