How avocados contribute to a healthy gut microbiome

A study suggests that an avocado a day will keep your gut microbes happy. (Getty Images)
A study suggests that an avocado a day will keep your gut microbes happy. (Getty Images)

It’s no secret that Britons adore avocados. These pear-shaped fruit - which many people might mistake as a vegetable! - are full of delicious, creamy flesh that carry a number of health benefits.

According to data from the World Avocado Organisation, the UK joins Germany as the European countries that consume the second biggest number of avocados as of 2022/23, having eaten around 110,000 tonnes.

The research also shows that the core consumers of avocados are millennials and Generation Z. As these cohorts are increasingly more aware of their health and diets, it would suggest that part of the reason avocados are so popular among them is because they are a healthy food.

Studies have shown that the versatile avocados, which are full of unsaturated fats but with no cholesterol, are good for heart health. In 2022, research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that eating two servings of avocados each week (one avocado) can reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease by 21%.

Avocados are nutrient-rich and packed with B vitamins, vitamins C, E, and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, and carotenoids.

Young man cooking guacamole in light kitchen at home. Hands close-up.
Millennials and Gen Z are the biggest fans of avocado, but everybody can benefit from them. (Getty Images)

But that’s not all. These green gems are also an important source of fibre, containing around 12 grams of fibre in a medium-sized avocado.

All that fibre encourages the growth of good gut bacteria, a 2020 study into the effect of avocado consumption on gut health suggested.

The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Illinois and published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that eating an avocado a day keeps gut microbes happy, which promotes better gut health.

Among the study’s participants, those who ate avocado every day as part of a meal had a greater abundance of gut microbes that break down fibre and produce metabolites that support gut health.

This group was also found to have greater microbial diversity compared to people who did not receive avocado in their meals as part of the study.

Sharon Thompson, lead author of the paper, said: "Microbial metabolites are compounds the microbes produce that influence health.

"Avocado consumption reduced bile acids and increased short chain fatty acids. These changes correlated with beneficial health outcomes."

Hannah Holscher, assistant professor of nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois and senior author of the study, explained that the researchers wanted to explore how the fats and fibre in avocados positively affect the gut microbiome.

She added that incorporating avocados into our diets can help us meet daily fibre recommendations. NHS guidelines state that humans should eat 30g of fibre a day, but most adults are only eating an average of about 20g a day.

"We can’t break down dietary fibres, but certain gut microbes can," Holscher said. "When we consume dietary fibre, it’s a win-win for gut microbes and for us."

While it might be difficult eating an avocado every single day, it’s a good idea to make it a regular part of your diet. If doing so increases the variety of plants you eat on a weekly basis, that’s even better as experts have emphasised the importance of eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to benefit our gut microbiome.

A healthy gut microbiome is believed to support other aspects of our wellbeing, from aiding the digestive system, boosting immunity and improving skin health, and even mental health.

Avocado recipes to try at home

Tamari salmon with crispy fried rice, avocado and sriracha mayo by Gousto


Serves: Two


  • 8ml Sriracha sauce

  • Two 110g salmon fillets with skin on

  • 15ml tamari soy sauce

  • 150g sushi rice

  • 1 avocado

  • 30ml mayonnaise

  • 5g black sesame seeds

  • 15ml mirin

  • Half a cucumber

  • 1 lime


1. Preheat your oven to 220C/200C (fan)/gas 7. While it's heating up, rince your sushi rice in a sieve under cold running water for 30 seconds and set aside to drain fully. Add the drained rice to 200ml of cold water to a pot with a lid and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.

2. Remove the pot from the heat and keep covered for a further five minutes. After five minutes, stir through your mirin and transfer the rice to a place spread it out flat to cool it down.

3. Slice your cucumber finely. Cut your avocado in half lengthways and remove the stone. Then scoop out the flesh and slice finely.

4. Add salmon fillets to a plate with the tamari soy sauce to marinade. Set aside.

5. Combine sriracha with mayonnaise and a squeeze of lime.

6. Heat a non-stick pan and add a drizzle of vegetable oil over high heat. Add the tamari-marinated salmon skin-side down, and cook for three to four minutes until the skin is crispy. Transfer to a baking tray skin-side up and put the tray in the oven for six to seven minutes. The fish should be opaque and flakes easily once it's cooked.

7. While waiting for the salmon to cook, shape the cooled sticky rice into two patties. Heat oil in a pan on high heat and once hot, add the rice patties and cook for two the three minutes on each side or until golden and crispy.

8. Layer the crispy rice patties with the sliced cucumber, sliced avocado and tamari salmon on top. Garnish with a lime wedge, black sesame seeds, and drizzle over the sriracha mayo.

Kimchi and avocado crackers by Eaten Alive

Serves: One


  • Kimchi

  • Avocado, sliced

  • Crackers of your choice


Simply layer kimchi and sliced avocado on a cracker and enjoy! The cool and rich avocado pairs perfectly with the sharp, salty spice of kimchi.

Avocado toast with poached egg and chilli salt by Maldon Salt

(Maldon Salt)
(Maldon Salt)

Serves: Two


  • 2 slices of sourdough bread, toasted

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1 lemon

  • 2 large eggs

  • A pinch of Maldon Chilli Sea Salt

  • Cracked black pepper

  • Handful of fresh coriander

  • Half a fresh red chilli, finely sliced


1. Place a pan of water on the hob and bring up to a simmering boil. While waiting for the water to boil, cut the avocado in half, peel the skin off each half and remove the stone. Place the cut side of each avocado half flat on your chopping board and slice thinly. Gently press to fan the slices out and squeeze over some lemon juice to stop it turning brown. Lift each fan of avocado using the flat of your knife onto your slice of toast.

2. Turn the heat down on the water so it's barely simmering. Crack each egg into a small ramekin, then use the stick end of a wooden spoon and swirl the simmering water to create a gentle whirlpool. Quickly drop your egg from the ramekin into the middle of the whirlpool and poach for two minutes until the white is just set but the yolk is still runny.

3. Lift the cooked egg out of the water with a slotted spoon and blot off any excess water with a kitchen towel. Place each egg onto the avocado toast.

4. Garnish each toast with some Maldon Chilli Sea Salt, cracked black pepper, fresh chilli slices and coriander.

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