Health benefits of avocado
Avocados, like olives, are high in mono-unsaturated fats and calories. However, they are very rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and packed with numerous health benefiting plant nutrients.
Their creamy pulp is very rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic and palmitoleic acids as well as omega-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acid linoleic acid. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids help lower LDL or bad cholesterol and increase HDL or good cholesterol, thereby, prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
They are very good source of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. 100 g fruit provides 6.7 g or about 18% of recommended daily intake. Dietary fibers help lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent constipation.
In addition, the fruit, like persismmons, contain high concentration of tannin. Tannin, a poly-phenolic compound, which was once labeled as anti-nutritional agent is in-fact, has beneficial anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and anti-oxidant properties.
Its flesh contains many health promoting flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta and alpha carotenes in small amounts. Together, these compounds act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
They are also good in many health-benefiting vitamins. Vitamin A, E, and K are especially concentrated in its creamy pulp.
Avocados also excellent sources of minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, and manganese. Magnesium is essential for bone strengthening and has cardiac-protective role as well. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron and copper are required in the production of red blood cells.
Fresh avocado pear is a very rich source of potassium. 100 g of fruit provides 485 mg or about 10% of daily-required levels. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids where it helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure, countering bad effects of sodium.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||14.66 g||48%|
|Dietary Fiber||6.7 g||18%|
|Pantothenic acid||1.389 mg||28%|
|Vitamin A||146 IU||5%|
|Vitamin C||10 mg||17%|
|Vitamin E||2.07 mg||14%|
|Vitamin K||21 µg||17.5%|
Selection and storage
Avocados are readily available in the markets year around. Buy medium size, fully ripe fruit with pleasant aroma. The fruit that is ready to eat should yield to pressure when gently squeezed.
Avoid very hard fruits as they take very long time to ripen properly. Also, look carefully for any surface cuts, blemishes, and spots. Avoid excessively ripen ones as their pulp is rather mushy and has little, if any, flavor.
Once at home, store avocado in cool place. Unripe fruits usually placed in a paper wrap with a banana or apple in order to speed up ripening.
Raw unripe avocados concentrated with tannins. High tannin content makes them bitter and unappetizing. Very high levels of tannins in the food prevent minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorus and vitamins from absorption in the gut.
Although very rare, avocados may result in allergic symptoms in some latex-sensitive persons. The symptoms may include itching in the throat, hives, runny nose, breathlessness etc. Often the symptoms are mild and self-limiting.
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