The avocado is a much maligned fruit, at least when it comes to diets. Avocados are tasty and they can be healthy in many ways, but they contain a lot of fat and are calorie-dense, so many dieters dismiss them as being fattening.
It’s important to remember that the Paleo diet is not a traditional diet. Paleo diet followers don’t count calories or avoid foods just because they contain fat. The Paleo diet is simply concerned with the quality of the food that you eat. Processed foods, grains and foods that the human body is not really designed to eat (such as dairy products) are avoided. Avocados, in moderation, are a perfectly acceptable part of the Paleo diet.
Avocados are high in fat and therefore calorie-dense. One cup of avocado contains 234 calories and 21 grams of fat (of which 14 grams are monounsaturated, 2.7 grams are polyunsaturated and the remainder saturated). Most of the fats in avocado are classed as healthy fats, so there is no need to demonise avocados purely because of their fat content, unless of course you’re trying to lose weight and want to avoid all calorie-dense foods because it is easier to adhere to your diet if you fill up on high-fibre, low-calorie foods instead.
Avocados are a good source of potassium and dietary fibre (10g per serving), as well as vitamins A, C and B6. They also contain a small amount of calcium and iron. Some researchers believe that the fats in avocados can be dangerous because of the way they break down in the body. However, more recent research indicates that there’s nothing to worry about with avocados because they are naturally high in antioxidants, which prevent the fats from releasing harmful chemicals when they are oxidised. In addition, the antioxidants can prevent aging and boost your immune system.
Including Avocados in Your Diet
Eating fresh avocado as a treat on the Paleo diet is a good idea. A cooked avocado is a great breakfast snack that gives you a decent dose of fibre and some healthy fats. Remember that your body needs fat for cellular repair and to make certain hormones. Fats are not the enemy, as long as they’re eaten in moderation.
If, for any reason, you struggle to eat whole avocados, why not try avocado oil? It offers many of the same benefits (although without the fibre) and can be drizzled on almost any food to make it taste that little bit more luxurious.
Avocados are a key ingredient of guacamole just blend some with lemon juice and some chopped tomato and then serve on the side along with your favourite chicken dish or salad for a tasty dip.
Getting enough healthy fats can be difficult if you’re new to the Paleo diet, especially if you have to overcome decades of being told that all fats are bad. Once you get used to eating a little of what you fancy, you will find that it really can be good for you.