The Many Things Avocados Do For You (Plus a Recipe!)

avocados
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If you have had a chance to check out the new Bulletproof® Diet Infographic on the page for the new book announcement, you’ve noticed that I recommend avocados as a source of fat. It turns out there are other reasons besides fat for why you should double down on the guacamole.

In this post, you will learn about some new research about what avocados can do for you. Also, I’ll introduce a guacamole recipe trick that you’ve never heard of, which will take your guacamole to a whole new level.

An industry trade group imaginatively called the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is doing some clinical research to see what avocados do for cardiovascular disease, maintaining healthy weight, controlling blood sugar, and upgrading your absorption of nutrients. The studies are promising and believable, even though they are funded by people who really want us to eat more avocados.

About a year ago, a UCLA study1 showed that eating half a medium Hass avocado with a hamburger made of 90% lean industrial grade CAFO beef (bleah) inhibited creation of the  inflammatory compound Interleukin-6 (IL-6). Sadly, the researchers did not disclose what the animals were fed before they were turned into hamburger. In any case, even toxic meat from chemically treated sick animals is less inflammatory when you eat it with avocado. I’ll take my guac on top of an Alderspring extra-fat burger!

A summary of the study by Medical News Today2 reported that plain burgers caused a 70% increase in IL-6 four hours after a meal, but only a 40% increase when avocado was included. Interestingly, avocado did not cause an increase in triglyceride levels even though it’s made of mostly fat. (Longtime readers will know that triglycerides are caused by fructose digestion more so than by eating healthy fat.) Another finding was a 27% reduction in peripheral blood flow after the meal with no avocado, but only a 4% drop when there was avocado.

Avocados totally rock

Avocados are full of monounsaturated fat (about 2/3 of the fat is monounsaturated) and nutrients, especially potassium, B vitamins, 11 different carotenoids, and vitamin E. When you are sticking to the Bulletproof Diet, your goal is to eat 50 to 70% of your calories coming from healthy fats. Since avocados have a good amount of fiber, almost no sugar (1g per 150g of avocado), and almost no protein (about 3g per 150g of avocado), you can eat tons of them instead of eating carbs or excessive protein. One of the biggest mistakes people make on the Bulletproof Diet is not eating enough fat because they are eating too much protein. Avocados can make that problem a thing of the past.

Another reason I like avocados is that they have a very thick peel. As I wrote in The Better Baby Book, the peel helps to block pesticides from entering the fruit. That means it’s mostly safe to eat non-organic avocados, opening a whole realm of possibilities at restaurants. Have you ever tried ordering a whole avocado on top of your chicken salad, then asked the restaurant to hold the chicken? That’s what I do, and you are better off to make that choice at most restaurants. I still prefer organic avocados when I can purchase them because I value the soil integrity of our planet. But a biohacker’s gotta eat on the road…

Read the rest of this post to learn the way I eat most of my avocados. It’s worth it!

Other Reasons Avocados Rock

Oral cancer

Avocados have certain compounds in them that inhibit or kill oral cancer cells.3, 4

Liver health

A Japanese study5 found laboratory rats, when fed a liver toxin that interferes with cell synthesis and kills cells, suffered the least amount of liver damage when they were fed avocados compared to 21 other fruits. The chemical toxin mimics viral hepatitis damage, so the researchers believe avocado might be a good idea in cases of viral hepatitis.

Cholesterol

Honestly, the hysteria over non-oxidized cholesterol is not a reason to eat avocados, but avocados do help with suboptimal HDL/total cholesterol levels, which do matter (You want high HDL!). In once case6, test subjects’ total cholesterol fell by 16 percent after a one-week high avocado diet. If the subjects had elevated cholesterol, the high avocado diet caused a 17 percent decrease in total cholesterol, an 11% increase in HDL, and a more significant 22% decrease of LDL and triglycerides.

Three things to know when peeling your avocado

Never, ever eat the black or discolored parts. Those contain mold toxins and histamine that will lower your brain function if not make you sick outright. Avocados are one of the few fruits where it is safe to cut out the discolored parts. (Most fruit is entirely contaminated when some of it is spoiled.)

