Avocados are a nutrient dense food that can be identified by their rough deep green to bright green outer skin and pale yellow interior with one large seed in the middle.
The taste of an avocado is often described as having a rich, almost buttery, flavor that pairs well with the creamy texture of the fruit. Yes, you read that right: an avocado is actually a fruit and not a vegetable despite it being featured often in savoury dishes.
The avocado grows on a tree known as the Persea Americana or more commonly referred to as the avocado tree. Want to impress your friends with a random fact? Botanically, the avocado is actually considered a berry with one large seed.
Ok these are all interesting facts but you want to know how many carbs in avocado, right? the simple answer is 3 grams of net carbs. Read on for a full nutritional breakdown of this superfood.
Why Is Avocado A Superfood?
Avocados truly are a "superfood". A "superfood" is defined by Oxford as " a nutrient rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well being."
As far as health benefits, one medium avocado features 12 percent of your recommended daily Vitamin C, 18 percent of your recommended daily Vitamin E, 30 percent of your recommended daily Vitamin K, and 18 percent of your recommended daily Vitamin B6.
An avocado also is rich in nutrients and antioxidants including folic acid, Omega 3, magnesium, potassium, lutein, and fiber. Omega 3 acids can help in lowering blood pressure, while lutein has been shown to help with eye health.
In addition to those better known vitamins, one medium avocado also provides a whopping 45 percent of your recommended daily Pantothenic acid which is a B vitamin that helps the body convert food to energy.
A Full Breakdown Of An Avocado
For those curious, this section will look at a complete breakdown of all the nutritional aspects of one avocado.
1 Medium Avocado (150 grams) contains:
Vitamins and minerals contained in 1 Avocado:
Vitamin K 11mg
Vitamin B6 0.3mg
Folate (Folic Acid)
Vitamin C 12mg
Pantothenic Acid 2.1mg
Vitamin E 12mg
It's All About The Net Carbs In Avocado
While avocados are high in fat at 30 percent of your recommended daily value (24 grams in one medium avocado), they contain just 3 percent of your recommended daily value of carbohydrates (12 grams in one medium avocado).
However, with the most diets, you also want to be concerned with net carbohydrates. Net carbohydrates are calculated by taking the total carbohydrates and subtracting the fiber contained in the food in question.
One medium avocado also contains 9 grams of fiber, so you subtract those 9 grams of fiber from the 12 grams of total carbohydrates to get a total of just 3 net carbs in avocado. If you want to take that further, the serving size of an avocado is considered to be one third of a medium avocado meaning that a serving of avocado has just one net carbohydrate.
Furthermore, by weight, avocados average about 30% easily digestible oily fatty acids and approximately 70% water. That 70 percent water content is similar to the water content in Bananas.
This makes an avocado the perfect high fat, nutrient rich, low carbohydrate food for the most low-carb diets like Keto.
The Many Health Benefits Of Avocados
The health benefits of avocado are almost too numerous to list as it truly earns the title of a "super food". Avocados are good for kids because they contain folic acid which helps with bone and muscle growth. That same folic acid is considered a positive for pregnant women as well.
Avocados are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
The presence of Vitamin E helps reduce inflammation and encourage healthy skin and hair and the Vitamin C helps promote a healthy immune system which can prevent illness or shorten its duration.
In addition to being low carbohydrate and high fat, the fact that avocados are rich in high quality calories is great for energy which makes working out both easier and more effective.
As with any diet, you want to increase your activity level and not just change your eating habits. Avocados help give you the energy you need to get the most out of your workouts.
What To Look Out For In Avocados
While avocados are a "super food" and are nutritious, no food is perfect. When eating avocados you have to remember that they contain a lot of calories.
One medium avocado contains 240 calories. In comparison, one medium donut with chocolate frosting contains about 195 calories. That donut will not provide you with any of the benefits that the avocado will, but at the end of the day we still need to be mindful of the amount of calories we take in on a daily basis.
If you are looking to lose weight, you need to burn more calories on a daily basis than you take in. For a man you are usually looking to take in between 2000 and 2500 calories per day and for a woman that number is between 1500 and 2000 calories per day. Those numbers will vary based on your size, fitness goals, and activity level, but are a good general guideline to start from.
As you can see, one avocado takes up more than 10% of most men's daily recommended calories and more than 15% of many women's daily recommended calories.
This is not to say that you should avoid avocados in your diet, quite the opposite as they provide plenty of nutritional benefits, but it is to say that you should be mindful of the quantity of avocado you include in your diet.
What Is The Keto Diet?
Ok so to talk about the link between Keto diet and avocados, firstly let me give a brief overview of the Keto diet. This diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate meal plan designed to get your body in to a state of ketosis. When the body is in ketosis, it burns stored fat for energy as opposed to glucose.
Many people who stick with the Keto diet find that their energy levels are higher on their new diet plan than they were previously.
A keto diet promotes low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and high fat food choices.
