Avocados are one of the most famous fruits these days. Also called butter fruit or alligator pear, avocado is a delicious yet healthy snack. Avocado is green fruit with a leathery skin and a pit inside. When ripe/ready to eat, it yields to touch, and the outer skin turns dark purple or black.
Though avocado is one of the healthiest fruits, it’s high in calories. Thus, the recommended serving size in healthy adults is 1/3rd of a medium avocado. That is close to 50 grams or 1.7 ounces.
Composition of Avocados
Avocados are high in good fat (MUFA). It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. One recommended serving/50 grams of an avocado provides the following:
- 243 mg of potassium
- 40 mg of folate
- 5 mg of vitamin C
- 1 mg of vitamin E
- 0.1 mg of vitamin B6
Avocados are rich in other nutrients, such as folate, as well.
Are Avocados High in Oxalates?
Yes, avocados are very high in oxalates. This might be a concern for those who have kidney stones or have a tendency to develop kidney stones. Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds in plants. Oxalates enter human bodies via diet. Our bodies also produce oxalates as waste products.
Some healthy foods are high in oxalates. Oxalates in such foods might bind to calcium in the human body. It could result in kidney stones in some people based on their bodies. Thus, if your doctor has advised you to keep a check on a diet that has oxalates, you may need to avoid having oxalate-rich foods in excess.
Long-term (chronic) kidney disease could increase the incidence of kidney stone formation when you have an oxalate-rich diet. Peanuts, star fruit, rhubarb, spinach, and juiced vegetables are some of such foods.
To protect your health, your doctor might also advise you to limit the intake of foods such as potatoes, nuts, chocolate, and beets. You might also be advised to have 300mg to 400 mg of calcium with every meal. One avocado has about 19 mg of oxalates. So, half an avocado has 9.5 mg of oxalates, and up to 10 mg is the permissible level for oxalates usually.
There are other scientifically proven ways to prevent kidney stones too. Drinking enough water prevents kidney stones from forming by reducing the concentration of oxalates in urine/kidneys.
So, if you are advised to check oxalates in your diet, one-third of an avocado a day shouldn’t be a problem.
Health Benefits of Avocados
Avocados provide various health benefits owing to the varied vitamins and minerals present in them. Here are a few of them:
Reduces the risk of cancer
Folate present in avocado reduces the risk of cancers such as colon cancer and prostate cancer.
Improves heart health
The healthy fat present in avocado is oleic acid. It belongs to the category of MUFA (Monounsaturated Fatty Acids), and it lowers heart inflammation. Avocados also have a plant version of cholesterol called beta-sitosterol. It reduces your cholesterol levels, too, and improves heart health.
Folate present in avocado fights depression. Homocysteine is a substance that slows down the flow of nutrients to your brain and causes depression. Folate present in avocado prevents the accumulation of homocysteine in your blood.
Reduces the symptoms of joint pains (osteoarthritis)
Vitamin K present in avocado improves bone health and reduces the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Joint pain, difficulty moving, and swollen joints are some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Vitamin E present in avocado fights inflammation. Pain, difficulty moving, swelling, fever, and redness are the signs of inflammation in the body. Inflammation could be present inside the body, too, due to unhealthy lifestyles and habits. Long-standing (chronic) inflammation leads to many diseases, such as diabetes. Nutrients present in avocado, especially vitamin E, fight chronic inflammation.
Protects your eyes
Avocados protect your eyes, thanks to the presence of disease-fighting antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. They protect your eyes from UV rays and prevent damage. Lutein and zeaxanthin also protect against diseases such as white, cloudy eyes (cataracts) and aging diseases, such as macular degeneration.
Prevents difficulty passing stools (constipation)
The insoluble fiber present in avocado helps the contents move easily through the digestive tract and prevents constipation.
Provides nutrition in pregnancy
You need 400 micrograms of folate a day during pregnancy. Folate prevents complications in pregnancy. A serving size (one-third of a medium avocado) provides around 20% of your daily requirement of folate.
Is Avocado Safe?
Avocados are usually safe for everyone. However, if you have a latex allergy, talk to your doctor before adding avocado to your diet. Those who have a latex allergy might develop allergic symptoms to avocado as well.
Also, those who are suffering from chronic kidney diseases or have a tendency to develop kidney stones might need to use avocado with more caution.
Avocados are healthy superfoods worth a try if you haven’t tried them yet. They are rich sources of minerals and vitamins, such as potassium, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
They fight various conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis, to name a few. Avocados protect your overall health, including your eyes and bones. They are helpful in pregnancy, too, due to their rich folic acid content.
Avocados are high in oxalates. Thus, if you are suffering from chronic kidney diseases or have a higher tendency for kidney stones, your doctor might advise you to be on a diet low in oxalates. Keeping that fact in mind, a one-third serving of a medium avocado carries fewer oxalates than recommended. Thus, avocado is safer in moderate amounts. Speak to your doctor before including avocado in your diet if you have a latex allergy or any other health conditions.
Assimos, D. G. (2019). Re: Dietary oxalate and Kidney Stone Formation. Journal of Urology, 201(6), 1048–1048. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.ju.0000554649.16930.69
Booth, S. (n.d.). Everything you need to know about avocados. WebMD. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/all-about-avocados
Contributors, W. M. D. E. (n.d.). 8 foods high in oxalates and why you should avoid them. WebMD. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-oxalates#:~:text=Oxalates%20%E2%80%94%20also%20known%20as%20oxalic,like%20leafy%20greens%20and%20legumes.