Avocados: under the superfood microscope

Avocado fans don’t generally like to question the ‘superfood’ label – if you’ve got a good excuse to eat something as delicious as an avocado, why rock the boat? If you’re not quite on board yet though, the superfood label may feel more like over-hype than a reason to go full steam ahead into an avocado-filled future.

So do avocados live up to their reputations? Or are the fans of buttery, pale-green fruit doomed to be disappointed?

Nutrition facts

Avocados are particularly well-suited to a pregnancy diet, since they’re packed with more folate than any other fruit – 30% of your daily value in just one cup. They also have more potassium, ounce for ounce, than bananas, which are known for their potassium content, and they’re also packed with fiber and Vitamins C, B6, and K.

Folate, of course, helps to prevent birth defects, and plays an important part in brain and cell development. Vitamin K is needed for blood clotting, so it’s a good idea to be sure you’re getting enough of it before labor and birth, but vitamin K supplements are not generally recommended during pregnancy, so it’s best to get your vitamin K through your diet. Vitamin C will help keep your immune system robust, and some research suggests that B6 can help relieve nausea during pregnancy.

On the other hand, though a big part of the marketing behind avocados talks about their high omega-3 content, they actually have a higher concentration of omega-6 fatty acids, which the American diet tends to already contain more of, and which should be balanced with omega-3s for ideal health benefits. Omega-3 content is fairly low, though. Additionally, avocados are high in fat, some of which is saturated, though the largest percentage of fat in avocados comes from healthy, monounsaturated fat. Saturated fats should be limited during pregnancy when possible.


Even with the less-than-ideal revelations about fats, avocados are probably still pretty super, as foods go. It pays to keep an eye on your fat intake of all kinds during pregnancy, but healthy fats play an important role in keeping both your and your baby’s brains healthy, and the other nutrients packed under those pebbled, dark green avocado skins are well worth the effort as well.

  • “Ch. 17: Nutrition During Pregnancy.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Apr 2015. Web.
  • “Guideline: Food Safety for Pregnant Women.” FDA. USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service, HHS, Food and Drug Administration, Jan 18 2017. Web. 
  • Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN. “Top Tips for Eating Right During Pregnancy.” EatRight. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2017. Web.
  • Mark L Dreher and Adrienne J Davenport. “Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects.” Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 53(7):738-750. Web. May 2-13.
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