Avocados are healthy and delicious, but do they cause constipation? Because that would be a real deal-breaker if they do. Sure, we all want to live healthy lives and eat healthy, but if they are going to cause a digestive issues such as constipation then they aren't going to be worth it.
These little guys are thought to have been cultivated in South and Central America as far back as 5,000 BC. Spanish explorers first mentioned them in writing around the early 1500's. The name "avocado" actually comes from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl, which actually means “testicle”, probably because of the shape of these fruits.
It wasn't until the 1800s that they were first grown and harvested in the US, now being pretty popular harvests in tropical/subtropical places like Hawaii, Florida and California.
This is when they really started growing in popularity... and really started spreading.... healthy bowel movements or constipation? Which is it?
We've seen the question come up quite a bit... of whether or not avocados cause constipation which is the reason we are addressing it here. In short... there is very little reason why they would, although possible, and they are much more likely to act in the opposite direction, helping decrease the chances or rid you of constipation.
And this is great news!
Now you will not have to fear cutting guacamole out of your diet or cutting back on the avocado salads.
- Are a great source of fiber (1 avocado has about 54% (13.5 g) of the DV you need according to Self Nutrition Data)
- Have 4 g protein (normal store bought avocado from California or Florida)
- High in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat
- High in vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and more
- Lots of minerals like potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese
Overall they are incredibly nutritious and well worth adding to your diet, although there is a slim chance they could potentially cause constipation…
They Could Cause Constipation... But Chances are Slim
There really isn't much to say here because there really isn't much reason that avocados would cause constipation.
However, they are very high in fat, a normal sized avocado from Florida or California containing about 29 g of fat (source: USDA), and diets that are high in fat can slow down digestion. This is why people who go on ketogenic diets (low carbs, high protein and fat) occasionally experience digestion issues such as constipation.
But they are more likely to help and even decrease chances of constipation even with their high fat content.
Why They Are MORE LIKELY TO HELP
Lots of Fiber
The main reason that avocados are likely to be beneficial when it comes to constipation is because they are great sources of fiber... and it is a lack of fiber that is often the cause of constipation.
As listed above, one normal sized avocado coming from Florida or California will bring you about 13.5 grams of fiber.
Fiber is great because it adds bulk and helps absorb water to keep stool from getting hard and difficult to pass. It basically helps keep things running smoothly and easily, and is well known to help increase bowel movement frequency.
It's no wonder that too much fiber can cause diarrhea, which is the reason low fiber foods are at the top of our list of foods to eat when you have diarrhea.
Vitamins & Minerals That Help Too
A lot of the vitamins and minerals that avocados have also help keep your digestive system operating smoothly.
Potassium is a big one and something that they supply a hefty dose of. This mineral helps the brain communicate with muscles that play a key role in digestion. And the magnesium they contain should help with muscular contraction, which is what pushes your food along the digestive process.
Vitamin B6 is also important during digestion, aiding in the process of breaking down proteins... something else that avocados are fairly high in.
And this is still just naming a few.
Constipation In Babies and Children
There seems to be a lot of people looking for information regarding constipation in young children. The same applies here though... avocados should be a good food that helps prevent or treat the condition.
There is plenty of information from other credible sources that agrees with this. An article written by Stanford Children's Health on this topic lists avocados as a food to eat as a treatment for constipation.
Overall they are something that makes a great baby food due to their soft nature and rich nutrition.
Are You Convinced That Avocados Are Causing Constipation?
If you or someone you know is experiencing constipation and are convinced that it is the avocados that are the cause, have you ever considered it could be something else eaten with the avocados that is causing it?
Did you maybe add some other food to your diet at the same time that you are eating in conjunction with them?
What you could do to really get to the bottom of things is try out an elimination diet.. This is where you would eliminate certain foods from your diet and wait to see if there is any change in how you are feeling. You would wait to see if the constipation goes away. However, this can be tricky because with some foods the symptoms could take longer to disappear than with others, and the symptom in question also makes a big difference.
There is no good reason why avocados would cause constipation. Nearly all the information out there points to them benefiting such a condition in positive ways.
Of course there are many strange reasons that one person might get constipated while most don't, but the only notable reason we see that avocados could cause a condition like this would be due to their high fat content. But even with this it is highly unlikely due to all the fiber as mentioned.
It could be that a diet already very high in fat and very low in fiber could tip the scales a little bit too far, but eating avocados with a decently balanced diet should be no problem.