The dark green part of the avocado closest to the skin has the most carotenoids, phytonutrients that play a role in preventing macular degeneration. So scrape the inside of the peel with a spoon, or halve the avocado and get your fingers dirty and peel the skin like a banana.

It is easiest to remove the seed by cutting the avocado in half, then embedding the blade of a sharp knife into the seed, then twisting the knife and pull the seed out, still stuck to the knife blade.

The most amazing way to eat avocados

I am a guacamole snob. I’ve made at least a thousand batches of it and tested lots of kitchen variables. Here are the basics:

  • Buy Haas avocados. There are other varieties of avocado usually found in the tropics, Hawaii, and Florida, but those varieties are gigantic, watery, and do not contain nearly as much healthy fat. Plus they make awful guacamole.
  • There are two guacamole philosophies. The New Mexico tradition where I grew up calls for a very creamy guacamole. The California or Mexico tradition prefers a chunky form. You can adapt this recipe to make the chunky version, but you owe it to yourself to try to creamy version at least once. In either case, avocado by itself in guacamole does not have an adequate mouth feel to fully satisfy compared to this recipe!

Check out this kitchen hack to add more of the right kinds of fat to your guacamole and make it taste amazing.

Bulletproof® Guacamole recipe:

  • Four large ripe Haas avocados, peeled
  • 2-4 T Brain Octane or Upgraded XCT Oil (it will taste horrible if you use coconut oil, and these oils are 18 times or 6 times more concentrated than coconut oil, with no flavor so the natural avocado flavor explodes)
  • 2 teaspoons or more of Himalayan salt (to taste)
  • 1 T dried organic oregano
  • 1-3 tsp of apple cider vinegar (to taste)

Blend everything with a hand blender until it is very creamy. Stir in chopped cilantro and jalapenos (if you tolerate nightshades) or other herbs of your choice.

The end result is like guacamole on steroids. The flavor is much more intense because of the effect of the esters from the Brain Octane on your taste buds. You won’t miss the onions and garlic common in most recipes. (These medical herbs taste good but have negative effects on your performance, unless you’re sick.)

Guacamole made this way keeps you full for longer and is amazing on top of grass fed meat, sushi, or salads. I have been known to eat a bowl of it by itself for lunch.

Enjoy!

  1. Food and Function November, 2012
  2. Medical News Today December 26, 2012
  3. Nutrition and Cancer 2009: 61(3); 348-356
  4. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications June 10, 2011: 409(3); 465-469
  5. Science Daily December 20, 2000
  6. Arch. med. Res. 1996:27(4);519-523
  7. Journal of Nutrition March 1, 2005: 135(3); 431-436 
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By Dave Asprey

  • Andrew

    What about the high amount of Omega 6’s in Avocados? Shouldn’t that be a concern.

    • mike

      As long as you call it “Bulletproof” it’s fine. So sick of this guy selling everything. Hey, it’s Bulletproof dirt, $6.00 an ounce.

      • Regina Peterson

        What exactly is being sold here? Healthy avocados? Or do you resent his recipe contains MCT upgraded? Bitter much?

      • Ryan

        Then why the hell are you on his website / following him on Facebook / etc.?

        • Michael Padula

          hater stalker?

        • g33kch1ck

          I came here for the avocado science. Agreed about the selling stuff, though. I have made guac from non-Haas avocados, and it was delicious, but their commercial board probably doesn’t compensate as well.

      • Allen

        Time for you to move on. What a time waster.

      • Andrew

        Yeah Man he is not selling anything here so I don’t know why the hostility. Please take your angst elsewhere!

      • Alexander

        Do you own any apple products? Hey, it’s an apple logo on a brick, $50.00 a brick. Move along.

      • John Smith

        I agree about the selling stuff part too. But if you follow Dave you have to be used to that by now. Ignore every name brand product he promotes and take the science with a grain of salt because you know he has a motive. Other than that he is a useful tool to spark ideas.

        Looks like you had good flame bait though. The sheep took it hook line and sinker. Trolls and the flaming sheep that attack them are good for a laugh.

