How healthy is the Avocolada smoothie?

Smoothies have become an increasingly popular way to get a nutritious breakfast or snack on the go. With so many smoothie options available, it can be hard to know which ones are actually healthy. One smoothie that has grown in popularity is the Avocolada – a blend of avocado, spinach, banana, coconut milk, and cocoa powder. But is this green smoothie as virtuous as it sounds? Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional benefits and drawbacks of the Avocolada smoothie.

Nutritional breakdown

Here is a nutritional breakdown for one 16 oz Avocolada smoothie:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 371
Total Fat 24 g
Saturated Fat 13 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 144 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36 g
Dietary Fiber 9 g
Sugars 16 g
Protein 6 g
Vitamin A 14% DV
Vitamin C 39% DV
Calcium 6% DV
Iron 11% DV
Potassium 12% DV

_% DV = Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet

As you can see, the Avocolada smoothie packs in over a third of your daily calories into one drink. It is high in both overall fat and saturated fat. However, it does contain 9g of fiber, which is important for digestive health. It also provides a significant amount of vitamins A and C. Let’s analyze the pros and cons of each ingredient that makes up this smoothie.


Avocados are the base of this smoothie, providing the creamy, green color and texture. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of avocados:


  • High in monounsaturated fats – these healthy fats may help reduce cholesterol and lower heart disease risk.
  • Packed with fiber – avocados contain 11g of fiber per cup, promoting digestive health.
  • Rich in potassium – with 28% DV potassium per avocado, they help regulate fluid balance and blood pressure.
  • Contains lutein and zeaxanthin – these antioxidants support eye health and lower risks of eye diseases.
  • High in folate – avocados provide 30% DV folate per cup, an important nutrient for pregnant women.


  • High in calories and fat – with 322 calories and 29g fat in one cup, avocados are very energy dense.
  • Low in protein – avocados only have 4g protein per cup, so they lack the muscle-building benefits of proteins.
  • Contains persin – this compound may trigger migraines in sensitive individuals.
  • Often eaten in excess – it’s easy to eat too much avocado, spiking calorie and fat intake.


Spinach is often added to smoothies like the Avocolada to boost its nutritional value. Here is an overview of the pros and cons of spinach:


  • Rich in vitamin K – one cup of spinach provides over 600% DV vitamin K, which protects bone health.
  • Great source of vitamin A – with over 150% DV vitamin A per cup, spinach supports immune function and eye health.
  • High in manganese – spinach contains 30% DV manganese per cup, which aids metabolism and nutrient absorption.
  • Contains anti-inflammatory compounds – spinach provides anti-oxidants that can reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Low in calories – one cup only has 7 calories, so it adds nutrients without many additional calories.


  • High in pesticide residue – spinach tends to be heavily sprayed with pesticides, so organic is ideal.
  • Oxalate content – oxalates in spinach may contribute to kidney stone development in prone individuals.
  • Nutrients affected by cooking – spinach’s vitamin C and folate content are lowered when cooked.
  • Short shelf life – fresh spinach only lasts a few days before wilting and spoiling.
  • Can cause allergic reactions – spinach may trigger reactions in those allergic to salicylates.

Overall, spinach adds an array of vitamins and antioxidants to smoothies without spiking calories. However, it’s best consumed in moderation and ideally organic to limit pesticide exposure.


Bananas provide natural sweetness, texture and creaminess to smoothies. Here is a quick rundown of their nutritional pros and cons:


  • Convenient source of potassium – bananas provide 12% DV potassium to help regulate fluids and blood pressure.
  • Packed with vitamin B6 – each banana contains over 30% DV vitamin B6 to support red blood cell production.
  • Rich in prebiotics – unripe bananas contain resistant starch and inulin to feed healthy gut bacteria.
  • Loaded with antioxidants – bananas are high in dopamine and catechins that act as antioxidants.
  • Easy to digest – ripe bananas are easily digested and gentle on sensitive stomachs.


  • High in sugar – a medium banana has 14g sugar, so they can spike blood sugar levels.
  • Low in protein – with only 1g protein per banana, they lack satiating protein.
  • Contains MSG – bananas naturally contain high levels of MSG, which may trigger headaches.
  • Rapidly ripen – bananas go from green to overripe quickly, making them challenging to store.
  • Can cause bloating – some people may experience gas and bloating from banana’s fiber content.

Overall, bananas provide many beneficial nutrients, vitamins and minerals, but should be consumed in moderation due to their high sugar content.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk adds creamy richness and subtle coconut flavor to smoothies. But how does it rate nutritionally?


  • Contains healthy fats – coconut milk provides medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which may promote fat loss.
  • Rich in antioxidants – coconut milk contains antioxidants like Vitamin C and E to reduce oxidative stress.
  • Dairy-free alternative – for those avoiding dairy, coconut milk substitutes well in smoothies.
  • Low glycemic index – coconut milk has a GI of 35, meaning it has a relatively mild impact on blood sugar.
  • Naturally lactose-free – coconut milk is safe for those with lactose intolerance.


  • High in calories and fat – 1 cup provides 552 calories and 57g fat, so portions must be monitored.
  • Low in protein – with only 5g protein per cup, it lacks adequate protein compared to dairy milk.
  • Contains saturated fat – 45% of the fat in coconut milk is saturated, which raises cholesterol levels.
  • Adds natural sugar – a cup of coconut milk has 7g sugar that increases the smoothie’s carbohydrate load.
  • Potentially allergenic – some people are allergic or intolerant to coconut products.

