A Complete Guide to Guacamole: the Delicious Mexican Side

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Guacamole Nutrition

As the popularity of avocados grows, so does the use of guacamole.

An ethnic Mexican dish, guacamole is made from the fruit of an avocado and comes in many different shapes and sizes.

But there is one constant; it is based on avocados and full of healthy fats (1, 2).

This article will examine the nutritional profile of guacamole and some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is Guacamole?

Bowl of guacamole.

Guacamole is a traditional and — when made in the authentic way — healthy Mexican food made from avocados.

Guacamole also has a long history, with the first European account of the recipe appearing way back in 1518.

First created by the Aztecs, the traditional Mexican recipe remains the same to this day.

A typical recipe consists of mashed avocados coupled with onion, tomatoes, chili peppers and seasonings.

For those who don’t know, avocado is a fruit rather than a vegetable. And botanically speaking, it is a type of berry (3).

In contrast from the vast majority of fruits, avocado is an abundant source of healthy fat and contains minimal fructose (4).

As a result, guacamole is a great choice for anyone who prefers a low-carb style of eating.

Key Point: Guacamole is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of mashed avocados, tomato, onion and chili pepper. It has been popular in Mexico since the 16th century.

Guacamole Nutrition Facts

Picture showing the ingredients of guacamole.

As there are so many varieties of guacamole, it is hard to show the correct nutritional value.

But here are the nutrition facts for a simple guacamole consisting of one California avocado, a small tomato, and onion (5).

Calories and Macronutrients in Guacamole

Calories: 271

The macronutrient breakdown of this guacamole is 30% carbs, 65% fat, and 5% protein.

Fat: 21.2g

Saturated Fat: 2.9g

Monounsaturated Fat: 13.4g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.6g

Carbohydrate: 21.9g

Dietary Fiber: 11.5g

Sugars: 5.8g

Protein: 4.2g

Micronutrients in Guacamole

Similar to an avocado, guacamole is also rich in beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins

Vitamin C: 48% of the RDA

Vitamin K: 45% of the RDA

Folate: 37% of the RDA

Vitamin B6: 27% of the RDA

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Pantothenic Acid: 22% of the RDA

Vitamin A: 19% of the RDA

Niacin: 16% of the RDA

Vitamin E: 16% of the RDA

Riboflavin: 14% of the RDA

Thiamin: 11% of the RDA

Minerals

Potassium: 29% of the RDA

Manganese: 20% of the RDA

Copper: 16% of the RDA

Magnesium: 14% of the RDA

Phosphorus: 12% of the RDA

Guacamole also contains smaller amounts of zinc, iron, calcium, sodium and selenium.

Key Point: For a serving size that includes one avocado, there is 21.9g carbohydrate in guacamole, 4.1g protein and 21.2g fat. Also, there are a wealth of health-supportive nutrients.

Is Guacamole Good For You?

Picture of two avocados - one whole avocado and an opened avocado.

As a result of the high-fat content, many people wonder whether guacamole is healthy or not.

However, the answer depends on how you source it.

While a simple homemade guacamole can be extremely healthy, some ready-to-mix products found in-store can be terrible.

For one thing, many of these store-bought guacamoles have added ingredients such as soybean oil, sweeteners, and flavorings.

In contrast, a good homemade guacamole has no fillers or preservatives; it’s just real food.

For those trying to lose weight, ‘low-calorie guacamole’ may seem appealing, but you should run in the other direction. Avocados are naturally a calorie-rich food full of fat, so any low-calorie guacamole is not real.

Overall, it’s best to make fresh guacamole at home; this way you control what ingredients go into it.

Healthy Fats

The health benefits of guacamole are chiefly down to the impressive nutrient profile of avocados.

Similar to olive oil, avocados are a rich source of oleic acid (that’s the fat you often hear the media refer to as ‘heart healthy’) (6, 7, 8).

Despite the high amount of fat, you shouldn’t worry about it; naturally occurring fat is good for you and essential for the body (9, 10).

Key Point: Guacamole is naturally rich in calories and fats — but these calories are nutrient-dense and the fat is very healthy. Whereas heavily processed guacamole is not healthy, a simple homemade version is very good for you.

Studies 

Studies on guacamole - picture of woman examining test results

With attention to health studies, there are some significant findings on the positive benefits of avocados.

Frequently consuming avocados is associated with better diet quality, nutrient intake, and cardiovascular health (11, 12, 13, 14).

One study in particular compared two groups of people; one group ate an avocado every day for five weeks, and one didn’t. Notably, both groups had the fat content and the types of fatty acids in their diet matched.

Despite consuming the same macronutrient ratio and the same type of fatty acids, the avocado group had a decrease in almost all cardiovascular risk factors.

This study shows that avocados have unique health benefits that extend beyond their healthy fat content (15).

Key Point: While there are no specific studies on guacamole, a large body of research shows that avocados improve cardiovascular health.

How To Keep Guacamole From Turning Brown

Picture of an avocado with browning.

In spite of guacamole’s benefits, there is also a big disadvantage; the browning effect. Unfortunately, guacamole can turn brown very quickly due to a large number of phenols in avocados and an enzyme named polyphenol oxidase (16).

To briefly explain; oxygen and polyphenol oxidase react to turn these phenols into a new compound called a quinone (17).

Quinones protect against damage from bacteria, and they show up as the discoloration you see on avocado flesh. In other words; the browning of guacamole/avocado is a protection mechanism, delaying the rotting of the fruit (18, 19).

