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Avocado Nutrition

By Libby Swope Wiersema

Avocados are a cool, creamy fruit grown in warm regions of the world. Nutrient dense, they can be a delicious part of a healthy diet as they are packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that energize and protect the body.

Nutrients

Avocados provide a combination of 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. These nutrients include the following recommended daily values for adults, based on a 2000 calorie per day diet: vitamin E, 4 percent; vitamin C, 4 percent; folate, 4 percent; fiber, 4 percent; iron, 2 percent; potassium, 4 percent; lutein, 81 micrograms; and beta-carotene, 19 micrograms.

Nutrient Boost

Avocados are sodium-free and cholesterol-free. They provide a nutrient boost when eaten with other foods by supporting the body's absorption of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein.

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Calories and Fat

One serving size of avocado, about one-fifth of the fruit, has approximately 50 calories and 3 1/2 grams of unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are crucial to brain and nervous system development, thereby making this an ideal fruit for babies. According to a report from The Franklin Institute, the brain's protective layer, or Myelin sheath, is 70 percent fat and contains oleic acid. The fat in avocados is a rich source of oleic acid.

Monounsaturated Fats

Unlike most fruit, avocados contain monounsaturated fat, which has been shown to increase desirable cholesterol (HDL) and reduce undesirable cholesterol (LDL).

Fat Substitute

Avocados have a mild, nutty taste and creamy texture. This makes them suitable as a substitute for unhealthy fats you might normally add to foods. For example, spreading a bagel with 1 ounce of mashed avocado rather than butter can save 18 grams of fat and nearly 150 calories.

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