Browsing Category: health/nutrition info

The TRUTH about avocados


“Avocados are good for you!” says one source.

“Watch out: they have too many calories!” says another.

Ugh — so much competing information out there about this popular fatty fruit! I decided to look at some reputable sources and compile all the facts I could find about avocados.




what's good about avocados - happy avocado face


Avocados contain 20 different vitamins and minerals. They’re low in sugar, and a good source of healthy fats and fiber.



Here are some of the most abundant vitamins in a 100-gram serving of avocado. (100 grams equals about 3/4 of a medium California or Hass avocado.) Numbers indicate percentage of the recommended daily amount:

  • Vitamin K*: 26%
  • Folate: 20%
  • Vitamin C: 17%
  • Vitamin B5: 14%
  • Vitamin B6: 13%
  • Vitamin E: 10%

*Vitamin K is often overshadowed by calcium when thinking of nutrients that help maintain healthy bones. However, calcium isn’t absorbed as well — no matter how much you eat– if your diet is short on vitamin K. There appears to be a correlation between low intake of vitamin K and osteoporosis.

Adequate intake of vitamin K has also been shown to lower the risk of stroke. There may also be links between Vitamin K and high blood pressure, as well as memory in older adults.



Potassium is an important mineral that most people don’t get enough of. Avocados are very high in potassium — higher than bananas!

Symptoms of low potassium include weakness and fatigue; muscle cramps and spasms; bloating and constipation; heart palpitations; and tingling and numbness in the hands, arms, legs, or feet.

A 100 gram serving of avocado has 14% of your daily potassium requirement. (A whole banana only has about 9%.)


avocado smash on burger


Healthy fats

Avocados and avocado oil are high in monounsaturated oleic acid, which has been associated with reduced inflammation and shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. It’s also a heart-healthy fatty acid.

Avocados are also very high in omega 3 fatty acids, the good kind of fat.

Also thanks to their healthy fats, avocados are known for supporting brain function and healthy memory.

Just be sure not to make it the only fat in your diet. You still need the complementary benefits from good-fat foods like olives, olive oil, clean animal fat, and nuts and seeds.



As you may know, fiber is important for helping you feel full between meals — helping you cut down on snacking — and for keeping your digestive tract moving.

It also aids in improving your cholesterol. Eight controlled studies in people have examined the effects of avocado, and revealed that eating avocados can:

  • Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%.
  • Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%.
  • Increase HDL (good) cholesterol by up to 11%.

A 100-gram serving of avocado delivers 7 grams of fiber: 27% of the recommended daily amount.


avocado on buffalo chicken quesadillas


Better nutrient absorption

Vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as some antioxidants need to be eaten with fat in order for your body to absorb and use them. One study showed that adding avocado or avocado oil to either salad or salsa can increase absorption of nutrients by 2.6 to 15 times the amount of those same vegetables being eaten alone.

Avocados also contain substances that have antimicrobial activity, particularly against E. coli, a leading cause of food poisoning.




avocado question mark



Some people may have an allergy or sensitivity to avocado. Especially good to know: People with a serious allergy to latex may also experience symptoms after eating avocado. (A number of studies have reported cross-reactivity between latex and other foods, including chestnut, buckwheat flour, fig, banana, passion fruit, celery, potato, tomato, kiwi, and peach.)


Pregnant or nursing?

During my research, I ran across some links that suggested avocados should be avoided during pregnancy or nursing. However, all the information I found was to the contrary. All of the above benefits apply to pregnant women and nursing moms, too.


Too much fat? Too many calories?

Avocados are high in calories, but it’s because of their high healthy fat content. Also, they’re low in carbs and high in fiber: all of which means that they aren’t the kind of fat that’s going to contribute to your being fat. The high fat and fiber content means they’re very satiating, so it’s hard to overdo them. (Just avoid eating them with processed carbs like chips: these can override your body’s “enough!” signal.)

And no: all calories are not alike. What food the calorie comes from changes how your body processes it. “Counting calories alone doesn’t work because ultimately it matters where those calories come from.” – Dr. Ludwig, Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. (Source)



Unless you’re allergic, enjoy that avocado as part of a well-rounded diet. It’s almost like a great big, green, creamy, delicious health pill!


