In many ways, avocado is one of the original superfoods. From the turn of the millennium, they’ve grown in popularity every single year; nearly four times as many were consumed last year compared to 2000, with Americans munching through over 2.6 billion pounds of them last year. “America’s new favourite food” declared the Washington Post in 2015. And a significant driver of this trend is knowledge of the fruit’s numerous health benefits (not to mention its versatility as an ingredient).
Originating from south central Mexico, the avocado tree – persea americana – is officially a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. Botanically a large berry, in some circles it’s known as the alligator pear, and comes in a range of colours and sizes, from green to black, and from 220 grams to well over one kilo. The variety your most likely familiar with is Hass, a type derived from a single tree cultivated in southern California in 1926 by Rudolph Hass.
While many fruits consist mainly of carbohydrate, avocado is famed for its concentration of healthy fats. 77% of its calories are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plants in the world. Most of this is in the form of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that’s also prevalent in olive oil and believed to have a number of benefits. Oleic acid has been linked with reduced inflammation, and is believed to reduce the risk of various cancers.
Potassium is a vitally important mineral – it helps reduce blood pressure, reduces the risk of strokes, and regulates body fluids – yet most people don’t get enough from their diet. Avocados contain even more than bananas, packing in 14% of your Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) per 100 grams.
Regular consumption of avocados has been shown to lower cholesterol, and they are also rich in fibre – especially soluble fibre – which is great for the friendly gut bacteria in your intestine and for reducing blood sugar spikes (there’s around 7 grams of fibre, 27% of RDA, in a 100 gram serving).
Avocados contain a wide range of other vitamins and minerals, making it one of the most nutritious foods you can eat – its superfood status is well deserved. With high levels of folate, and vitamins K and C in particular, they are incredibly nutrient-dense (they also have plenty of also vitamins B5, B6, E). At just 160 calories, naturally sodium and sugar free, and with 2 grams of protein, avocados are beloved of athletes and those with an active lifestyle too.
But it’s those 15 grams of healthy fats that make avocados a superstar. Aside from the oleic acid, their fat content can help you absorb nutrients from other foods in your diet. Some vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, and powerful antioxidants such as carotenoids are fat-soluble, meaning they have to be combined with fat to benefit your body. Studies have shown that eating avocados can increase the absorption of such compounds up to 15-fold, so they are not just nutritious in and of themselves – they help your body extract more benefits from everything else you eat too.
At Buffalo Market we strive to ensure a continuous supply of organic avocados and other avocado products all year round, so you always have access to this amazing fruit. Upgrade your diet and add some to your cart today – your body will thank you.