If you’re a big fan of avocado, you’re probably wondering how it affects your digestion and whether it can help you poop more! I’ve done my research and here’s what you need to know.
According to MedicalNewsToday, avocados are naturally high in fiber (approximately 6-7 grams in half a fruit) and magnesium, which helps pull water into the intestines to keep stools soft and easy to pass. This makes avocados great for constipation relief, and they also lower the risk of colon cancer.
Keep reading to find out exactly how avocado affects your bowel movements, as well as the health benefits and recommended intake you should be following for best results!
How Do Avocados Affect Your Bowel Movements?
When it comes to avocado, you either love it or you hate it! But, our digestive systems are certainly unanimous in the fact that avocado does help you stay regular!
This is due to the fact that avocado contains a healthy dose of fiber, and this is absolutely essential for a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements.
One half of an avocado contains 4 grams of fiber, which is 11 percent of your daily recommended dietary allowance for men, and 16 percent of RDA for women.
According to Livestrong, dietary fiber is vital for your diet, as it alleviates a variety of digestive disorders. Fiber enables the food you eat to move more quickly and smoothly through your intestines, and it also helps to absorb water to prevent constipation.
Additionally, fiber helps to prevent the recurrence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) and slows down the progression of diverticulitis, which is a condition whereby small pouches located on your intestines become inflamed.
4 Additional Ways Avocado Improves Digestion
Avocado is packed with vitamins and nutrients that have all kinds of positive effects on your body! Since the focus here is on how avocado affects our digestive system, here are 3 additional ways that eating avocado can help improve how things work down there:
01. B Vitamins to Metabolize Foods
Avocados are very rich in energy-boosting B vitamins! All B-complex vitamins help your body to metabolize carbohydrates from the food you eat into energy. They also help your body to utilize fats and proteins in the best way possible, and assist in regulating your appetite.
A deficiency in certain B-vitamins can cause digestive problems. As an example, a deficiency in folate can result in diarrhea and a niacin deficiency can cause pellagra, which is a disease linked to diarrhea.
One half of an avocado contains 15 percent of the RDA for folate and 6-7 percent of your RDA for niacin. This means that by consuming half an avocado every day, you are lowering your chances significantly of experiencing any of the above conditions!
02. Potassium to Regulate Fluids
When we think of potassium, most of us immediately think of bananas! However, one half of an avocado contains 345 milligrams of potassium, which is 7 percent of the RDA for both men and women.
Potassium is extremely important for your body, especially your digestive system. This is due to the fact that it helps you to regulate the fluid in your body.
According to the Linus Pauling Insitute, a deficiency in potassium is characterized by intestinal paralysis. Typical symptoms of this condition are bloating, constipation, and pain in the abdomen.
To avoid this, add half an avocado to your morning breakfast or lunch to ensure you are taking in sufficient quantities of potassium!
03. Magnesium for Muscle Contraction
You may be wondering what your muscles have to do with your bowel movements, but they play a vital role! Your body needs magnesium in order to create a chemical reaction that metabolizes fats and proteins.
Magnesium activates adenosine tri-phosphate, which is a molecule that provides energy for all of your key metabolic activities. It also helps to move calcium and potassium across the cell membranes so that your muscles (including your digestive muscles) are able to contract efficiently.
This means that your digestive muscles are able to push the stools faster and more efficiently along so that you don’s suffer from constipation.
When it comes to your RDA, half an avocado contains 19 milligrams of magnesium, which is 4 percent and 6 percent of the recommended intake for adult men and women respectively.
04. Vitamin C for Collagen
The Vitamin C found in avocados helps your body to produce collagen. Collagen is a vital protein that helps your body manufacture skin, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. Collagen also winds itself around the walls of your intestine, giving your walls the strength to do their job and allow stools to pass smoothly.
Half an avocado contains 6 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 6 percent of the RDA for men and 8 percent of the RDA for women.
Can Avocados Cause Diarrhea?
While it may sound a little contradictory to say that avocados may cause a runny stomach, there is some truth to this. Since avocados are so high in fiber (with one fruit containing 54 percent of your RDA), they may cause gastrointestinal distress if consumed in excess.
According to Duke University, too much fiber can cause diarrhea, constipation, cramps, and bloating. It can also bind to zinc, iron, magnesium, and other important minerals, thus reducing their absorption in the body. If too much fiber is consumed over time, it can actually result in nutrient deficiencies.
If you are regularly eating avocados and other foods that are very high in fiber, and you often experience stomach pains and complications, this could be the reason why!
When fiber is consumed in the right quantities, it helps to keep you regular, improve colon health as well as improve blood lipids. However, if you overdo it, you can experience the opposite effects!
The daily recommended intake of fiber is 25 grams for women, and 38 grams for men, so it is important that you do not exceed these.
How Much Avocado Should You Be Eating?
As with almost everything in life, too much of a good thing can be bad for you! It’s important that you learn to incorporate avocados into your diet in the right quantities, so that you still reap the benefits without causing any harm.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, one avocado a day is sufficient in supplying with you with important vitamins and minerals for your body to function optimally.
However, since we are not only eating avocados to sustain us, eating one in conjunction with the rest of your diet could result in you consuming too much fat and fiber than your body requires.
To avoid this, it is recommended that you rather downsize your portion of avocado to only half a fruit and balance it out with other fruits and vegetables.
Another point to remember, one avocado contains between 250-300 calories depending on the size, so you may want to limit your intake if you are wanting to balance your weight.
When is the best time to eat avocado?
Researchers have found that adults, particularly overweight adults, who ate avocado as part of their breakfast in the mornings showed improved blood flow, which helps to regulate blood pressure. They also noticed their blood sugar levels were much better compared to those who ate avocado later in the day.
Do avocados cause gas?
Avocados are very low in fructose, which is known to cause gas. So no, avocados should not cause you to pass more gas. If you are experiencing gas, it would be wise to take a look at some other foods you may be eating that are high in fructose, such as sugary drinks, cakes, sauces and fast foods.