What is the fruit that is considered to be meat-like because of its texture, taste, and nutrient value? Avocado. This pear-shaped superfood that probably originated in Mexico way back has become popular not only to fruit lovers, but also to health conscious people as well. Avocado, also called as avocado pear or alligator pear, is a fruit that is botanically classified as berry. Yes, just like banana, it is a big berry that contains a single large seed that is defined as ‘stone’ or ‘pit’. The fruit goes by many names in different countries; it is called ‘alligator pear’ in China, ‘butter fruit’ in some parts of India, and it is even called ‘cheese pear’ in Taiwan.
Trivia: Avocado’s etymology can be rooted from the Nahuatl word ‘āhuacatl [aːˈwakat͡ɬ]’; the latter can be traced back to an ancient proto-Aztecan word that also meant ‘testicle’. This is probably because there is a resemblance between the fruit’s shape and the body part.
Not many people know this, but an Avocado goes through a special way before it ripens. Unlike other fruits that mature and ripen while attached to the tree, the avocado matures in the tree—but ripens off the tree. It goes through the same process as the banana; they both needed to be picked sturdy and green, kept in a proper storage with the right room temperature, kept from bugs and pests before they fully ripen. The ripening duration usually depends on how the avocado is treated, the room temperature, and the weather or season. But on average, an avocado ripens within a week or two once picked.
The more, the merrier: An avocado ripens faster when mixed with other fruits like bananas or apples; this is because of the effects of ethylene gas—an important element to help a fruit ripen.
But what really makes an Avocado so prized that many health-conscious people go gaga over this fruit. Yes, it is a superfood—but knowing just this doesn’t give any specific reason why it’s being labelled as such, right? It is not a superfood for nothing. This article will help in enlightening you by giving you the top 5 health benefits of Avocado.
What’s In It?
If there’s one nutrient you can associate with Avocado, it’s fat—and not the bad kind. This fruit is so high in fat that it can be equated to meat even though it’s a fruit. It has a diverse range of fat, mainly the monounsaturated fat like oleic acid (which is 67% of 75% of avocado’s energy). Other kinds of fats can also be found like the palmitoleic acid, palmitic acid and linoleic acid. For a typical avocado fruit, you get all these kinds of fats, which the body needs to keep you fuelled up for the day.
Not only that, an avocado also boasts of a wide range of nutrients like a good amount of B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Potassium, and Vitamin E (for every 100g of servings). This fruit also has lutein (good for the eye) and zeaxanthin, which are considered as phytosterols and carotenoids. Even better, you also get a long list of an avocado’s nutritional value. For every 100 grams of raw avocado (or 3.5oz) daily, you get the following: Energy (160kcal), dietary fiber (6.7g), Carbohydrates (8.53g), and Protein (2g). This fruit is also packed with vitamins such as the following: Vitamin A, Beta-Carotene, Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) (28%), Thiamine (Vitamin B1) (6%), Vitamin B6 (20%), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) (11%), Folate (Vitamin B9) (20%), Niacin (Vitamin B3) (12%), Vitamin C (12%), Vitamin K (20%), and Vitamin E (14%).
Avocado is also rich not only vitamin, but in minerals as well. Here are a few of the minerals that you will find in the fruit: Manganese (7%), Calcium, (1%), Magnesium (8%), Iron (4%), Zinc (7%), Phosphorus (7%), Sodium (7mg), and Potassium (10%). This fruit also contains other constituents like Beta-sitosterol (76mg), Flouride, and water (72.23g).
Do you know why avocado is considered a fruit-meat? It’s because of all the fruits there is, this is one of those that don’t taste as sweet as other fruits. Avocado has a plain but creamy taste. Its texture is thick, melts in the mouth when consumed ripe and is subtly flavoured compared with other fruits. Because of its simple yet distinct taste, the avocado has a wide range of culinary uses.
In Mexico, it is used as a main ingredient for a dip called ‘guacamole’. The fruit is also a popular concoction for salads, sandwiches, and main courses. As a matter of fact, because of its high fat content, avocado is considered a healthier substitute for meats. In Asian countries like Philippines, avocado is loved as a dessert, mainly for fruit shakes. With a little milk, water, sugar (or honey), and ice, the avocado is a perfect thirst-quencher-slash-dessert during summer.
Top 5 Health Benefits
Now, here’s the big deal: You already know what you’re getting from this ‘su-pear-fruit’, but you probably still has a vague idea, what good it does to your body. So, here are the top 5 health benefits of avocado that you will surely love:
#1: It’s Good for Your Digestive Health and Metabolism
Every fruit is fiber-rich, but Avocado is one of those that are packed with insoluble and soluble fibres which are proved to be beneficial for your digestive system and your metabolism. These fibers help your digestive system to function normally, making sure that the foods that pass through your stomach to the intestinal tract are being digested properly. The soluble fibers serve as ‘food’ to your good gut bacteria living in your stomach. These bacteria have an essential role in boosting your immune system.