    • Hutch

      I believe that the problem isn’t with the Omega 6 fatty acids themselves, rather than what your body converts it to. Omega 6 from avaocados is in the form of Linolenic-acid. This is converted to Gamma-linolenic-acid (GLA) and then it can either be converted to Arachidonic-acid (AA) or dihomogamma-linolenic-acid (DGLA). In short, LA and AA or bad as they can cause inflammation, GLA and DGLA are good as they can reduce inflammation.
      Now the conversion of GLA to DGLA rather than AA is promoted by having the right nutrients available, such as Vitamin B3, B6, C, zinc and magnesium. So if you are truly ‘Bulletproof’, you should have a micro-nutrient profile that would convert these omega 6’s in a good way.

      I also think there is something to do with the source of the Omega 6’s in terms of fat type that effects the uptake of the Omega 6’s, and therefore the amount that will actually be converted to anything.

      This is a good highlight of why a simple measure like your omega 3:6 ratio isn’t always beneficial.

      I’m sure Dave has a better answer than me though, I’m not 100% on all this stuff.

      Hope this has been some help!

      • Andrew

        Absolutely a GREAT response. The science is wonderful. Thank you so much Hutch!

    • Hasan

      Id love dave to answer this.

      • ???ds? ???p

        It’s mostly monounsaturated, but the O6 in them is unheated and not nearly as inflammatory as the extracted, heated O6. The studies are clear on the benefits of avocados…and I don’t get omega 6 inflammation from them either.

        • Tim Dietz

          Dave, I am following the Bulletproof Lifestyle, mostly to reduce circulatory inflammation, due to high Lp-LpA2. You mention not getting inflammation from avocados. I’m wondering, how do you notice that and is it similar to noticing cardio-vascular inflammation, as I haven’t yet found a way to measure that, other than blood tests.

          Thanks.

  • Jon Estrada Sr.

    Growing up Filipino, avocado, milk, and sugar was a staple in my household. Last week I added an avocado into the bulletproof ice cream recipe and it was delicious. Don’t quote me on that though! I might just culturally be accustomed to the taste as a desert.

    • Kevin

      Avocado milkshake is amazing

  • Wolfmo

    Lately I’ve heard a lot about the benefits of eating locally sourced foods (better nutrient retention when it doesn’t have to travel so far to get to your plate, amongst other things), so at the Co-op yesterday, I opted for the organic FL avocados instead of the organic Haas grown in Mexico. I prefer the taste of Haas, so if nutrient quality in something that has traveled all the way from MX is not a concern, I’ll buy those instead. Thoughts?

    • ???ds? ???p

      lol I don’t know what’s more optimal here. Avocados don’t lose vitamins as fast as some foods from what I know, but fresh foods are better…except when they don’t have the same fat in them. I’d eat both, but the Haas are better tasting.

      • Kresh

        Just made a bowl, omg it’s so tasty!!!!!! Just rang my wife to buy more avocados.

  • Howard Lee Harkness

    Avocados are definitely one of my favorite fruits, but it gets really difficult to find good ones during some times of the year.

  • Chris Vin

    wow this really is good. the Apple cider vinegar is a really good call! I used almost 4 teaspoons

  • I feel like I always miss the sweet spot of avocado ripeness, either too early or too late. With Dave’s comment on the ‘black or discolored parts’, does anyone else feel this way?

    • ???ds? ???p

      Buy them unripe; they ripen well on the counter, so you can wait for the perfect day. I buy in bulk less ripe, wait 3 days, and then they’re perfect.

      • BlueDawg

        At the store, pull the little stem out. If it is a nice, bright avocado green underneath, buy it. If it is dark and ugly looking underneath, don’t buy it. This works for me everytime.

  • Loving avocado in EVERYTHING. <3

  • howl

    love avocados. All my coworkers look at me weird when all I eat for lunch is a big cup of guac with nothing else. Can’t wait to make the recipe!

  • emil

    An Avocado A Day Beats An Apple Any-day, AAABDAAA.

  • ACH85

    “Blend with a hand blender” – Is this just for texture, or would a Blendtec be less optimal nutritionally? I know blending protein a lot breaks it down, does blending also break down the fiber in avocados? I’ve been adding avocados to my green smoothies and love the creaminess it produces.

