Avocado — that buttery green fruit that you can spread on a sandwich, dice into a salad, or mash into America’s favorite dip. Even if avocados weren’t as nutritious as they are, they would still be a treat worth serving frequently. However, research has demonstrated that avocados offer some surprising and powerful health benefits.
One of the most nutrient-dense foods, avocados are high in fiber and, ounce for ounce, they top the charts among all fruits for folate, potassium, vitamin E and magnesium. No doubt, avocado nutrition makes it a powerful SuperFood.
Avocados have been cultivated for thousands of years. A favorite of the Aztecs, they were originally native to Central America. There are generally two types of avocados available in U.S. markets today—the Hass avocado from California and the West Indian avocado from Florida. The green-black Hass avocado was named for Rudolph Hass, a Wisconsin mailman who retired to Pasadena, California and obtained a patent for the “Hass” avocado tree in 1935.
Hass avocados are nutty, buttery and rich in healthy monounsaturated oil (18 to 30 percent oil in each avocado). The light green Florida avocado is larger and juicier than the Hass variety, but it is less buttery, considerably lower in oil ( 3 to 5 percent oil) and has roughly 25 to 50 percent less fat than the Hass variety.
The delicious healthy monounsaturated fat in the avocado is one of its biggest SuperFood health claims. The only other fruit with a comparable amount of monounsaturated fat is the olive. The monounsaturated fat in avocados is oleic acid, which helps lower cholesterol. One study found that after seven days on a diet that included avocados, there were significant decreases in both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as an 11 percent increase in the “good” HDL cholesterol.