Is Avocado Bad for Your Health?
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Is avocado bad for you? That's a question we don't hear very often since the avocado is renowned for its abundant health benefits. The correct answer is "No, it's normally not bad for your health, but in some cases, it could be." Here are some scenarios when avocado consumption may contribute to health risks.
Avocado and Latex Allergy
"How are the two even related?" you may ask. The answer lies in the enzymes called "chitinases," found in some fruits, legumes and vegetables, such as avocados, bananas, chestnuts, figs and tomatoes. Many latex-allergic individuals tend to also have allergic reactions to chitinases, which is known as "latex-fruit syndrome." The typical symptoms include stomachache, nausea, headache and rashes. If you have latex allergy, it might be wise to avoid avocados and other foods that contain chitinases, or get properly tested for latex-fruit syndrome. If your love for avocados is much greater than your fear of allergic reactions, however, at least try to buy ones that were organically grown. Organic avocados are not ripened with ethylene gas, a compound that increases the amount of chitinases, so they contain a lot less allergy-causing enzymes.
Too Much Avocado?
You may have heard a lot about the health benefits of avocados. For example, they can promote heart health, improve blood sugar regulation and reduce cancer risks. Some even say that eating avocados can aid in weight loss. The truth is avocados, although packed with important nutrients, are also high in fat and calories, so there's no way you can eat a truckload of them without suffering any consequences. While eating a proper amount of avocado can help lower cholesterol and possibly facilitate weight loss, over-consumption of it may actually lead to weight gain. To better understand this, let's take a look at some nutrition facts.
Nutrients and Calories in 1 Large Avocado
Avocado Fat Content
Types of Fat
As you can see, a large avocado contains 22 grams of fat and a whopping 230 calories, which are relatively high compared to most vegetables and fruits. One large tomato, for instance, contains only about 35 calories. So if you put an avocado in your salad instead of a tomato, you are consuming approximately 200 more calories! As for the fat content, the amount of healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) significantly exceeds the amount of bad fat (saturated fat). Nonetheless, fat is still fat, and needs to be consumed in moderation.
Don't allow these numbers to scare you from eating avocados, though. If you don't overeat them, avocados can be very beneficial for your health. Plus, there are many other factors that play crucial roles in weight management, such as your overall diet plan, eating habits and level of physical activity. For example, if your salad consists of grilled chicken breast and low-calorie vegetables, adding some avocado to it probably won't be a problem. However, if it's a steak salad crowned with scrumptious blue cheese and bacon bits, you might not want another 230 calories on top of that. Also, if you live a pretty active lifestyle and exercise regularly, those few grams of fat from avocados are nothing to fuss about!
How Much Avocado is Too Much?
There is no general guideline for this. One easy way to determine how much avocado is too much for you is to calculate your ideal calorie and fat intake per day. Many fitness sites and smartphone apps offer calorie calculators, which determine your proper calorie and nutrient intake, based on your height, age, sex and level of physical activity. For example, my ideal calorie intake is 1500, and the maximum amount of fat I should eat per day is 45 grams. So one avocado a day sounds about right for my personal diet plan; two might still be okay if I don't eat an excessive amount of other fatty foods on the same day, but three are way too much.