While there is no way to stop guacamole from turning brown, there are methods that delay it.

However, the key is to halt the oxidation process from starting before storage, as once it begins it will continue. In other words; you should try to protect the avocado as soon as you slice it open — so be quick!

  • Add a sufficient amount of lemon or lime juice to the guacamole. The enzymatic processes that cause the browning slow down due to the higher acidity.
  • Make sure to add adequate amounts of salt; for both taste and its role as a natural preservative.
  • As oxygen is necessary for the oxidation process (formation of quinones) to begin, seal the guacamole in an airtight container. Restrict the flow of air to the guacamole as much as you can.
Key Point: In order to stop the browning of guacamole, add sufficient salt and lime juice and store it in an air-tight container. From the moment you first slice the avocado, be as quick as possible.

Pairing Ideas

Picture of healthy food and guacamole.

By all means, if you love chips and tortillas then you can eat these — but they are not so healthy.

Some other popular options include making a guacamole salad.

Recently, I made a version of guacamole with bits of bacon, soft-boiled egg and onions mixed into it — very delicious.

But in truth, you can pair guacamole with almost everything, so be creative.

It can be used as a topping on a healthy pizza, as a side-serving with some steak, or even in an omelet.

Key Point: Guacamole is a very adaptable food and it works well with almost anything. It doesn’t have to be paired with Mexican food or chips.

Is Guacamole Fattening?

Happy woman holding an avocado

It’s true that guacamole is high in both calories and fat.

Be that as it may, guacamole is not fattening — and fat doesn’t make you fat (20, 21, 22).

For one thing, studies show that avocados improve satiety by lengthening the feeling of being full and decreasing hunger cravings (23, 24).

As a result, avocados discourage excessive eating and can, therefore, be a possible weight control tool.

Also, studies show that avocados have either a neutral or positive effect on weight loss (25, 26, 27).

This issue relates to something that’s crucial to realize about food in general. Nutrient-density is a point often overlooked and, unfortunately, counting calories dominates the weight loss world (28).

But how heavily processed food is and the nutrient-density of said food are far bigger health determinants than units of energy (calories).

However, there does come the point when calories do matter — so while one avocado is excellent, it’s probably not a good idea to eat a handful every day.

Key Point: Guacamole is high in calories and fat, but it’s not especially fattening. Also, the calories it does contain are full of essential nutrients for the body to use.

How to Make Guacamole

Picture of the ingredients for how to make guacamole

Of course, it may seem like a lot of hard work if you’ve never tried before, but making guacamole is simple.

At its most basic, you only need a few ingredients and about 10 minutes of prep time.

Ingredients

  • 2 Avocados
  • 1 Small Tomato
  • 1 Small Onion
  • Juice from a lime
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Simple Method

  • First, mash the avocados.
  • Next, chop the onion and tomatoes into your preferred size and mix them into the mashed avocado.
  • Finally, stir in as much lime juice as you desire, as well as the salt and pepper.

Although this is just a basic and very simple recipe, you can easily adjust it to suit your taste. For a spicy guacamole recipe, just add some chili pepper — and add anything else you want too.

How Long Does it Last?

Picture of an open fridge full of lots of fresh fruit and vegetables

While a homemade guacamole recipe isn’t going to last for long, it can remain fresh for a day or two. This estimate is presuming it’s kept in an airtight container and stored before any oxidation begins.

As earlier stated, time is of the essence when storing guacamole; the less exposure to oxygen, the longer it will last.

In contrast, if you buy a store-bought guacamole then it can last for a week or two. But if you opt for a pre-prepared guacamole, check the label to make sure there are no nasty ingredients hiding inside.

4 Healthy and Tasty Recipes

For the purpose of showing how adaptable guacamole can be, here are some of the best recipes online.

Bacon and Guacamole Fat Bombs by Keto Diet App

From one of the very best low-carb sites online, these little balls are full of fat and taste.

Bacon Guacamole Fat Bombs

Ingredients

  • Avocado
  • Bacon
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Chili Pepper
  • Onion
  • Lime Juice
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Cilantro

Get the recipe

‘The Best Damn Keto Guacamole Recipe’ by Keto Flu

This one is the self-proclaimed best keto guacamole recipe on the Internet. Try it and see if you agree!

The Best Guacamole - recipe

Ingredients

  • Avocado
  • Red Onion
  • Lime Juice
  • Salt
  • Red Pepper Flakes

Get the recipe

Bacon Wrapped Guacamole Stuffed Chicken by Closet Cooking

I’ll let the picture tell the story; these look amazing.

Bacon Wrapped Guacamole Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients

  • Chicken Breasts
  • Guacamole
  • Bacon
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Get the recipe

Mexican Pizza on a Cheddar Cheese Crust by Wicked Stuffed

A Mexico-inspired pizza, but a healthy one that’s both low carb and gluten-free. Tasty too.

Mexican Pizza on a Fried Cheddar Base

Ingredients

  • Cheese
  • Beef
  • Chili Powder
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Salsa
  • Lettuce
  • Pica de gallo
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Picante

Get the recipe

Final Thoughts

As you can see throughout this article, guacamole is a perfectly healthy food.

It’s good for cardiovascular health, and as part of a sensible diet, it may even help you lose weight.

Lastly, it tastes delicious, and there are lots of amazing ways to make it.

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