Avocado is the fruit of horticultural cultivars and has a markedly higher fat content than most other fruit, mostly monounsaturated fat, and as such serves as an important staple in the diet of consumers who have limited access to other fatty foods (high-fat meats and fish, dairy products). Having a high smoke point, avocado oil is expensive compared to common salad and cooking oils, and mostly used for salads or dips.
A ripe avocado yields to gentle pressure when held in the palm of the hand and squeezed. The flesh is prone to enzymatic browning, quickly turning brown after exposure to air.To prevent this, lime or lemon juice can be added to avocados after peeling.
The fruit is not sweet, but distinctly and subtly flavored, with smooth texture. It is used in both savory and sweet dishes, though in many countries not for both. The avocado is popular in vegetarian cuisine as a substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content.
Here are health benefits of avocado, that are supported by scientific research.
Avocado is Incredibly Nutritious
What we refer to as “avocado” is the fruit of the avocado tree, called Persea americana.This fruit is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to all sorts of dishes due to its good flavor and rich texture. It is the main ingredient in guacamole.
There are many kinds of avocados, and the shape (from pear-shaped to round) and color (from green to black) can vary between them. They can also weigh anywhere from 8 ounces (220 grams) to 3 pounds (1.4 kg).
Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving:
~ Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.~ Folate: 20% of the RDA.~ Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.~ Potassium: 14% of the RDA.~ Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.~ Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.~ Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.
Then it contains small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).
Avocado is Loaded With Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
Again, avocado is a high fat food.
In fact, 77% of the calories in it are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence.But they don’t just contain any fat… the majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid.This is a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component in olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its beneficial effects.Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.The fats in avocado are also pretty resistant to heat-induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe choice for cooking.
Avocados Are Loaded With Fiber
Fiber is another nutrient found in relatively large amounts in avocado.Fiber is indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many diseases. A distinction is often made between soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is known to be able to feed the friendly gut bacteria in the intestine, which are very important for the optimal function of our bodies.
A 100 gram (3.5 ounce) serving of avocado contains 7 grams of fiber, which is 27% of the recommended daily amount.
Eating Avocados Can Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world. It is known that several blood markers are linked to an increased risk. This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure and various others.
The effects of avocado on some of these risk factors has been studied in 8 human controlled trials. These are studies where people are split into groups… one group is instructed to eat avocados, while the other is not. Then researchers see what happens to their blood markers over time. These studies have shown that avocados can:
~ Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly.~ Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%.~ Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%.~ Increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by up to 11%
Avocados Are Loaded With Powerful Antioxidants That Can Protect The Eyes
Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves. This includes nutrients called Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health.
Studies show that these nutrients are linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in the elderly.