BLT salad with avocado


BLT salad with avocado (shown above)

Very veggie tuna salad (most popular recipe!)

Easy, make-it-your-own fish taco bar

Quick, easy buffalo chicken quesadillas with avocado

Paleo? Try Buffalo chicken quesadillas (dairy & grain free)

Salmon with fresh tomato-avocado salsa

Ancho-crusted salmon with avocado crema

5-minute magic green sauce

Coconut shrimp on spinach mango salad

Citrus avocado salad with orange vinaigrette




Fatigue and insomnia: I’ve tried all the cures – here’s what works for me.

does tea help you sleep

I’ve struggled with insomnia my whole life, I think. The battles my parents went through to get me to sleep at night as a child were epic. (I know: I heard about it years later. My parents were still shaking their heads, years later.) When adolescence and its lovely hormonal cocktail hit, things ramped up some; then motherhood was a whooooole new level!

I’ve tried medications and alternatives. Here are all the things I know to try. At the end, I’ll list what has and hasn’t worked for me.

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Why the food-health connection is so personal for me

my family - why food + health is personal to me

The connection between real food and health is a very personal topic for me.

It began when I was 15, sitting in a pastor’s office with my parents. (I was about that age in the photo above. I’m on the left.) My poor mom and dad were at their wits’ end: they couldn’t figure out why their daughter had turned into Dr. Jekyll and Miss Hyde. I was prone to such angry, violent outbursts that I sometimes frightened my own mom and dad. I could see it in their eyes.

After listening to our story for a bit, the pastor asked my parents a surprising, pivotal question: “Have you had her tested for hypoglycemia?” (low blood sugar).

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2 things you gotta change for permanent weight loss

2 things you gotta change for permanent weight loss

For years, I had only temporary success at weight loss. I’d exercise for a while, lose some fat, then stop exercising and gain it back. Or I’d cut out some foods, lose a few pounds, then gain them back. Usually the cycle ran less than a year.

I’m not alone. Nearly 65 percent of dieters return to their pre-dieting weight within three years, according to Gary Foster, Ph.D., clinical director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania. (source)

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Whole30 vs. Partial Whole30

To Whole30 or not

Yes, I know that “partial Whole30” is an oxymoron.

(For those unfamiliar with Whole30, it’s committing to 30 days of strict adherance to a Paleo diet. If you’re not sure what that is, see What’s the Paleo diet?)

But while I think there’s a lot of good to be earned from doing a Whole30, it just isn’t right for everyone, all the time. If you’re trying to sort out which is right for you right now, here are some things to consider.

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Success story: Annie sought relief from chronic pain, and changed her life

success story; Paleo Annie, before and after

Today, I’m sharing a success story that touches on a topic near to my heart: lupus. My dad suffered from lupus for a little more than three decades before he went home to Jesus in 2010. Before he was actually diagnosed, he was bedridden and in severe pain for weeks at a time, for more than a year. After diagnosis, he was on heavy-duty meds that kept the pain and inflammation under control for many years, enabling him to live a more-or-less normal life. Once a week, he went in for his methotrexate shot, and I think he took other medications as well. In the end, lupus + the meds + the stress of caring for my mom as she declined in Alzheimer’s did him in. If only we’d known then how much of a role food can play in lupus and other autoimmune diseases, he may have been able to take less medicine, and been with us longer.

But now, many lupus sufferers are discovering that the Paleo diet or some variation of it helps reduce their symptoms. On Instagram, I met Annie through the #paleo hashtag, and I was intrigued when she mentioned that she has lupus. She recently shared the before and after pics you see above, and I asked if I could share her story here. (You can find her on Instagram as @wholepaleoannie.)

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7 questions to define the perfect eating plan for you now


“The second day of a diet is always easier than the first.

By the second day you’re off it.”

— Jackie Gleason


So, are you thinking about starting a new eating plan? Whole30, Paleo, 21-Day Sugar Detox, Mediterranean, or ketogenic? Good for you! But maybe you’re a little worried because of past experiences you’ve had starting — and stopping — a new diet.

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