When you hear the word superfood, one of the top foods to come to your mind is probably the avocado. From restaurants advertising their newest item on their superfood menu to health gurus advising you to use it instead of butter in your sandwiches and baked goods, avocado is everywhere. But is avocado healthy?
Despite the heavily-marketed health benefits, this fruit isn’t perfect. To help answer the question whether is avocado healthy, below is information on what is an avocado, common foods that use avocado, health dangers, and potential health benefits.
What Is Avocado?
Despite its common misclassification as a vegetable, avocado (less commonly known as the alligator pear for its shape and texture) is scientifically classified as a fruit belonging to the laurel family. The fruit has its origins in South Central Mexico. But it is a staple food all throughout South and Central America.
Most commonly, avocados are small and round or pear-shaped. However, their shape and size can depend on where and how they are cultivated. They are characterized by a dark green skin with a lighter green fleshy interior and a large, round pit in the center.
Avocados have been able to spread in popularity worldwide because they thrive in both tropical and Mediterranean climates. This made it easy for them to cultivate anywhere that has a warm and humid climate. They also make for a popular houseplant since all you need is the pit from a ripe avocado fruit.
Items That Contain Avocado
Avocado is a commonly added ingredient in many favorite foods. Some of these foods include:
- Guacamole: The most popular use for avocado is its use as the primary ingredient to make guacamole. The avocado is what gives guacamole its color and creamy texture.
- Smoothies: With green smoothies also rising in popularity, avocados are increasingly making an appearance. Smoothie shops add avocado to lend a creamy texture and cut the bitterness of some of the leafy greens.
- Substitute for butter: Many nutrition enthusiasts like to use avocado in recipes that typically require butter. This can mean spreading avocado on toast or sandwiches to making an avocado-based cake.
- Salads, wraps, and sandwiches: You will also commonly find avocado in traditionally lighter fare. It can be whether diced into a salad or sliced into a wrap or a sandwich.
- Oil: Instead of vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil, many are instead switching to avocado oil for their frying, cooking, and baking needs.
The Dangers of Avocado
No analysis of the debate whether is avocado healthy or not would be complete without a look at any potential dangers of consuming this fruit. The truth is, avocado is generally safe to consume, especially in moderate amounts. However, for some people and at extreme amounts, it might not be as super as avocado advocates claim. Below are some potential dangers of avocado:
- Allergic reaction: While not very common, an allergic reaction is the most serious potential danger of consuming avocado. The more avocado you consume, the worse the allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction caused by avocados include swelling or hives, difficulty breathing, a stuffy nose, and coughing. If you suspect you might have an allergy, try cutting avocado out of your diet and see if the symptoms subside. If you do have an allergy, it is important to be mindful of which foods contain avocado or avocado oil so you can avoid exposure.
- Weight gain: Despite the health benefits, avocados are still high in calories and fat. When consumed in excessive amounts, eating avocados can lead to weight gain. The key here is moderation. So consume enough to take advantage of the healthy fats, but not so much that it hurts your waistline.
Are There Benefits of Avocado?
So now you know that avocado is just about everywhere and it is safe to eat in moderation, but is avocado healthy? These are some of the health benefits of avocado:
- High in monounsaturated fat: Not all fat is bad, and monounsaturated fat is the best of the best. At moderate amounts, the type of fat found in avocados help moderate your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Also, it doesn’t clog your arteries.
- Low sugar: Many fruit varieties are high in sugar, but avocado is the exception. The high levels of monounsaturated fat coupled with a low sugar content help you feel full longer.
- Lots of vitamins and minerals: Avocados gained their superfruit status largely because they are an incredible source of nutrients. They are the B vitamins, potassium, and folate, just to name a few.
Cutting the Slice
In short, in order to answer the question is avocado healthy, this article has investigated avocado and its popularity in many different foods, its relative lack of dangers, and its notable health benefits. Although it can be high in fat and calories, when consumed in moderation, the health benefits far outweigh the risks.
So what do you think? Is avocado healthy? Do you have any more insights on the potential benefits or dangers of avocado? Please let us know in the comments below!
The images are from pixabay.com.