Are Avocados Good for Your IBS?

Whole and cut avocado
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It took me a long time to get on the avocado bandwagon. But the more I read about the health benefits, I knew that I had to give them a serious try. To get acquainted, I started adding them to my smoothies. Within a few days I was so hooked, that I found myself craving them!

However, IBS can make a person understandably wary of any new food, particularly unfamiliar fruits or vegetables. Since the health benefits of avocados are so impressive, I invite you to think about adding them to your diet on a regular basis.

Let's take a look at how to do this with IBS.

Health Benefits of Avocados

Avocados are a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium, and an amazing source of Vitamin C, meeting 25% of your recommended daily needs. Avocado also shines when it comes to dietary fiber - with a whopping 10 grams, it meets 40% of your recommended daily requirement. Avocados also are a nice source of plant-based protein.

Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats (one of the good ones!) Monounsaturated fats are thought to reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides.

One interesting study found that adding avocados to salads and salsa increased the amounts of carotenoids that were absorbed from the vegetables contained within the meal.

Will Avocados Help or Hurt Your IBS?

The answer is that it depends.

The only research on avocados for IBS has to do with the FODMAP content of the fruit. FODMAP-wise, avocado oil is fine (oils contain no FODMAPs).

A serving of 1/8 of a whole avocado is considered to be low-FODMAP. A serving size higher than that contains higher amounts of sorbitol, which might contribute to symptoms if you have difficulty tolerating this FODMAP type.

If you can tolerate avocados, I would encourage you to do so, at whatever level you can eat them without aggravating your symptoms.

The high fiber content of avocados will certainly be welcomed by your digestive tract. In addition, healthy sources of dietary fat may be good for the health of your gut flora.

How to Enjoy Avocados

There are ways to incorporate avocados into your diet even at the smaller portion size required to keep FODMAP levels low:

  • Add them to green smoothies.
  • Add them to salads - they can make a simple vinaigrette creamy and delicious!
  • Use them as a sandwich spread.

Avocados do bruise easily. I have found that the best way to ensure healthy fruit is to buy the avocados when they are green and then leave them in a bowl on the counter to ripen. Once they turn black and slightly soft to the touch, I put them in the refrigerator until I am ready to use them. 

Since you may not be eating the whole fruit at one sitting due to concerns about FODMAPs, you might find it helpful to freeze the ripened avocado, divided into plastic bags each containing the desired portion size. 

Sources:

"Avocados, Raw, All Commercial Varieties" SelfNutritionData Website Accessed March 14, 2015.

Monash University Low FODMAP Diet App Accessed Feb. 16, 2015.

Unlu, N., et.al. "Carotenoid Absorption from Salad and Salsa by Humans Is Enhanced by the Addition of Avocado or Avocado Oil" The Journal of Nutrition 2005 135:31-436

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