Everything you need to know about avocados

Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Author Martin Cheifetz

Avocados: Are they a fruit or a vegetable?

Avocados remind me of sporting razzle-dazzle. In sports showmanship, timing is everything and a split-second can make all the difference for success in an alley-oop slam dunk in basketball, a bicycle kick in soccer, or a reverse-flea-flicker in American football. Execute those plays well and you’re the idol of millions; and you’ll enjoy watching your spectacular skill on ESPN Sports Center’s “Play of the Day”. However, if you screw up the trick, the opposite phenomenon occurs and you’re an internet sensation for Epic Sporting Fails on Youtube, with millions of views for all the wrong reasons.

With avocados, the “sports trick of the fruit world”, timing is also critical. Try eating an avocado before it’s ripe, and it’s hard, flavorless, and horrible. Try eating one that’s overripe, and it’s brown, fibrous, bitter, and gross. However, if you get the timing just right, they’re absolutely fabulous on all counts: perfectly creamy consistency; rich, satisfying flavor; and from a nutritional perspective, they are one of the best foods you can eat for whole body health. 

The good news is, you have more than a millisecond to get your avocado timing right. You have a couple of days of perfect ripeness to enjoy your avocado, and if you can’t use the whole fruit in one meal, you can preserve the remainder for another day by squeezing some lemon juice on the exposed surface, wrapping it up, and putting it in the fridge. Below, we’ll give you seven reasons why you’ll want to eat more avocados and seven excellent recipes to use them while they’re perfectly ripe.


Nutritional profile

A standardized 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving of avocado has 160 calories, 2g of protein, 9g of carbs (7 of which are fiber) and 15g of healthy fats (12g unsaturated + 3g saturated). Despite its high fat content, avocados contain zero cholesterol and are also sodium free. That same 100g serving of delicious avocado also contains:

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the DV
  • Folate: 20% of the DV.
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the DV.
  • Potassium: 14% of the DV.
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 14% of the DV.
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV.
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the DV.

Avocados are also a source of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, Vitamins A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin) as well as numerous other phytonutrients like carotenoids.


7 reasons to eat them

1. They're good for your heart

Avocados are 77% fat, 67% of which is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fat that gives olive oil such a heart-healthy reputation. Consumption of monounsaturated fat through Mediterranean-type diets is linked with improved blood lipid profiles, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, lower BMI, and overall better health.

2. They're good for your eyes

Like eggs, avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals highly concentrated in ocular tissue, and vital for providing antioxidant protection and minimizing UV damage from the sun, as well as helping to avoid cataracts and macular degeneration.

3. They're good for your bones

Like cauliflower and spinach, avocados are a rich source of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is responsible for keeping the skeletal structure healthy and helps maintain calcium levels and bone mineral density, helping you to avoid deeply unpleasant conditions like osteoporosis, stress fractures, and even tooth problems. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it needs a source of fat to be absorbed in the intestines and utilized in your body. Therefore, avocados’ high fat content enables maximum nutrient uptake and nutritional benefit from vitamin K and other fat-soluble nutrients in your meal.

4. Increased satiety from high fat and high fibre content

This combination increases satiety and generally causes people to eat less. When people say they don’t find salads filling, they probably aren’t eating the right balance of protein, carbs, and fats in their salads. By adding ingredients like avocados, hazelnuts, borlotti beans, or eggs to your salad, you’ll not only make them more tasty and nutritious, you’ll also make them far more satisfying, and will therefore be more inclined to eat more of them, creating a virtuous dietary circle.

5. Good sports food 

A 100g serving of avocado has more potassium (14%DV) than a banana (10% DV). Potassium is vital for muscle function, cramp prevention, recovery from exercise and normal blood pressure levels. Maybe that’s why one of our FitnessGenes customers who’s an Olympic rower eats so many avocados?

6. Good for your skin

The high fat content is great for younger looking skin, both when eating the avocado or using it topically on your face. So if you can’t finish eating your avocado and don’t want to risk it turning brown, smush it up and spread it on your face as a moisturizing masque (Just don’t fall asleep on the sofa as that avocado masque will create a big mess on the fabric).

7. Good for your brain

Similar to tree nuts, the combination of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals is excellent brain food, both from the cognitive and hormonal perspectives. Be smart, happy, balanced, and healthy…..eat avocados and nuts.


7 ways to enjoy them (actually 10!)

1. Use them in a cold salad like our Mediterranean Chopped Salad or our Healthy Budda Bowl.

2. Use them in a warm salad like our Winter Sprout and Pistachio Salad.

3. Use them as a beautifully presented side-dish like our Avocado and Tomato Courgetti.

4. Use them as a topping or a garnish to add color, flavor and texture to a delicious dinner like our Borlotti Bean and Chili Tacos or our Healthy Nachos

5. Have some for breakfast or a snack, spread on top of a delicious homemade bread like our Teff and Pecan Loaf.

6. Use them in a sandwich like our Spicy Sweet Potato Burgers or our Black Bean Quesadillas

7. Use them as a topping, like for our Pasta and Tofu Vegetable Stew.


Avocados and your genes

If you enjoyed this article, please check out my other FitnessGenes food blogs:

How do you choose your foods?

Which yogurt is right for you?

Avoid dietary failures with technology and personalization,

Hazelnuts, Spinach, Cauliflower, Potatoes, Cashews, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Eggs, Quinoa, Borlotti Beans, Almonds, Teff, Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas.

Out of the kitchen, I also cover the following topics for FitnessGenes:

Savings, Longevity, and the Year in Fitness

3 Pro-basketball players in the same family?

Jamaican sprinting/African distance running dominance

A genetic overview of an Olympic rower

5 things I learned from my DNA test

If you have any questions, please contact me via email at martin.cheifetz@fitnessgenes.com or tweet me at https://twitter.com/martincheifetz

References and for further reading:






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