Florida avocado

Haas or Fuerte Avocado

REALLY dark Haas

REALLY dark Haas

This is the first of a series of post that I will be doing which are more about micro-nutrients than continuing to push the macro-nutrient wars (HFLC vs LFHC).

There doesn’t seem to be much warring going on in the area of micro-nutrients, and I think it’s vital that all of us who care about our health to understand the importance of nutrition, as opposed to just where do the calories come from. Anyway, much more of that in the future, but for now I am hunting down foods that are nutrient dense and which fit right in with eating well (whether you’re eating paleo or trying to stick to the “official” food pyramid).

And my food of choice today is the avocado, which is healthy in more ways than several!  In particular, you should be eating avocado with your salads and veggies! Why?  Because a lot vitamins and antioxidants in your veg are fat-soluble.  That means, if there’s no fat in your diet those vital nutrients go in your mouth and straight out the other end, without touching the sides!  But if you have some slices of avocado in the same meal, you not only get all the incredible nutrients in the avocado, but the heart-healthy fats in the avocado (similar to those in olive oil) will carry the nutrients from the salad or veggies into your system, where they can be used.

Florida Avocado

But there are two main types of avocado (well, actually there are loads … for a complete rundown check out this post from Food Republic: “Know Your Avocado Varieties And When They’re In Season“).  The two main types that people know about are the larger, smooth-skinned “Florida” (picture courtesy of The Witchy Kitchen) and the smaller, dark and bumpy-skinned Haas or “California” avocado (what we buy looks more like the picture up right).

But which is better?

Well, each has their fans, Floridians saying that the California is oily, Californians saying that the Florida is watery.  As I live part of every year in Florida I set out hopefully to show that the Florida avocado is more nutritious, but I’m afraid I bombed on my mission.  Using the USDA Nutritional database, the Haas scores higher on just about every nutrient:

 Units

Florida

California

Difference

Water

g

78.81

72.33

-8.22%

Energy

kcal

120

167

39.17%

Protein

g

2.23

1.96

-12.11%

Total lipid (fat)

g

10.06

15.41

53.18%

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

7.82

8.64

10.49%

Fiber, total dietary

g

5.6

6.8

21.43%

Sugars, total

g

2.42

0.3

-87.60%

Calcium, Ca

mg

10

13

30.00%

Iron, Fe

mg

0.17

0.61

258.82%

Magnesium, Mg

mg

24

29

20.83%

Phosphorus, P

mg

40

54

35.00%

Potassium, K

mg

351

507

44.44%

Sodium, Na

mg

2

8

300.00%

Zinc, Zn

mg

0.4

0.68

70.00%

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

17.4

8.8

-49.43%

Thiamin

mg

0.021

0.075

257.14%

Riboflavin

mg

0.053

0.143

169.81%

Niacin

mg

0.672

1.912

184.52%

Vitamin B-6

mg

0.078

0.287

267.95%

Folate, DFE

µg

35

89

154.29%

Vitamin A, RAE

µg

7

7

0.00%

Vitamin A, IU

IU

140

147

5.00%

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

mg

2.66

1.97

-25.94%

Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

21

100.00%

Fatty acids, total saturated

g

1.96

2.126

8.47%

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

5.513

9.799

77.74%

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

1.676

1.816

8.35%

You can see from the numbers that  those who describe Florida avocados as watery are right (their water content is higher) and those who describe Haas as “oily” are also right: their fat content is 50% higher!

So, if all you care about is low fat and low calorie, you will choose the Florida avocado (but, be aware these figures are “per 100 grams”.  A Florida avocado is much bigger than a Haas, so you will probably end up with more calories anyway).  And notice that the Florida might be lower in calories, but it is much higher in sugars, so if carbs are your concern, rather than calories, you will choose the Haas every time.

And if you want those good, heart-healthy fats to help carry all the vitamins and minerals to where they can be used, Haas scores again, as well as the significantly higher amounts of vitamins and minerals.  So, sorry Florida!  I wish I could be promoting my home state.  Maybe some Florida farmers can start producing Haas; here’s someone whose granny has grown a Haas tree in Florida.

Personally, I turn most of my avocados into guacamole, add some of my special high-fat home-made mayo, and often add some other nutrient dense favourites.  My current batch of guac is a slightly strange colour because I added turmeric!  Tastes OK though, and turmeric is a master spice.  More on that later.

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