Coconut milk contains beneficial fats and antioxidants, but it must be used sparingly in smoothies to keep calories and saturated fat in check.

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder provides rich chocolate flavor and additional antioxidants. Here is an overview of its nutritional upsides and downsides:


  • Packed with antioxidants – cocoa is one of the highest antioxidant foods, thanks to flavonoids and polyphenols.
  • May improve cholesterol – cocoa can raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Boosts mood – cocoa triggers the release of endorphins that uplift mood and promote feelings of euphoria.
  • Rich in fiber – unsweetened cocoa powder provides 9g fiber per ounce, promoting digestion.
  • Lowers blood pressure – flavanols in cocoa powder can promote dilation of blood vessels.


  • Stimulant – cocoa powder contains caffeine and theobromine that can overstimulate the nervous system.
  • Calorie dense – unsweetened cocoa powder has 105 calories per ounce, so portions must be moderated.
  • Contains oxalates – oxalates in cocoa may contribute to kidney stone formation in prone people.
  • Causes allergies – cocoa can trigger allergic reactions in those with sensitivities.
  • Adds sugar – many cocoa powders contain added sugar, spiking the carb and calorie content.

In small doses, cocoa powder boosts antioxidants and flavor in smoothies without adding many calories. But it does contain stimulants to be aware of.

Overall Nutrition

Looking at the combined nutritional profile of all the Avocolada’s ingredients, here are some key takeaways:

  • Provides healthy fats – from the avocado and coconut milk.
  • Rich in fiber – 9g per smoothie aids digestion.
  • Packed with vitamins – contains 100%+ DV for vitamins A, C, and K.
  • High antioxidant content – from spinach, avocado, coconut milk and cocoa.
  • Contains plant-based protein – approximately 6g per smoothie.

Potential drawbacks:

  • Very high in calories and fat – ranges from 350-550 calories and 25-30g fat.
  • Lower in protein than dairy-based smoothies – only about 6g protein.
  • Adds natural and added sugars – around 15-20g per smoothie.
  • Provides stimulants – from the cocoa powder.
  • May cause bloating or allergies – from bananas, spinach or coconut.

Overall, the Avocolada smoothie provides a hefty dose of nutrition in each sip. But the high calorie, fat, sugar and stimulant content means it may need to be split into smaller servings or limited to an occasional treat. Let’s analyze the potential health benefits and drawbacks in more detail.

Potential Health Benefits

Here are some of the possible perks the Avocolada smoothie may provide:

Boosts heart health

The healthy monounsaturated fats from the avocado, antioxidants from the cocoa powder, and potassium from the spinach and banana can promote heart health by reducing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.

Aids digestion

With 9 grams of fiber per smoothie, the Avocolada promotes regularity and healthy digestion. The prebiotics from unripe bananas also feed beneficial gut bacteria.

Supports eye health

Lutein and zeaxanthin from avocados, along with vitamin A from the spinach prevent macular degeneration and other vision issues.

Provides energy

Although high in fat, the Avocolada smoothie contains natural sugars from the banana and added coconut milk that provide a quick energy boost.

May support weight loss

Despite being high in calories, avocados and coconut milk provide satiating healthy fats that can curb cravings and reduce overall calorie intake when included in a balanced diet.

Potential Health Drawbacks

While the Avocolada has many benefits, there are some potential health drawbacks to consider as well:

Blood sugar spikes

The natural sugars from the banana paired with added sugars from the coconut milk result in around 15-20g sugar per smoothie. This can spike blood glucose levels rapidly.

Stimulant content

Even small amounts of cocoa powder provide caffeine and theobromine, which may cause jitteriness, insomnia, anxiety or headaches in sensitive individuals.

Weight gain

Although healthy fats are satiating, the Avocolada’s high calorie and fat content can lead to unintended weight gain if consumed frequently or in large portions.

Allergies and intolerances

The banana, spinach, coconut, and cocoa powder may trigger food intolerances or allergies in those prone to sensitivities with these ingredients.

Kidney strain

The high oxalate content from the spinach and cocoa powder may contribute to kidney stone development in susceptible individuals.

Tips for balancing the Avocolada smoothie

Here are some ways to modify the Avocolada to make it a bit healthier:

  • Cut added sugars – avoid adding honey, agave, or other sweeteners.
  • Reduce portion size – limit to 8 oz or dilute with water or ice to reduce calories.
  • Use cacao nibs – instead of cocoa powder to limit stimulants.
  • Add protein powder – incorporate plant-based protein powders to increase protein.
  • Use leaner milks – substitute almond or oat milk for lower fat options.
  • Boost nutrition – mix in extra spinach, kale or nut butter for more benefits.
  • Limit to occasional use – enjoy the Avocolada as a treat, not an everyday smoothie.

The bottom line

When consumed occasionally and in moderation, the Avocolada smoothie can be part of a healthy diet, offering a concentrated dose of nutrition. Its blend of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants provides many benefits from heart and eye health to better digestion. However, the high calorie, fat, sugar and stimulant content mean it’s best to carefully monitor portion sizes and frequency to prevent unintended weight gain or other adverse effects. Diluting the recipe, using lower sugar ingredients, or boosting the protein content can help keep the calories and nutrition in balance.

Overall, the Avocolada smoothie can be a delicious way to increase fruit, veggie, and healthy fat intake. As long as you pay attention to serving sizes and enjoy it as an occasional treat, it can be a refreshing addition to a healthy lifestyle.

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