Avocados are all the rage right now. They’re on every menu, in every city, in every state. Even in Europe and Asia, restaurants are picking up on the avocado toast craze! But are there downsides to this popular fruit? Let’s take a look at the good and the bad benefits of the avocado.
“One of the most nutrient-dense foods, avocados are high in fiber and, ounce for ounce, they top the charts among all fruits for folate, potassium, vitamin E and magnesium,” notes the SuperFoodsRX website. “No doubt, avocado nutrition makes it a powerful SuperFood.”
To break it down even more, avocados are loaded with potassium and healthy fats. This makes them an excellent post-workout snack. Eating monounsaturated fats, such as the kind found in avocados, can help lower LDL and increase HDL.
What does that mean? “The monounsaturated fat in avocados is oleic acid, which helps lower cholesterol,” SuperFoodsRx notes. “One study found that after seven days on a diet that included avocados, there were significant decreases in both total and LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol, as well as an 11 percent increase in the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.”
That means that eating avocado can lead to a healthier heart and even weight loss. This high-fat content also means that you’ll feel full after your meal, making it less likely that you’ll grab an unhealthy snack or eat an entire bag of potato chips.
The high potassium levels are great to replenish all the lost electrolytes. It’s easy to get sodium in your diet, simply add table salt to your meal. But potassium is harder to get. Some people prefer bananas, but if you’re looking for a savory snack instead, grab an avocado.
Nutritionists have said that the perfect amount to eat is between ½ to 1 avocado per day. Any more and you may risk consuming too much fat or too much potassium. Remember, other foods that you eat throughout the day also contain fat and potassium. And the golden rule in nutrition is, everything in moderation.
Too much of a good thing turns into a bad thing, and that’s true for avocados. This high-calorie, high-fat food can cause weight gain. For those who already suffer from cardiovascular disease, eating lots of avocados is not recommended. Despite the fact that it contains “healthy fats,” at the end of the day, fat is fat. If your health problems are caused by fat, then the solution is to limit or eliminate fat intake. Try to find another source of potassium and eat leafy greens to get antioxidants.
Some folks recommend avocado for everything — from helping with tooth issues to skin and hair care. According to WebMD, there is little research supporting these claims, so avoid using avocado in place of medicine unless it’s recommended by a doctor.
Another issue, Avocados have a moderate drug interaction with Warfarin, a blood thinner. If you’re on this medication for whatever reason, don’t eat avocados, as these fruits can decrease the efficacy of the drug. Doctors aren’t sure why avocados have that effect, but if you insist on having your guacamole, consult your healthcare professional first.
WebMD also warns that some people can have a stomach allergy to certain foods that causes vomiting and diarrhea. “Some infants and children have a stomach allergy to milk, oat, rice, and other foods. This allergy causes a lot of vomiting and diarrhea. Eating avocado may cause the same reaction in these infants and children.”
Finally, if you have latex allergies, it’s possible that you can develop allergies to avocados, along with other fruits. This is because the proteins in latex that cause the allergies are also in avocados. If your allergies are severe, it’s best to consult your immunologist before adding this fruit to your diet.
As with any nutritional fad, eating too many avocados is not healthy. Unfortunately, there is no magic food that you can eat that will fix all your health problems. A well-balanced diet and well-balanced life include eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Practice moderation and you’ll reap all the benefits of the avocado.