You probably know that avocados are an excellent source of healthful fats, but this whole food may also have other unique health benefits. Avocados have a unique nutrient profile – where most fruit predominantly contain carbs, avocados are high in healthy fats. And yes, avocados are actually classified as a fruit...
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy. Personally, I try to eat a whole avocado almost daily. This increases my healthy fat and calorie intake without seriously increasing my protein or carbohydrate intake. It is also very high in potassium and will help balance your vitally important potassium to sodium ratio.
As I've mentioned before, eliminating grain carbs is one of the best ways to support your health and maintain your weight, but when you cut down on carbs, you need to increase your intake of healthy fats. Avocados are an excellent source, along with organic raw butter, coconut oil, and organic pastured eggs, just to name a few.
Here's the overall skinny on the greatness of the avocado:
Nutritious – There are many varieties of avocados. The most popular is the Hass avocado, which is available throughout the year. Twenty vitamins and minerals are packed into a single avocado, including 26% of the RDA for Vitamin K, 20% for Folate, and 17% for Vitamin C. That's just in one avocado! Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber so there are only 2 "net" carbs, making it a low-carb friendly plant food. They also contain no cholesterol or sodium.
More Potassium than bananas! Potassium is a critical nutrient that many people are not getting enough of. Potassium helps maintain electrical gradients in the body's cells and serves various important functions. The average avocado contains 14% of the RDA (recommended daily amount) for Potassium while a banana only contains 10% even though they are often considered the holy grail of high potassium foods.
Heart Healthy – Avocados are filled with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. The majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid. This is a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component in olive oil – which is believed to be the reason for its beneficial effects. Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and been shown to have effects on the genes linked to cancer.
Conventional or organic?
Avocados are one of the safest fruits you can buy conventionally-grown, and most experts do not believe you need to purchase organic ones. Their thick skin protects the inner fruit from pesticides. Additionally, it has been rated as one of the safest commercial crops in terms of pesticide exposure, so there's no real need to spend extra money on organic avocados, unless you can afford it.