Avocados are an extremely nutrient-dense fruit, botanically classified as a berry with a single seed. They are high in many vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthful unsaturated fats. They are also low in sugar compared to many other fruits.
Avocados originally hail from Central America, but have been cultivated in South America as well for thousands of years. Now one can find avocados grown in warm climates around the globe, from Mexico to Florida to Morocco, Spain, Ghana and beyond, but Mexico remains the world’s largest producer. There are many different avocado cultivars, but Hass, Fuerte and Monroe are some of the most likely to be found at local farmers markets and supermarkets in the United States.
Being high in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and low in sugar distinguishes avocados from many other whole fruits and vegetables. The relatively high fat content in avocados aids in the absorption of certain phytonutrients, such as the antioxidant carotenoid, which has been connected to cardiovascular health and cancer prevention. Avocados also have been shown to help prevent the buildup of fat in the bloodstream, and to limit risk for metabolic syndrome, which is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Avocados are also a solid source of dietary fiber and help aid digestion, and contain high levels of micronutrients, such as vitamins B-6, C , E and K, the latter being important for bone health.
Avocados are traditionally harvested in the summertime, so your best chance of finding them at your neighborhood farmers market or produce stand is from around May-September in the United States. This delicious and versatile fruit can nonetheless be found year-round imported from Mexico, as well as from farms in Florida, California, and other more tropical-climate locals.
Resources and Further Reading
A list of possible Avocado health benefits:
For a more in-depth look at Avocados:
A recent study looking at the nutritional content of Avocados and their potential benefits in relation to preventing and treating cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes:
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