Whereas avocados used to only grace our tables in the form of guacamole, now this delectable fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit) is seen in a variety of dishes, from salads to smoothies to sauces, and even sweets. Its unique flavor and creamy texture make avocados a welcome addition to dishes that may otherwise be just ordinary. And, lucky for us, avocados are packed with nutrition. But sometimes there is too much of a good thing, so knowing what one serving of avocado is will help you feel good about enjoying this pear-shaped, green-colored, smooth-textured fruit.
One Serving of Avocado
The nutritional information provided for avocados is often for one medium-sized avocado, about the size of your fist or a little larger. However, avocados can vary greatly in their size, especially depending on what type of avocado it is, so bear in mind that a smaller avocado will have slightly less fat and calories, and a larger avocado may have more. Also consider that the size of the avocado pit may vary, leaving more or less actual avocado flesh inside.
Once you have evaluated all of these factors, though, you may still be left with some questions—particularly if you don't plan on eating the entire avocado, which many of us would find too filling and a bit overwhelming. Some brands of avocado list the serving size as 1/3 of an avocado, which may be more helpful. But when you are using the avocado as a spread on toast, wouldn't a tablespoon measurement be ideal? Knowing alternative serving sizes will make it simple when determining the nutritional content of what you are eating.
Avocados are a Super Food
If looking at just the number of calories in an avocado, you may wonder why this fruit is touted as super-healthy—the numbers appear to be quite high! But when a food is packed with nutrients and health benefits giving you a very high ratio of nutrients to calories (which is called "nutrient dense"), and the fat is unsaturated, it is considered a healthy choice. Avocados are labeled as a "super food" because of their dozen or so proven health benefits, from contributing to heart health, to lowering blood pressure, to digestive health, to lowering cholesterol levels, to the fact that eating avocados with other foods assists in your nutrient intake.
Calories and Fat in One Avocado
Since we don't eat the pit or skin, the serving size of one medium avocado is measured when the fruit is cubed or diced; according to the USDA, this is about 150 grams (or 1/3 pound and about 5 1/4 ounces). It is important to keep in mind that the calorie and fat figures are for a particular weight, so the amount in your avocado will vary if it is larger or smaller than 150 grams.
The cubed flesh of one medium avocado has a total of 240 calories and 22 grams of fat. That's about 34 percent of the recommended allowance, based on an average 2000 calorie diet. (Your own nutritional needs will, of course, vary, depending on your age, weight, and activity level.) The good news is that avocados provide very little saturated fat, at just about 3 grams—which is just 16 percent of the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat—and, in fact, is made up of the healthiest type of fat called monounsaturated oleic fatty acids.
Avocado's Other Nutrients
One medium avocado not only provides a whole lot of nutrients but is also low in the bad stuff. One medium avocado has 0 mg cholesterol, 11 mg of sodium, and 13 grams total carbohydrates. It comes in at 3 grams protein and 10 grams dietary fiber. When it comes to vitamins and minerals, an avocado is nearly off the charts. It is very high in potassium—supplying more than a banana!—and has a significant amount of vitamins C (healthy immune system) and K (bone health), as well as folate (cell function). Avocados also contain lutein and zeaxanthin which improve eye health and have a lot of fiber, which we know assists in digestion, metabolism, and weight loss.
Adding Avocado to Your Diet
There are plenty of people in this world who absolutely love avocados! If you're one of them, you probably already know that there are many ways you can use avocados, from a simple toast topper to a smoothie boost to a filling salad addition or even as a filler for vegetarian sushi. Of course, were are all familiar with the recipe they are famous for—guacamole—but did you know there are several ways to make it?
Avocado is a delicious addition to a mozzarella insalata caprese, complementing the cheese and tomatoes perfectly, and it fits in naturally with a black bean and corn salad. But don't discount using avocados in desserts and sweet drinks; the fruit's creaminess and subtle flavor, as well as healthy fats, make it an ideal ingredient for vegan avocado fudge, avocado lime ice cream, and an avocado mango smoothie.