Avocados are pear-shaped fruits that grow on tropical evergreen trees.
They generally have a rough, green outer skin, buttery flesh, and large seed in the middle.
Coming in many shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, their flavor is often described as mildly nutty and creamy.
Though you may only be familiar with a few types of avocado, hundreds of varieties are cultivated around the world — with 56 growing in Florida alone. Many are hybrids, meaning that they’re the result of two varieties being bred together to create a new one (1).
This article reviews 15 common types of avocado, including their benefits and differences.
Avocados are highly nutritious. They’re great sources of folate, potassium, and healthy fats, as well as vitamins K, C, and E. They also contain small amounts of B vitamins and minerals, such as copper, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc (2, 3).
The monounsaturated fats in avocados — most of which are oleic acid — are good for your heart, fight inflammation, and may have anticancer properties. Eating avocados can also help you better absorb other fat-soluble nutrients (1, 4, 5, 6).
Furthermore, avocados are full of fiber, an important nutrient lacking in most Western diets. Some studies have found that people who eat avocados tend to weigh less, perhaps due to the fruit’s high content of fiber and healthy fat, as well as its low glycemic index (3, 7, 8).
Avocados also contain antioxidants that are good for your eyes and brain, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s (9, 10, 11).
What’s more, research suggests that people who regularly eat avocados are healthier and have a lower risk of metabolic syndrome. However, this may be because many people who enjoy this fruit also appear to eat many other healthy foods (12).
Summary Avocados are very nutritious fruits that offer many vitamins, minerals, unsaturated fats, fiber, and antioxidants that may help prevent disease and improve your health.
While you may only see a few types of avocado at your local grocery store, hundreds of varieties grow around the world. Though many hybrids exist, all avocados can be traced to either Guatemalan, Mexican, or West Indian origin (1, 13, 14).
The fruits are categorized as either A-type or B-type cultivars. The difference lies in the opening times and pollination behaviors of the avocado tree flowers. The type of cultivar has little effect on consumers and matters more to those who grow avocados.
Avocados are partially self-pollinating through a process called dichogamy. A-type flowers bloom as females in the morning and shed pollen as males in the afternoon. Oppositely, B-type flowers receive pollen in the afternoon and shed it in the morning (15).
Many varieties share similar features, with slight differences in size, coloring, flavor, shape, and peak growing season.
In the United States, avocados from California (Hass variety) are smaller with a pebbly skin, while those from Florida are larger and have a smoother skin (16).
Here are 15 of the most common types of avocado.
Though there are many more, below are some of the better-known A-type-cultivar avocados:
Some of the B-type-cultivar avocados include:
Summary Hundreds of avocado varieties grow around the world, including many hybrids. Avocados are generally categorized as A-type or B-type cultivars, based on their pollination and flowering behaviors.
In regards to nutrition, avocados are generally very similar, regardless of the type. All avocados are calorically dense and high in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Avocados from Florida are sometimes advertised as “lite” due to their lower fat content compared with the popular Hass avocado, but the overall nutritional difference between the two is small.
Overall, avocados are very nutritious, and all types offer similar health benefits.
Summary Most avocados only differ slightly in their nutritional composition, as they’re all calorically dense and high in healthy fats and various vitamins and minerals.
Avocados are highly nutritious fruits that offer many benefits.
They’re rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants, unsaturated fats, and fiber, which may help lower your risk of various chronic diseases and improve your health.
Though only one or two varieties are best known, hundreds of types exist around the world, primarily differing in size, color, shape, texture, and flavor.
The most popular and widely available type of avocado is the Hass. However, if you come across another variety, it would likely have a similar nutritional composition.
In any case, avocados make a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet.
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