The humble avocado has a widespread reputation for deliciousness, and adds depth of flavor and incredible creaminess to a range of dishes. While you probably don’t need to be told about it’s tastiness, you should read up on its health benefits, which we’ll cover below.
It’s a Fat, It’s a Veggie, It’s a … Fruit?
Yep. Although the avocado typically does vegetable duty – think burger condiments, salad additions and chili toppings – it is actually a fruit. According to the Mayo Clinic, a fruit is the part of a plant that develops from a flower, and contains a seed or seeds. That qualifies the avocado, known for its big central pit (other potentially surprising fruits include zucchini, pumpkins, tomatoes and olives).
What’s this mean for your health? Well, while lots of fruits have high sugar content, and should therefore be eaten with caution, the avocado is very low in sugar. An entire cup of cubes, in fact, has only 1 gram. That doesn’t mean you can down avocados with reckless abandon (considering that same cup contains 32 percent of your daily fat value), but you should definitely consider replacing other fats with it, such as butter, lard and vegetable oils.
Nutrients in Avocado
In addition to their healthy fat content, which helps you absorb nutrients and feel full, avocados are high in a range of vitamins and minerals. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, they contain B vitamins (including folate and pantothenic acid), copper, vitamins K, E and C, and potassium. Avocados also boast high amounts of carotenoids, which keep you healthy, lower the chances of chronic illness and are best absorbed by eating fat.
Getting the Most Out of an Avocado
It’s all in the peel, my friends, which contains the highest concentrations of nutrients. Although you probably won’t be munching a peel any time soon, you can maximize those nutrients by peeling your avocado rather than scooping out the flesh. Cut lengthwise, twist the halves apart, and remove the pit with a knife. Then cut each half again and pull off the skin.
Luckily, unlike many other health foods, the avocado is extremely easy to put into dietary rotation. Add it to salads and omelets, blend it into smoothies with lime and mango, or garnish a sweet potato hash. You can also top a wide variety of soups with it, including chicken tortilla, minestrone, chili, and even stew. If you’re pressed for time and need a snack, cut an avocado in half and remove the pit, then dress the halves with lime and salt. When you’ve got a bit more on the clock, make chicken salad and serve it in the wells.
See? There’s no real trick to downing more of this superfood. Getting more avocado nutrition is as simple as having them on hand and grabbing one when you feel peckish. Hunger: solved.