  • Kristen Makuch Helmstetter

    OMFG I am all over this recipe.

  • Netwreck

    I am BP for 3 months and I used to eat one whole avocado per day and I
    was having issues with the lymph nodes in my neck and would become
    swollen. I am pretty picky about them being perfectly green and rarely
    do I have to cut the black part out.

    Finally after
    much trial and error I determined it was the avocados causing this
    issue… I also notice my mouth is slightly itchy after eating even a
    half, but minimizes the effects.

    I am not sure if I should stop eating altogether, cut down or of there is some other issue going on. I love them…

    • hec v

      my son has an avocado allergy, it affect his latex gloves, does anyone have a fix,,he is an rn, he misses avocados,,he also gets itchy.

    • DJ

      My husband has that reaction (itchy mouth), after eating avocados. I don’t think there’s anything you can do about this, seems to be an allergic reaction, although I’m not sure so would like to hear others thoughts.

  • AndyTAY

    I would totally trade up and instead of using jalepenos, i would use cayenne pepper, the benefits would be better served i think.

  • Joe

    Wow, just made this. So good. Very very creamy. Very very delicious. Had trouble not just eating this instead of the other parts of my dinner.

    Used a hand blender and it blended right up. I added some hot green chili for some spice (seemed necessary since I live in New Mexico).

  • Mattias

    This seems like the place to ask a question I’ve been thinking of for a long time. When I peel an avocado (the get your hands dirty-way as described above) I often notice that there is a brownish discoloring on the outside of the flesh, i.e. the surface that was in contact with the skin. Does anyone know if this is just a discoloring of the otherwise green flesh from the brown skin or if it can be mold? It is very common so I would tend to think it is natural but then again the avocados I get here in northern Europe are anything but locally sourced…

  • Peg Demott

    BEST SALAD DRESSING EVER!
    Yes, I shouted that. I subbed fresh lemon juice for vinegar because well we are talking avocado here. I’m especially pumped after listening to Dr. Kruse

  • ok heh

    I already enjoy the hell out of cados, but they never keep for more than a day o two. Rather than go to the store daily to get a fresh one, anyone have any tricks for keeping them longer?

    • sup

      Once almost at desired ripeness put them in the refrigerator. Skin will darken but otherwise they’re fine for a few days and doesn’t impact the inside of the avo.

    • OnTheBayou

      Unopened, not much you can do.

      If opened, put in a Zip-lock, add a few TBL’s of cheap lemon juice, splash around. It will prevent the surface from browning.

    • Jonathan Adamo

      A trick I learned working at a restaurant: If you plan on just using half an avocado, use the half without the pit and keep the pit inside the other half that you plan on eating another day. I can also confirm that lemon juice as well as salt helps to prevent it from going brown – but definitely keep the pit.

  • Susi

    I make a mean mayo with avocado oil….

    1 pastured egg yolk
    1-2 tsp lemon juice
    1 tsp warm water
    1 tsp organic dijon mustard
    1/4 tsp grey salt
    3/4 cup avocado oil

    Blend first 5 ingredients in a “baby” Cuisinart. Then slowly add the oil through the top (one side only). Enjoy!

    • Frederik Emil Hanfgarn

      Thank you ma’am!

      • Susi

        🙂 Let me know how you like it!

  • I finally tested out the onion/garlic claim and I can confirm they have had a negative effect on me.

    • kjartan

      in what way?

      • They make me angry, which is what Dave claims. He notes that they affect your alpha brain waves. It was enough of a difference that I don’t want to reintroduce them to test.

        • Xin

          Really useful.

          Can you link to where Dave expounds on oniongarlic and alpha brain waves or other negative effects?

          That’s fascinating research.

          I can’t have oniongarlic due to thiols and current state of heavy metal poisoning (thiols in foods act like weak chelators and can loosely ‘drag’ and ‘drop’ metals around, effectively kicking up circulation of them, and potentially redistributing them to more vulnerable parts of the body)… but I’m interested for future reference, and for my not-poisoned partner — I had intended to possibly go back to eating both when my chelation is finished, since they’re tasty.

