August 31, 2013


When we think of avocados, we often jump first to that tasty Mexican dish called guacamole, a combination of avocado, onion, lime, jalapeño, and salt. Oh yeah, my taste buds are excited. But the avocado is so much more than just the key to guacamole. In fact, the avocado is one healthy superfood. It provides a myriad of nutrients and benefits.

Recently, the Huffington Post wrote about six of the health facts of avocados. In fact, several of these may be things that people did not know about the avocado. So, in an effort to inspire people to eat more avocados, let’s take a look at these six avocado facts.

The Avocado is a Fruit!

That’s right; it is a fruit not a veggie, as many assume because of its color. If you think way back to about grade four or so, a fruit has an outer layer often called the skin or rind, the middle layer of flesh, and a seed or seeds. The latter of this is what we are taught to look for in trying to determine whether a food is a fruit or vegetable.

Moreover, there are two classifications of fleshy fruit: berry and drupe. The avocado is a berry. As the University of California Agriculture & Natural Resource website says, “Drupes are characterized by having a fleshy mesocarp but a tough-leathery or bony endocarp. They are said to have “stones” or “pits” rather than seeds (example: peaches). Also, a drupe usually has only a single seed. Berries, to the contrary, are characterized by having a fleshy endocarp, as well as mesocarp, and may have more than one seed.” A mesocarp is the middle layer and the endocarp is the inner layer surrounding the seed or pit.

The Avocado is Way Loaded with Potassium

Yes, the banana is the go-to fruit for potassium, but the avocado really has almost twice as much potassium as the banana. In fact, the Huffington Post explains that a single avocado has 975 milligrams of the nutrient. The banana only has 487 milligrams. The next time you are looking for more potassium, check out the avocado for sure.

They Like to Have an Apple or Banana Around to Ripen

It is hard to find a good, ripe avocado at the store. But have no fear. If you just put the unripe avocado in a paper bag with either a banana or apple, the avocado will ripen faster. This is because apples and bananas release a naturally-occurring plant hormone called ethylene gas, which helps the avocado ripen sooner.

They Are Also Way Loaded with Protein

In fact, they are one of the few high-protein fruits out there. With four grams of protein, this is a fruit for any vegetarian. But it is also good for the carnivores as the protein in an avocado is good-quality protein. First of all, all of the protein in this fruit is available for use. The same cannot be said of meat. And it has all 18 of the important amino acids. It does not have all amino acids, but the 18 important ones come packed in this fruit.

The Avocado Swaps Well in Baking

“In the right ratios, you can ditch some butter and replace with avocado for healthier chocolate chip cookies, banana bread and brownies, thanks to these tasty avocado recipes compiled by our friends at POPSUGAR Fitness.” I have not ever tried this, but I definitely will soon. I mean, potassium and protein…it’s a no-brainer.

On top of this, it is delicious. Its creamy texture spreads well on toast, pairs nicely with tomatoes on sandwiches, and adds much to dips and dressings. Plus, it is full of the good fatty acids for heart health. The avocado is one super food!

Image Credit: sai0112 / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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