Avocado is one of those foods often deemed a "superfood". Among the well-known benefits of avocado to give it such a title is that it is a concentrated source of monounsaturated good fats, making it a healthy addition to many dietary regimes.
They are in fact the fattiest natural food growing on planet Earth. This is a major feature that makes them one of the #1 foods to eat on a high-fat keto diet.
Here are four other top reasons to consume avocados when "keto".
1) Best Carbohydrate to Fiber Ratio
2) High in Oleic Acid and OEA
3) Benefits of Avocado, Weight Loss Potentials
4) High in Potassium and Antioxidants
While avocados are considered fruits which are a food group typically avoided on ketogenic protocols, they are an exception to this rule. That's because they contain next to no sugar compared to other fruit varieties.
Since most keto diets are largely based on limiting carbohydrate intake to between 20-50 grams a day, avocado is the perfect keto-friendly food option. This is because it has an ideal CARB-to-FIBER Ratio.
For example, one raw avocado according to nutrition data can range between 12 to 17 grams of TOTAL CARBS and 9 to 14 grams of DIETARY FIBER. When you do the math, this would give you a "net carb" amount of 3 grams of TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES, which is technically the true value when trying to achieve nutritional ketosis.
Again, the main fat in avocado comes from monounsaturated fatty acids which are shown in research to make up about 71% of total fat when an avocado is fully ripe. This is followed by 13% polyunsaturated fat and 16% saturated fat.
The monounsaturated fat and oil content is mostly composed of the fatty acid known as OLEIC ACID, also the primary compound found in olive oil.
Avocados are therefore considered a heart healthy Mediterranean staple and often an integral addition to plant based vegetarian and vegan menus. Likewise, the oleic acid in the avocado can be especially nutritious for keto regimens. Why is this?
Well, one of the main reasons is that oleic acid produces a unique compound called oleoylethanolamide or OEA, which is scientifically shown to support the body's fat-burning processes. Since the ketogenic or "keto" diet is based on burning fat for energy instead of sugar (glucose) this makes it particularly suitable.
Specifically OEA, in regard to metabolism, is reported to activate PPAR-alpha. This is a compound necessary for ketogenesis (*) or the body's use of ketones to provide energy. (*)
Many keto kitchens likewise include avocado oil, along with other MCT favorites like coconut oil, for culinary or cooking purposes.
Ripe avocados are very high in calories with 77% coming from its fat content. These features may at first seem counterintuitive to those looking to reduce body weight.
But while the long-term popularity of low-calorie low-fat dietary protocols may have some people avoiding foods like the avocado, in ketogenic meal plans they are an ideal food source.
Typically, the keto diet includes eating 75% of calories from fat, 20% of calories from protein, and 5% of calories from carbohydrates. This not only cuts out common weight-gaining foods like bread, potatoes and grains, but also encourages ketosis in which weight loss via fat-burning can begin to occur.
When just starting a ketogenic diet, eating avocados can be a good way to satisfy the appetite and keep sugar cravings under control. In some research on overweight adults, the fat-fiber combination in avocado was found to benefit satiety when used to replace carbohydrates in a breakfast meal.
Other science also indicates that oleic acid-derived oleoylethanolamide can have promising implications for weight management, obesity and reducing inflamed conditions. (Source)
It is still better to eat avocados in moderation as part of a complete daily keto meal plan or healthy balanced diet. Usually not more than one avocado a day is recommended.
Another one of the benefits of avocados is that they are very high in POTASSIUM, even more than bananas. One raw ripe avocado (minus skin and seed) can contain an average of 700-975 milligrams or 20-28% of the Daily Value for potassium, based on a 2,000 calorie adult diet.
Potassium is a mineral that comes in handy during the initial phases of keto because it helps your body maintain a good balance of electrolytes as it adjusts to burning fat (ketone bodies) instead of carbs (glucose).
Avocados are sources of antioxidants like the carotenoids LUTEIN and ZEAXANTHIN. These are components found in the macula of the eye and are believed to support healthy vision when consumed in the diet.
Eating fat-rich avocados has a well-known reputation for being a nourishing food for the skin and hair. They are good sources of vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and pantothenic acid.
Avocados can cause allergic reactions in some people. Consult your nutritionist or healthcare provider before adding the benefits of avocado to the diet if you are pregnant, nursing, have a serious health condition or are taking any prescribed medications.