The avocado is a fruit of the plant native to South Central Mexico. It is a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. Avocado is a large berry-like fruit containing a large seed enclosed in it. The seed is commonly called “pit” or “stone.” Besides being a superfood, avocado is also one of the most delicious fruits on planet earth.
Types of Avocados
Avocados are not only of one kind. The respective fruit comes in a variety of shapes and colors. The numbers of varieties are approximately 400. Their size ranges from that of a plum to a 2 kg round berry. Export quality avocados usually have a weight between 150 to 400 g.
Most common varieties of avocados include,
- Bacon is the most basic variety of avocados. It is cultivated in Spain, weighs 198-340 grams, ovoid, with dark green color. It has a thin and smooth skin with a pale green-yellow pulp.
- Reed is the highly productive variety of avocados from Guatemala. It is round or oval in shape with a thick green skin and a characteristic taste. Reed weighs around 200 to 350 g and justifies the expectations of the European market. Its cultivation has been recently familiarized in Israel, in such a way that it covers the summer supply from April until September.
- Pinkerton has a rough skin but a good taste. Currently, Israel is the only exporter for this.
- Negra de la Cruz is a rare type of avocado. It has a smooth skin with coal black or purple color. It has a medium size and is harvested in Chile from mid-March until the end of September.
- Wurt is a pear-shaped avocado. It comes from Israel and harvested from March until June.
- Hass has a yellow pulp, small size, rough and dark skin. It tastes like Hazelnuts.
- El Edranol is mostly from South Africa, harvested between June to October.
- Ryan has a rough skin. It occasionally comes from South Africa from September until December.
- Fuerte is the most cultivated variety of avocado. It weighs around 250g and is pear shaped. Roughly skinned, but relatively thin, it stands out for its delicate taste. In Europe it is available for sale all year round, coming from South Africa, Israel, Spain, and Kenya.
- Nabal is round shaped, fibrous and woody in texture. It has the lowest fat content ranging between 6 to 8%. It comes mostly from Israel.
- Ettinger weighs around 300 grams with an oval shape. It has a smooth and bright skin. It is usually picked when its fat content reaches 9%. Its flavor has occupied the French taste, where it is highly appreciated.
- Dwarf avocados is without the seed and they are mainly marketed in France.
Nutritional value of the Avocados
Avocados are a universal superfood. Owing to a great nutritional value, avocados are a popular choice for health-conscious individuals all over the world.
Avocados are one of the richest, delightful, and adequately nutritious foods on the planet earth. They are loaded with “good fat content.” Besides that, avocados are packed with anti-aging nutrients, disease-fighting antioxidants, and nearly 20 different minerals and vitamins.
A study shows that regular avocado consumers have higher intakes of fiber, vitamins K and E, magnesium, and potassium.
A 150 grams serving of avocados provides,
- Zero cholesterol
- 11mg of Sodium
- Vitamin C: 17% of RDA
- 13 grams of Carbohydrates
- Vitamin B5: 14% of RDA
- 10 grams of Dietary fiber
- Vitamin K: 26% of RDA
- 240 calories (184 of which comes from fat)
- Vitamin E: 10% of RDA
- Potassium: 14% of RDA
- Vitamin B6: 13% of RDA
- 1 gram of sugar
- Folate: 20% of RDA
Avocados are different from the usual fruits we eat. They contain more fat than sugars. However, most of these fats are good or healthy fats i.e. beneficial for our health. In fact, it is the only fruit which contains this much monounsaturated fats. These fats are helpful in a way that they promote the absorption of antioxidants like beta-carotene and prevent degeneration of muscles.
Fats aren’t always bad for the body. Our body needs fats to absorb nutrients, produce energy and build cell membranes. Out of the 22 grams of fats within avocados, 14.7 grams are of the monounsaturated type. Based on a 1960s research, monosaturated fats help patients with cardiovascular issues. In addition, avocado is without any cholesterol.
The above chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Avocados provides for each of the nutrients, for which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to the Food Rating System.
Health benefits of Avocados
Setting the great taste apart, research has revealed a vast nutritional power of the Avocados. It has some amazing benefits regarding the health of the individuals which are as follow,
Promotes a healthy weight loss
Avocados are rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These fats are of a healthy kind. An adequate amount of healthy fats is required in our meals, in order to keep us full and satisfied. Since fats take longer to digest than carbohydrates or proteins, they can help you get rid of untimely and frequent hunger pangs which results in a healthy weight loss.
Improves brain health
The nutritional profile of avocados suggests them to be beneficial for an optimal brain health. A nutrition expert Ann Kulze, particularly noting the nutrients like folate, copper, vitamin-C, and vitamin E declares avocados good for mental health. It keeps the brain cells healthy and supports the connecting nerves. A study conducted in 2017 links avocados’ intake to a better memory and improved problem-solving skills in adults.
Controls blood sugar levels
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends eating avocados because they contain less than one gram of sugar per 100g of serving. The presence of monounsaturated fats can also improve digestion and prevent the increase of sugar level in the blood. A study conducted in 2007 reveals that healthy fats may help control blood sugar and insulin levels.
Avocados are beneficial for pregnant women
Avocados are a distinctive nutrient-rich plant-based food. They contain many of the critical nutrients for infant and fetal health and development. Given that the respective fruit is a good source of folate, consuming avocados during pregnancy can potentially reduce the risk of birth defects.
A study finds that avocados provide a range of beneficial nutrients that can make a considerable impact not only during pregnancy but also during the period before conception and early pregnancy.
Avocados not only promote the absorption of antioxidants but also pack eye-protecting antioxidants within themselves. These little green gorgeous beauties are rich in both Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These two phytochemicals are crucial for eye health. They are scientifically proven to reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Reduces the risk of heart diseases
According to Penny M. Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition at Penn State University, including avocados in a fat-moderate, cholesterol-lowering diet can benefit the health of our heart. In this study, participants, who consumed avocados, were clearly reported to have a decreased level of LDL cholesterol. It serves as a key factor which decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
If you have not tasted this blessing of nature yet, this might be the right time. It is a small packet with the greatest of nutritional blessings within it.