        • They just make me burp most the time. In other words, they give me indigestion. That’s good enough science for me.

  • Justin Yadgaroff

    Justin Yadgaroff
    Avocado + Soft boiled egg + bed of steamed kale/spinach + lemon/apple cider vinegar/olive oil/mct oil vinegrette = amazing breakfast/lunch/dinner

  • Jakob

    Awesome post Dave, will try that recipe tonight. Any advice on a Bulletproof nachos substitute for dipping?

  • Payton Abby

    This post inspired me to eat some avocados, but I was in the mood for something sweet rather than savory. This chocolate pudding was delicious, and oddly tasted like dark chocolate-banana despite the lack of fructose lurking within. I’m betting Dave would approve.

    Bulletproof Chocolate Pudding (two servings):
    2 ripe Avocados
    1 t brewed Upgraded coffee
    2 t Upgraded brain octane
    2 t Upgraded MCT oil
    2 T xylitol (american birch derived)
    4 T Upgraded cocoa powder
    1/4 t Upgraded vanilla powder
    1 dash cinnamon (non-irridated ceylon is best)

    Blend in food processor until smooth. Best if chilled for a few minutes prior
    to digging in…

    -Payton

  • Tamsyn

    Love it! I drink an Avo smoothie for breakfast every morning with grass fed gelatin, almond extract, stevia, unsweetened almond milk, and ice. Strongly considering adding some MCT to it after reading this… Thanks for the info 🙂

  • Kyle Fountain

    My question is how to get the guac. from bowl to mouth without corn or flour tortillas? Healthy suggestions would be much appreciated.

    • Sylvia

      Celery!

  • C

    How many avocados should one eat a day?

  • OnTheBayou

    Now, now, now. There are avocados and there are avocados. I’m no expert, but it’s my understanding that the much beloved Haas all had their origins in the Caribbean and nearby tropical and subtropical areas. The native avocados were stringy and not a treat at all. So, a Mr. Haas found a weird branch on one of his avocado trees in California – again, I do not claim accuracy, just what I’ve read – with weird lumpy little ‘cados. But – whoa! – they produced all year instead of just in the fall.

    The old Florida “Alligator Pear” has come a long way from those stringy days by selective breeding. The fruit are large, creamy, and without fiber. Heck, just check out my neighbor’s fruit that I steal here in Sarasota, Florida! As good as you can hope for.

    I’d much rather pay $1.50-$2.50 for a pound of great eating than almost the same prices for some anemic wart ridden accidental GMO food.

    My favorite way of eating is cut in half, remove the seed, pour in a substantial amount of Key Lime juice. Sprinkle sweetener on top if you wish, real or artificial, or Stevia. Your choice of poison.

    No ‘effing guac neede.

    Trust me, if you find alligator pears at a good price and just about soft, buy ’em!

  • love avos – always have – don’t peel just cut in half, slice the flesh while still in the skin the way you want it to come out – slices or chunks and scoop out with soup spoon – no gooey hands. Wack a knife across the seed that is still in after you separate the halves, twist and pull out. I store cut avo in air tight glass jar – seems to keep longer that any other way.

    One yummy way to eat avos:
    shred zucchinni with julienne peeler ( can use spiraliser if you have one) steam saute shredded zuccs in 1/2″ water till limp, drain – throw in 1/2 tbsp GF butter, stir through, place in bowl.
    Mash up avo with dash of apple cider vinegar and MTC – pour over ‘zuccpasta’. I just use fork – do not use blender ( too much washing up!) Yum to add few chunks of cooked salmon left overs from night before or some smoked salmon – this is YUM and really simple. Add pink salt to taste.
    To do it in one bowl: mash up avo, ACV, MCT in bottom of bowl and put zuccpasta on top – stir through with salmon.

  • Chevonne Chadwick

    Love love love avacados. They are my icecream! My favorite is my own fruit salad
    1 cut avacado
    1 cut tomato
    Half lime squeezed.

    It’s delicious and filling
    and I also add a bunch of Capsicum and a tiny bit of sea salt from natures sunshine. But I put Capsicum on everything I eat!