In addition to keeping carbohydrates low, the keto diet also calls for limiting overly processed foods as well as foods high in sugar. Not coincidentally, these foods also tend to be high in carbohydrates in addition to their negative nutritional value.
Keto Diet & Avocado - Why These Two Go Hand in Hand
Avocados are ideal for the Keto diet in many different ways. First, they mimic the core tenant of Keto in that they are high in fat, contain moderate protein, and contain very few carbohydrates.
The fiber contained in the avocado will help with digestion of the protein you consume on the diet and the caloric density of the fruit will help provide the energy that your body was used to receiving from carbohydrates in the past.
The presence of the Omega 3 acid prevents high cholesterol which is something to monitor on the Keto diet especially if bacon and eggs becomes your standard breakfast of choice. Because avocados are really in low in carbohydrates, full of nutrients, and high in healthy fats they are truly a "super food" for the keto diet.
How To Choose The Correct Avocado
Now that you are (hopefully) sold on avocados as a fruit to include in your diet, let's discuss choosing the right avocado.
Avocados are typically are dark brown almost black shade with hints of green when they are ripe. That shade is typically what you will look for if you are planning to eat the avocado you are purchasing in the next day.
Planning to have your avocado later in the week? Choose an avocado that is greener in color. When looking at the skin, make sure to avoid avocados with any visible cracks, holes or sports. Color is not the only way to determine an avocados ripeness.
You will also want to squeeze the avocados. The avocados that are ready to eat will yield to pressure, but not feel overly soft or mushy. If an avocado feels soft or mushy, it is overripe and you should not buy it. If an avocado is hard and doesn't yield to your squeeze, it won't be ready to eat quite yet. In general, the harder an avocado feels, the further away it is from being ripe.
The best course of action if buying multiple avocados is to buy them at different stages in their development. For example, buy one dark one that gives to pressure for today or tomorrow and then a greener one that is very firm for later in the week.
How To Cook The Avocado Perfectly Everytime
Now that you've purchased your avocados, you can choose to eat them raw or use them to make guacamole or avocado toast.
If you choose to cook your avocado, you can do that by cutting the fruit in half, removing the seeds and drizzling the inside with lemon juice and olive oil.
Place the fruit sliced side down on your grill for 2-3 minutes and remove. Now you can season your avocado with whatever you desire (try cayenne pepper for a little kick) and enjoy.
Not interested in grilling? Repeat the same process of cutting the avocado in half and adding some olive oil to the inside. Place the avocados on a cooking try skin side down and bake a 425 for 10 minutes or until your desired tenderness is achieved.
Keto Friendly Avocado Recipes Anyone Can Try
There are many delicious avocado recipes I've created and are simple to make, even for a cook of limited abilities like myself! Here are a couple of great recipes you can try for yourself.
1 raw jalapeno diced
2 large avocados diced
1/2 Lime squeezed
2 tbs jalapeno juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 tbs onion diced
2 tbs cilantro chopped
3 tbs tomato diced
Crush jalapeno and avocado until they are soft (use a molcajete if you have one). Squeeze the lime juice over the jalapeno and avocado mixture Pour the jalapeno juice over the top of the mixture Sprinkle the garlic powder and salt over the top of the mixture Add the onion, cilantro and tomato to the mixture and mix all ingredients thoroughly Serve Immediately
Avocado toast has become a popular dish in the last year or two, but toast normally isn't Keto friendly. Here is an alternative avocado toast for Keto dieters:
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 large egg
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Avocado Toast -
Olive Oil Spray
2 large eggs
1/2 cup mashed avocado with a dash of salt and pepper
Make the bread: melt a tablespoon of butter in a bowl in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds. Allow to slightly cool, and then mix in the egg, coconut flour, and baking powder. Microwave on high for 90 seconds, allow to slightly cool, and then carefully cut in to two slices.
Cook the eggs and toast the bread: Heat large skillet over medium heat. Spray with olive oil spray. Break the eggs over the skillet and cook until done to your liking. Toast the bread.
Assemble the Avocado Toast: Place the two slices of bread on a plate. Top each slice with a 1/4 cup of mashed avocado and a fried egg. Serve immediately
Many people are familiar with avocados due to their use in guacamole, but few realize just how nutritious and versatile the avocado truly is.
The avocado is packed full of vitamins and minerals and is a food that can help anyone maintain a healthy lifestyle. The avocado is also extremely low in carbohydrates which is a rarity among fruit. With just 12 grams of total carbohydrates in one medium avocado, the avocado qualifies as low carbohydrate food.
Avocados get even better for low carbohydrate lovers and Keto followers because they are also high in fiber. With 9 grams of fiber in one medium avocado, that takes the net carbs in avocado in one medium sized piece all the way down to 3.
As a high fat, low carbohydrate, nutrient dense fruit, the avocado is truly a "super food" especially for those following a keto diet. There are many way to enjoy avocado with little to no prep time, so pick some up the next time you are shopping and make them a regular part of your diet.