Avocado Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

avocado nutrition facts and health benefits
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Some nutrition experts call the avocado a superfood. This flavorful fruit provides health benefits when you add it to your favorite dishes. But when you look at avocado nutrition, you might be surprised.

Not only are avocado calories high, but most of the calories come from fat. So should you include this fruit in a healthy, balanced diet? Many people do, but if you're watching your calorie and fat intake, it's best to consume avocados in moderation.

Avocado Nutrition Facts

One-half of an avocado (100g) provides 160 calories, 2g of protein, 8.5g of carbohydrates, and 14.7g of fat. Avocados are an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. The following nutrition information is for half of an avocado and is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 14.7g
  • Sodium: 7mg
  • Carbohydrates: 8.5g
  • Fiber: 6.7g
  • Sugars: 0.7g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Magnesium: 29mg
  • Potassium: 485mg
  • Vitamin C: 10mg
  • Vitamin E: 2.1mg
  • Vitamin K: 21µg

Carbs

Most of the carbohydrates in an avocado come from fiber. A whole avocado provides about 17 grams of carbohydrate and 13.4 grams of fiber. There is very little sugar in an avocado (less than one gram) and the rest of the carbohydrate in the fruit comes from starch.

The glycemic index for avocado is estimated to be around zero, making it a low-glycemic food.

Fats

A whole avocado provides roughly 30 grams of fat, 4.2 grams of saturated fat, almost 20 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 3.6 grams of polyunsaturated fat. So, while most of the calories in an avocado come from fat, they are mostly in the form of healthier monounsaturated fat.

Monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs come from plant sources and may be helpful in lowering your LDL or "bad" cholesterol. For this reason, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that you choose foods with monounsaturated fats instead of saturated fat.

Protein

Half an avocado provides about 2 grams of protein. While it's not a high-protein food, it can still help you meet your desired protein intake.

Vitamins and Minerals

If you consume a few slices of avocado, it won't provide substantial vitamins or minerals because the amount eaten is so small. But a whole avocado is a good source of vitamins K, E, and C. 

Avocado also contains folate, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Minerals in avocado include magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and magnesium. 

Calories

The number of calories in avocado will depend on its size. The avocado nutrition facts shown are for half of a medium-sized avocado, but many avocados are smaller and some can be much larger (up to 300 grams or more). 

According to the USDA Nutrient Database, there are 322 calories in a larger (200 gram) avocado. In general, an average avocado ranges from 200 to 300 calories according to the Cleveland Clinic.

If you spread a thin layer of avocado on your sandwich or add a small amount to your healthy taco, you are probably consuming roughly 30 grams or about two tablespoons of fruit. 

Summary

Avocados are high in fat, but it's the healthier monounsaturated fat. They also provide a variety of vitamins and minerals without being high in sugar.

Health Benefits

Avocados have been studied extensively, in part, because the Hass Avocado Board funds much of the research. For this reason, it can be tricky to discern whether it is avocados specifically that provide the benefit that is studied. That said, here are a few studies and what they've found.

Improves Diabetes Management

Avocados may provide benefits for people with diabetes. Although they have carbohydrates, their low glycemic index rating of almost zero means that they have little effect on blood sugar. The glycemic index is a scale from 1 to 100, with high numbers indicating foods that raise your blood sugar faster.

Rich in monounsaturated fats, avocados are a healthy choice for those with diabetes, especially when they replace higher-glycemic foods. Some studies have shown that avocado consumption improved glycemic control in subjects with type 2 diabetes. In addition, there is considerable evidence to suggest that high-MUFA diets can also improve metabolic health among individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Reduces Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Several studies have shown that avocado consumption may improve cholesterol levels in some people. Specifically, research has suggested that those who eat avocados have higher levels of HDL cholesterol. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Prevents Cancer

A 2019 review notes that the avocado seed appears to help protect against cancer thanks to being richer in sterol compounds than the rest of the fruit. However, it is unclear whether it is safe to eat the seed. So, even avocado growers don't recommend it.

Lowers Metabolic Syndrome Risk

After looking at the results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers concluded that avocado consumption was associated with lower metabolic syndrome risk. They also noted a connection between eating avocados and better overall diet quality.

Promotes Weight Loss

Though avocados are high in calories, they still may provide benefits if you are trying to lose weight. The creamy texture and savory taste that comes from (healthy) fat can help you to feel full and satisfied at mealtime. Avocados also provide fiber. Eating foods with fiber can promote satiety.

Studies have shown an association between avocado consumption and lower body weight, lower body mass index (BMI), and decreased waist circumference. A few limited studies have also found that regular consumption of avocados may be able to reduce your risk of becoming overweight.

Allergies

While avocado allergy is rare, research indicates that there may be increasing cases of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES)—a non-IgE mediated allergy that impacts the gastrointestinal tract—with avocado being one potential trigger.

People with oral allergy syndrome may also experience an allergic reaction when eating an avocado, also called pollen-food sensitivity syndrome. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, oral allergy syndrome is rarely associated with symptoms beyond the oral cavity, such as hives, breathing difficulty, or anaphylaxis.

Adverse Effects

Avocados may decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). If you are taking the medication, check with your healthcare provider for a personalized recommendation.

