What are the benefits of consuming avocados?


Audio 05:22

There are 3 main groups of avocado: the Mexican avocado, the Guatemalan avocado called Haas and the West Indian avocado.

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Text by: Caroline Paré Follow

11 min

Find the nutrition column of Stéphane Besançon, nutritionist and director of the NGO Santé Diabète in Bamako, Mali.

This week, he explains the benefits of avocado.


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Can you introduce the lawyer to us?

Avocado is the fruit of a tree called the avocado tree which can measure 10 to 20 meters and which is native to South America and mainly from two countries of the continent: Mexico and Guatemala.

This fruit has been used in human food for over 10,000 years because it was already consumed by the Aztecs and Mayans.

Today, in addition to its role in human nutrition, the pulp of the fruit is also used to prepare various cosmetic products. 

The avocado spread in Europe as early as the 16th century following Spanish expeditions.

It was also introduced to the West Indies and then gradually won tables on different continents.

For several centuries, it represented a luxury dish that was reserved for the tables of the bourgeoisie before being democratized thanks to the mass culture coming from the United States.

There are 3 main groups of avocado: the Mexican avocado, the Guatemalan avocado called Haas, and the West Indian avocado which is often referred to commercially as the Florida avocado.

These 3 groups are differentiated by the shape, size and properties of the fruit.

What are the nutritional characteristics of avocado?

Avocado is a fruit that contains few carbohydrates, that is to say sugars, little protein, even if these proteins are of good quality.

It contains a very interesting amount of fiber.

For a fruit, avocado contains a lot of lipids, that is to say fats.

It is this fat intake that gives it a significant caloric intake which is estimated at around 160 Kcal per 100g of avocado which represents a caloric intake greater than 100g of cooked rice for example.

It is however important to know that it mainly provides good quality fats with a large proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid and also an interesting proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids. 

Like all fruits, avocado is an interesting source of vitamins and minerals.

It is rich in vitamin B9, vitamin B2, B5, vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin E. Finally, it also provides potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese.

However, it is important to know that West Indian avocado can contain up to half the fat of Haas avocado or Guatemalan avocado.

What are the health benefits and risks of consuming avocado?

The nutritional composition of avocado gives it many interesting properties for our health.

First of all, the consumption of avocado will participate in the intake of various vitamins and minerals which are central in the functioning of our body.

For example, it provides vitamin E which has an antioxidant effect which will protect our cells against the effect of free radicals and thus prevent many diseases such as certain forms of cancer, cardiovascular disorders or even certain infections.

The large amount of fiber it provides will participate in the regulation of good intestinal transit.

Finally, its significant contribution in monounsaturated fats will participate in providing "good fats" for our cardiovascular health.

However, people who are on anticoagulant treatment must be vigilant about their consumption of avocado because it provides a large amount of vitamin K which plays a role in blood coagulation.

Based on all these characteristics, what are your recommendations?

First of all, it should be remembered that even if it contains good fats, avocado contains a significant amount of fat.

It is therefore necessary to pay attention to the quantities consumed.

Thus, I advise against consuming it as an aperitif or as a snack before a meal to avoid too much of the overall calorie intake of the meal.

Likewise, for snacks, I recommend consuming other fruits which will provide fiber, minerals and vitamins while providing fewer calories.

On the other hand, for meals, avocado is an excellent food that can be prepared in a salad or be incorporated into a large number of dishes.

As it is high in fat, it is generally recommended to consume a maximum of 2 per week.

Of course, you should avoid adding a large amount of oil or sauce if it is prepared in a salad.

Likewise, if you want to incorporate it into a dish, you should avoid incorporating it into a dish that is already high in fat or calories.

Finally, if the place where you buy your avocados offers different varieties of avocado then you should give preference to the West Indian avocado which contains much less fat.

This will allow you to enjoy the benefits and pleasures of avocado by reducing fat and calorie intake.

To continue discussions on this column, go to:     

Stéphane Besançon's Twitter account 

The Facebook page of the NGO Santé Diabète


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