The avocado fruit comes a tree native to Mexico and Central America called called Persea americana (1). It is classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel. Avocado is a unique fruits. While most fruits consists of carbohydrates, avocado is high in healthy fats. As a matter of fact, scientific studies have shown that avocados have many health benefits.
Although there are many kinds of avocados, the most popular type is called Hass avocado. Avocados come in various shape (pear-shaped to round) and color (green to black).
It is often called “alligator pear,” which is very descriptive because it tends to be shaped like a pear and have green, bumpy skin… like an alligator.
The yellow-green flesh inside the fruit is eaten, but the skin and seed are discarded.
Here are 12 health benefits of avocado, that are supported by scientific research.
1. Avocado is a superfood
As mentioned, avocado is loaded with healthy fats, fiber and various important nutrients. Thus, It is often referred to as a “superfood” attributed to its health properties (2). It houses at least 20 different vitamins and minerals.
Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving (3):
- Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.
- Folate: 20% of the RDA.
- Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 14% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.
- Then it contains small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).
This is coming with 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber so there are only 2 “net” carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.
Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium, and are low in saturated fat.
2. Avocado is potassium-rich
Avocados are actually very high in potassium… with a 100 gram (3.5 ounce) serving containing 14% of the RDA, compared to 10% in bananas, which are a typical high potassium food (4).
Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure (5).
Potassium is a nutrient that most people aren’t getting enough of (6). This nutrient helps maintain electrical gradients in the body’s cells and serves various important functions. As such, avocado is highly recommended as a natural source of potassium.