Whenever you buy a slice of avocado toast instead of a beautiful, big home, you may not realize that there are actually different types of avocado. Some are large. Some are small. And some types of avocado are potentially even healthier than others. But what is the healthiest avocado? Get your Hass in gear as we analyze avocados.
Are Avocados Good for You, and Is Avocado Toast Healthy?
Yes, and yes. The main avocado benefits include high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good for your heart, a hearty dose of fiber and a wide variety of nutrients. “One-third of a medium avocado (50 grams) has 80 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, making it a nutrient-dense choice,” says a spokesperson for the California Avocado Commission.
This could help explain why a 2013 study of more than 17,000 people found that avocado consumers have a significantly higher nutrient intake and are half as likely to experience metabolic syndrome, a major risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. For a healthy avocado toast, just be sure to use a whole wheat or multigrain bread, as opposed to a nutrient-less white bread.
What Are the Different Types of Avocado?
There are hundreds of different types of avocado, but here are 10 of the more popular varieties:
- Hass Avocado: Buttery, available all year round and native to California, the California Avocado Commission spokesperson says, “Hass avocados account for almost 97 percent of all retail category sales in the U.S.”
- Florida Avocado: The Florida avocado, also known as the Dominican avocado or Choquette avocado, is commonly marketed as a “lite” alternative to the Hass, since it’s less rich and creamy.
- Lula Avocado: Another Florida native, the Lula avocado has fewer natural oils and contains more water than most other types of avocado.
- Maluma Avocado: The Maluma avocado was discovered in the 1990s in South Africa and is known for growing slowly.
- Monroe Avocado: Yet another Florida variety, the Monroe avocado can weigh over two pounds. What a hunk!
- Brogden Avocado: A hybrid of West Indian and Mexican varieties, the Brogden avocado is especially tough to peel, and therefore not a very popular choice.
- Cleopatra Avocado: New to the consumer market, the Cleopatra avocado is a dwarf avocado, smaller than most.
- Bacon Avocado: Contrary to its name, the Bacon avocado has a lighter taste than many other varieties.
- Reed Avocado: Available only in the summer months, the Reed avocado has a light, more subtle flavor, like the Bacon.
- Gwen Avocado: Similar to the Hass in taste and appearance, the Gwen avocado is a Guatemalan variety.
What Is the Healthiest Avocado?
The honest answer is: All of them. “The biggest differences are when they’re in season, size, shape, skin color and texture,” says nutrition expert Emilie Hebert, author of the Emilie Eats blog. “They’d all have similar nutrition — high in healthy, unsaturated fats.” Plus, if you live in America, you’re most likely only going to get your hands on California Hass and Florida varieties, anyway.
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If you really, really want to compare, California avocados, such as the Hass, contain slightly more fat and calories than Florida varieties. That’s what makes them creamier. But remember, the fat in avocados is the healthy kind, so less isn’t necessarily a good thing. If you’re counting calories, Florida varieties might be a better choice. Otherwise, the Hass avocado is likely your knight in light green armor.