We know a lot about avocados. We know they’re tasty, we know they’re good for us, but do we know why they’re green? If the children (or adults) in your life ever come to you with this question, now, you’ll be able to answer it. Let’s answer, “why are avocados green?”
Avocados get their coloration the same way green vegetables like spinach and kale do: from their natural carotenoid pigments. Avocados contain five carotenoids:
- Beta carotene: the well-known orange pigment also found in carrots
- Beta cryptoxanthin: another orange pigment
- Lutein: a yellow pigment
- Zeaxanthin: another yellow pigment
- Chlorophyll: the well-known green pigment found in most plants
These pigments make avocados green and give other fruits their colors too, but they have another use; our body converts these carotenoids into vitamin A. These nutrients are essential to our vision, reproduction, and immune function. We find lutein and zeaxanthin in the center of our retinas, so consuming foods with these substances in them protect the eyes from damage and the effects of aging.
Why Are Avocados Green: The Best Part
The best part about avocados isn’t just that they have healthy carotenoids essential to our health; they also help us absorb more of these vital nutrients from other foods. For example, if you eat half an avocado with a serving of carrots, your body can absorb six times more beta carotene than if you ate carrots without the avocado. Furthermore, the avocado allows your body to convert beta carotene into vitamin A more efficiently.
So, if you’re getting ready to chow down on a carrot salad, put some slices of avocado on top the increase the health benefits you get from your tasty meal. If you’re making delicious salsa, make sure you serve avocados on the side.
Why Are Avocados Green: Ever Better
To make eating avocados even more of a no-brainer, they’re involved with the transport of all that vitamin A to our eyes and other parts of our bodies. How? Vitamin A is carried throughout our bodies by “good” cholesterol, also known as HDL cholesterol. Eating our favorite superfruit increases HDL cholesterol in our bodies while lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol. With more HDL cholesterol, our bodies are better able to transport all that vitamin A where it needs to go.
Why are avocados green? They are green because of the carotenoid pigments contained within them. These carotenoids are just one of the reasons these fruits are so delicious and healthy for us to consume in moderation.