Often hailed as a ‘superfood’, avocado is a fruit (yes, fruit), that’s jam-packed full of nutrients.1
High in healthy fats, there have been numerous studies which show its extensive health benefits (but more on those later).
Here, we explore the benefits of avocado, as well as taking a detailed look at its nutritional profile, and sharing some of our favourite ways to cook avocado. Enjoy!
What is an avocado?
The avocado (Persea americana) comes from a tree that’s believed to have originated in south-central Mexico, and believe it or not, it’s actually classed as a fruit!
It comes from the flowering-plant family Lauraceae and is actually closer to a berry than a vegetable.
10 types of avocado
You might be surprised that there are varieties of avocado, but there are!
There are many types of avocado, changing in size, colour, texture, and taste depending on where they’re grown.
The Hass is the everyday avocado you know and love.
It’s available throughout the year and has become popular in all sorts of dishes because of its buttery texture and nutty flavour.
This is a variety of avocado from South Florida and it’s recognisable for its shiny skin.
Its flesh is more watery than the Hass, and it often leaks when it’s being cut.
Often available during the summer months, the Lula retains more water than many types of avocado, making it quite susceptible to fungi.
It’s relatively resistant to cold weather, but it naturally has fewer healthy oils compared to other avocado and grows to weigh approximately 1 pound.
The Pinkerton has rough skin that’s relatively easy to remove, has a smaller seed than the everyday avocado you’re used to, and is recognisable for its unique oblong shape.
When full-grown, it’s likely to weigh between 0.5–1.5 pounds.
Another avocado that only appears during the summer, the Reed is roughly the size of a softball and has a light, subtle flavour.
Unlike most avocados, its skin remains the same shade of green throughout the ripening process.
The Fuerte avocado is grown in Spain, where it gets its name, meaning “strong.”
It’s available for roughly eight months in a year and is shaped almost like a pear.
The flesh has an oily texture compared to some types of avocado.
The Zutano grows to be approximately 0.5-1 pound and its flesh has a mild flavour.
Its skin tends to be a light yellow-green compared to the darker greens and purples of most avocados.
Coming all the way from Australia, the Sharwil has a rough, green skin and yellow flesh.
It’s oilier than most avocados and has a strong flavour, but its growth can be heavily stunted by frost.
The Brogden avocado is a dark-purple hybrid of West Indian and Mexican varieties.
Though it’s very resistant to the cold, it’s hard to peel and thus not a popular commercial variety.
The Monroe is a large avocado that can weigh over 2 pounds (910 grams).
It’s a firmer variety and has less watery flesh.
- Hass: The everyday avocado you might have in your kitchen right now!
- Choquette: Originates in South Florida, shiny skin, watery flesh.
- Lula: Grows in summer, fewer natural oils, approx. 1 pound.
- Pinkerton: Rough, easy-peel skin, small seed, approx. 0.5-1.5 pounds.
- Reed: Light, subtle flavour, consistent green shade, the size of a softball.
- Fuerte: “Strong” in Spanish, unique pear shape, oily texture.
- Zutano: Yellow-green skin, mild taste, approx. 0.5-1 pound.
- Sharwil: Green skill, yellow flesh, strong flavour, grown in Australia.
- Brogden: Dark purple, resistant to cold, hard to peel, not very popular.
- Monroe: Can weigh over 2 pounds, firm, less watery.
Other uses of avocado
Avocados can be used for many things outside of cooking, including:
Avocado face masks
The avocado oil benefits are numerous for your skin, making avocados a great alternative for a natural, at-home face mask.
This is because the nutrients found in avocados are linked to protection against sun damage.
Avocado cooking oil
Avocado oil can also be used to cook with, similar to olive oil, although it can reach a much higher temperature without smoke.
Avocado shampoo and conditioner
As there are many nutrients, such as Biotin, in avocados, they can also be used to support healthy hair in a range of shampoos and conditioners.
Is avocado suitable for everyone?
Avocados are suitable for most people, but there are some people who are recommended to avoid eating them, including:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women: Eating avocado has been linked to reduced production of milk and has even been associated with damage to the mammary gland. Babies’ stomachs are also very sensitive, and should not ingest avocado.
- People trying to lose weight: Although avocados are packed with vitamins and can add vitamins and healthy fats to your diet, they are also extremely high in calories, so eating too much avocado could have the opposite effect.
- People taking anti-inflammatory or blood-related medication: Eating avocado may counteract the effects of anti-inflammatory medication and has also been known to naturally thin a person’s blood.
- Avocados aren’t just for eating; they can also be used for face masks, cooking oil, and shampoo and conditioner.
- Avocados are suitable for most people to eat, but should be avoided by people who are pregnant or breastfeeding as they can affect milk production.
- They are also high in fat and should be a controlled portion of your diet if you’re trying to lose weight.
- People taking anti-inflammatory or blood-related medication are advised to avoid avocados as they may counteract the effects of the medication.
Ways to eat avocado
Here are just some of our favourite ways to prepare avocado:2
looking for a simple but delicious way to eat an avocado?
Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, paprika, balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice and enjoy!
For a delicious, healthy lunch, simply stuff your avocado with something (we love tuna mayo with a sprinkling of cayenne pepper).
In a salad
Salads are well-known for being light in calories, so slicing up an avo and adding it to your salad is a great way to feel fuller for longer.
In sushi rolls
Swap out the fish in your sushi rolls for avocado to make them veggie. They’ll give them a creamier texture.
Avocados upgrade any slice of toast to a full brunch, especially with a runny egg on top.
Grilled avocados can be a healthier BBQ alternative without losing out on flavour.
Simply cut in half, remove the seed, brush with olive oil and lemon juice, then grill for 2-3 minutes.
No nachos are complete without fresh guacamole.
It’s as simple as that.
In a smoothie
Adding a serving of avocado to your smoothie can be a quick way to add in healthy fats, fibre, nutrients, and easy calories.
Drop it in, blend it up, and drink away.
As a topping
If you love avocado enough, they can be added to almost any meal. Soups, sandwiches, curries… Really, anything you want.
Your guide to avocado benefits is complete.
Now you understand the true impact of the avocado, from the different types available and ways to enjoy them, to avocado nutrition, health benefits, and FAQs.
Time to make plans for a brunch packed with fibre, healthy fats, and vitamins?
See just what else this benefit-packed fruit can do for you…
Other avocado FAQs...
You can! As avocados are high in fat and low in carbs, you can enjoy them while sticking to the rules of keto.
Yes. No animal byproduct is needed for the growth of avocados.
Avocados are best stored in a cool, dark place while they ripen.
Once opened, if you do not finish the full avocado, it is best left in its skin, with the seed placed back into the middle, wrapped in cling film, and placed in the fridge.
You can eat avocado skins, and in fact, they are often full of fibre and potassium.
However, depending on the type of avocado, the skin can be very tough and difficult to eat.
Although you can eat an unripe avocado, we can’t recommend it, as they’re likely to be difficult to chew and won’t yet have the creamy, subtle texture and flavours of the avocado you know and love.
Like almost any food, avocados should be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.
They are naturally high in calories – especially for a fruit – so they should not be eaten in excess.
Yes! In fact, avocado is most often eaten raw as it’s delicious as soon as it’s ripe.
As part of a balanced diet, avocado could be eaten every day, but it is worth keeping in mind that they are relatively high in fat and calories compared to many other fruits and vegetables.
You can eat avocado seeds, although they require preparation, such as several hours in the oven. Avocado seeds are more often used to produce oils.
Last updated: 7 September 2021