Even better, avocado help in stimulating gastric and digestive juices in your body, so that the other nutrients from the food you eat are being absorbed efficiently. Regular bowel movement is crucial when you are aiming for a healthy digestive health. The daily excretion of all the toxins in your body through bile and stool play a huge role in keeping your tummy healthy; it’s also been proven just recently that metabolism has a role in keeping your immune system at optimum performance. When you have a good metabolism, you don’t gain weight easily; that is why avocado is a perfect addition to your weight-loss diet.
What’s good about this fruit is it prevents digestive illnesses and diseases like constipation, diarrhea, and even colon cancer. Because of its fiber-rich properties, avocado helps in cleansing the digestive tract.
#2: It’s Good for Your Heart and Blood Pressure
Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death worldwide. There are a lot of ways to prevent a heart disease from getting worse; one practical way is healthy living by eating the right kind of food. This is where eating avocado regularly comes in useful. Because avocado is rich in Potassium, an essential nutrient that helps in keeping your heart function properly, you can be sure that this superfood is good for your cardiovascular system. As a matter of fact, this berry has more potassium than banana, with a whopping 14% for every 3.5 ounce (or 100grams).
Not only that, avocado also has properties that lower a person’s total cholesterol levels and blood triglycerides (20%) significantly. It can also lower a person’s LDL cholesterol by up to a significant percentage of 22%. Keep in mind that LDL cholesterol is also labelled as ‘bad cholesterol’, which should be kept at regulated levels to avoid the increase of risk of heart diseases. Now, if there is a ‘bad cholesterol’, there’s also the ‘good cholesterol’, which is called the HDL. Significantly, a daily intake of avocado can improve your HDL cholesterol levels by up to 11%.
Even better, avocados help in lowering blood pressure, which is a good thing when avoiding the risks of other blood-related conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, and aneurysm.
#3: It is Rich in Anti-Oxidants
Not only is avocado is good in lowering your bad cholesterol levels, but it is also proved to be a powerful anti-oxidant. Although there has not been a strong evidence that this fruit helps in eliminating the ‘Big C’, but studies prove that avocado may help in minimizing the dangerous side effects of chemotherapy. Aside from Vitamins A, E, and D, anti-oxidants like carotenoids can also be found in avocados. What’s amazing about this fruit is that studies show that if you add avocado or avocado oil in your daily dietary needs like salads or salsa, it will improve your body’s anti-oxidant absorption.
Not only that, avocado also has properties that help in protecting your eye health. Carotenioids, zeaxanthin, and lutein are some of the incredible anti-oxidants that help in improving your eye performance. This superfruit is also believed to be reducing the risk of having eye conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts. That is why it’s very important for older folks to include avocado in their regular diet. Even better, avocados are said to prevent the growth of prostate cancer, which is beneficial for older men.
Another kind of anti-oxidant found in avocados is the flavonoids. Along with other anti-bacterial properties found in the fruit, the flavonoids improve digestive and oral health. Therefore, avocados help in eliminating halitosis that is caused by poor digestive health. It also kills oral bacteria that might result to bad breath.
#4: It’s Good for Your Skin and Hair
If avocado is good for the internal body, then it is all the more good for your externals. The fruit is so a packed with nutrients that it is also beneficial for your skin and hair. A daily dose of avocado improves skin moisture and enriches the dreaded dry or chapped skin. It also helps in giving your hair a shiny glow, strengthens dry and frizzy hair, and adds enough Vitamin E. What’s amazing about this fruit is its oil is being used to alleviate the symptoms of Psoriasis, a skin disease that has no cure. The beta-carotene and lycopene found in the fruit are two great components that are found abundant, therefore, making it effective for treating skin and hair conditions.
Avocados are also tried and tested to reduce the effects of pre-mature aging like wrinkles. Because it has hydrating properties that are good for the skin, a daily consumption of this fruit will keep that youthful glow of yours!
Did You Know: Avocado is a popular ingredient in many cosmetic products like facial oils, facial cleansers, lotion, face masks, moisturizers, hair masks, shampoo, conditioner, hair leave-on, hot oil, and more. This superfruit has been proven very effective in producing good results in the cosmetics industry, that’s why it gained strong credibility in the market.
#5: It’s Good for Your Liver
One of the human internal organs that need proper care is the liver. Too much liquor consumption, eating street foods, and consuming unhealthy junk foods are just few of the causes of liver damage. Studies show that the su-pear-fruit may play an essential role in beefing up your liver health. Because of its nutrients, your internal organs, especially the liver, are protected against liver diseases like Hepatitis C.
Now that you already know the real score through the top 5 health benefits of avocado, it really doesn’t hurt to add this to your diet, right? Besides, you won’t even have a hard time liking this fruit because it tastes so good, you can use it to any dish you like; you can put it in salads, your favourite home-made sandwich, soups, desserts, or even eat it on its own! Even better, an avocado doesn’t cost much; with about two dollars apiece, you know you’re getting the best out of this fruit. It’s healthy, it’s deli, and it’s affordable! What are you waiting for? Go to the nearest market and buy yourself a basketful of avocados for a healthy living!
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