Varieties

Many people are familiar with Hass avocados, commonly found at the grocery store. Hass avocados make up 95% of all the avocados eaten in the USA. This variety has skin with a dark, pebbly texture. But there are other varieties as well.

Other varieties include Pinkerton, Reed, Zutano, Bacon, Fuerte, and Gwen. Some of these are larger than the Hass and may have thinner brighter skin. There are 56 types of avocado that come from Florida alone.

When It’s Best

The avocado tree has a long harvest season that sometimes overlaps from one year to the next, so the fruit can be found in most grocery stores year-round. Avocado doesn't begin to ripen until it is picked from the tree.

Storage and Food Safety

When choosing an avocado, use both color and feel to find the best fruit. First, select an avocado with a dark but consistent color. Take it in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze it. If it yields slightly, it is ripe and ready to use.

In general, you can store ripe, uncut avocados in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. If you eat your avocado just a tablespoon at a time, use smart storage tips to keep it fresh. Many cooks add lime or lemon juice to the fruit so that they can eat just a small amount and save the rest for later.

To ripen an unripe avocado quickly, place it in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana for 2 to 3 days. You can also freeze an avocado, but it may change the texture of the fruit.

How to Prepare

The hardest part of cooking with avocado can be removing the skin. Use these tips to peel your fruit.

  • Start at the top of the avocado and slice it lengthwise from the top to the bottom, then twist it to pull the two halves apart.
  • To remove the pit, stick the knife into it and twist it out, then discard it. This should result in two halves with the meat of the avocado unmangled.
  • Score the avocado in rows, up and down, and then side to side to make a grid. Now you can scoop out these cubes with a spoon and discard the peel.
  • Your avocado cubes are now ready to use.

Sliced avocado is a great addition to a healthy sandwich or wrap. It provides a creamy texture and allows you to eliminate the butter or mayo. Many people also add avocado to an omelet or on the side of scrambled eggs.

Recipes

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bhuyan DJ, Alsherbiny MA, Perera S, et al. The odyssey of bioactive compounds in avocado (Persea americana) and their health benefitsAntioxidants (Basel). 2019;8(10). doi:10.3390/antiox8100426

  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties. Published April 1, 2019.

  3. Dreher ML, Davenport AJ. Hass avocado composition and potential health effectsCrit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):738-750. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.556759

  4. Gordon B. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Choose Healthy Fats. August 6, 2019.

  5. Cleveland Clinic. Can You Eat Too Much Avocado?. August 7, 2018.

  6. Ma M, Saitone TL, Sexton RJ. The Hass Avocado Board’s Program to Fund Research into

    the Health and Nutrition Benefits of Consuming Avocados. 2019.

  7. American Diabetes Association. Glycemic Index and Diabetes.

  8. Park E, Edirisinghe I, Burton-Freeman B. Avocado fruit on postprandial markers of cardio-metabolic risk: A randomized controlled dose response trial in overweight and obese men and womenNutrients. 2018;10(9):1287. doi:10.3390/nu10091287

  9. Qian F, Korat AA, Malik V, Hu FB. Metabolic effects of monounsaturated fatty acid-enriched diets compared with carbohydrate or polyunsaturated fatty acid-enriched diets in patients with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trialsDiabetes Care. 2016;39(8):1448-1457. doi:10.2337/dc16-0513

  10. Fulgoni VL 3rd, Dreher M, Davenport AJ. Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008Nutr J. 2013;12:1. 2013 Jan 2. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-1

  11. Mahdy Ali K, Wonnerth A, Huber K, Wojta J. Cardiovascular disease risk reduction by raising HDL cholesterol--current therapies and future opportunitiesBr J Pharmacol. 2012;167(6):1177–1194. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.02081.x

  12. Alkhalaf M, Alansari W, Ibrahim E, ELhalwagy M. Anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities of avocado (Persea americana) fruit and seed extract. J King Saud Univers Sci. 2019;31(4):1358-62. doi:10.1016/j.jksus.2018.10.010

  13. California Avocado Commission. Is it safe to eat the avocado seed? Published Mar 30, 2016.

  14. Zhu L, Huang Y, Edirisinghe I, Park E, Burton-Freeman B. Using the avocado to test the satiety effects of a fat-fiber combination in place of carbohydrate energy in a breakfast meal in overweight and obese men and women: a randomized clinical trialNutrients. 2019;11(5). doi:10.3390/nu11050952

  15. Heskey C, Oda K, Sabaté J. Avocado intake, and longitudinal weight and body mass index changes in an adult cohort. Nutrients. 2019;11(3):691. doi:10.3390/nu11030691

  16. Khalsa K, Rosloff D, Sundquist B, Jarvinen-Seppo K, Pasha M. Increase in FPIES cases seen in an upstate New York University-based allergy practice. J Allergy Clin Immunology. 2017;139(2):Supp AB54. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2016.12.127

  17. American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Why does fruit make my throat swell and itch?.

  18. Norwood D, Parke C, Rappa L. A comprehensive review of potential warfarin-fruit interactions. J Pharm Practice. 2014;28(6):561-71. doi:10.1177/0897190014544823

  19. Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence. Avocados.

Additional Reading