After realizing the amazing benefits of avocado it has become the most favorite fruit of all Americans in recent years with its consumption increasing by a phenomenal 400 percent in the last 2 decades!
Find out why people are crazy about this fruit and learn the answers to questions like is avocado fruit or vegetable and are avocados healthy for you in the given below sections.
What is Avocado?
USDA’s ChooseMyPlate site has categorized Avocado as a vegetable due to its culinary uses, but according to botanists’ avocado is a fruit.
So, what kind of fruit is an avocado?
Avocado is a single seed fruit containing a soft, flesh inside and a green skin on the outside. It comes in various varieties and is available in all the seasons.
Unlike most fruits, Avocado is not particularly sweet. It has a buttery texture and a nutty flavor. This is the reason why it is used in salads, sandwiches and is sometimes confused to be a vegetable.
Another important fact about avocado is that it is not an original American fruit. Yes, despite being a favorite of Americans it did not originate in the USA.
So, where did avocados originate from actually?
Avocado is originally from Mexico. It grows well in tropical and subtropical climate and apart from Mexico it is cultivated in Peru, Colombia, Indonesia and Dominican Republic.
Because of its high nutrition content people consider it as a super fruit.
What Nutrients Do Avocados Have?
Avocado is packed with vitamins, minerals and some really good fats that your body needs. Here is the list of the nutrients as given by the USDA database.
As you can find out from the table above there is a good amount of calories and fat in avocado. Especially, if you compare it with other fruits, like apple or strawberries.
Avocado has three times more calories than an apple. The amount of fat in avocado is 50 times more than found in an equal amount of strawberries!!
But, the important thing to know here is what kind of fat is avocado?
Avocado is mostly monounsaturated fat which is a heart healthy fat and most of the health benefits of avocado are seen because of this fat.
So, avocado is full of some healthy fats, but what about vitamins and minerals? What vitamins do avocados have?
Avocado is a good source of the following vitamins:
- Vitamin B5 and B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Avocado also contains some important minerals like potassium (more than a banana), calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. This is the reason why ripe mashed avocado is also the preferred first food for babies.
Most of the nutrients in avocado are near the skin. Hence, use the “nick and peel” method while cutting the avocado. This will help you give most of the avocado flesh.
Filled with so many nutrients find out what does avocado do to your body.
Health Benefits of Avocado
So, how are avocados good for you? Avocado benefits you and your body in the following ways:
Avocado Keeps the Heart Healthy
One of the most important benefits of avocado is that it helps to keep your heart healthy.
Avocado contains good fatty acids like oleic acid. This acid is also found in olive oil and is considered good for the heart.
Avocado also contains beta-sitosterol that helps reduce cholesterol absorption. This in turn reduces cholesterol buildup in the arteries thereby helping to keep the heart healthy.
Avocados are Good for the Brain
One of the amazing benefits of avocado is that it is a memory booster fruit.
Studies on humans and animals have shown that consuming avocados has a positive impact on memory and attention.
The OEA (oleoylethanolamide) found in avocado increases memory consolidation. Eating avocadoes regularly also helps to increase the lutein levels in the body. Lutein is an antioxidant that helps to increase problem solving abilities in humans.
Avocado Promotes Good Vision
Some important benefits of avocado for old age people is that it helps promote good vision and prevents certain eye ailments.
Avocado contains zeaxanthin and lutein, which are carotenoids. These carotenoids help to fight age related eye diseases like cataract. They get stored in the macula thereby protecting the eye from bright and damaging light of mobiles and computer screens.
Avocados Help in Digestion
Avocado contains a lot of fiber (nearly 28% of the daily requirement) which is important for good digestion. The fiber in avocado is both soluble and insoluble. Both types of fibers are necessary for keeping the body’s metabolism at the optimum level.
Avocado Relieves Joints Pain
Avocado has anti-inflammatory properties that help to combat muscle and joints pain. In fact, a recent study has shown that a combination of avocado and soybean supplement can help reduce knee and hip osteoarthritis. It helps to reduce stiffness and increase mobility.
These are some of the amazing benefits of avocado for people who suffer from bone related problems.
Avocado are Good for Hair and Skin
One of the wonderful benefits of avocado is that it can help to make your skin look younger.
The many vitamins and minerals found in avocado help in the growth and nourishment of the skin and hair. You can either use avocado oil on your skin and hair or prepare avocado masks and use them.
Eating Avocados May Prevent Cancer
Though more research is needed on this health benefit, studies done till date have shown that certain compounds present in avocado can help to prevent cancer.
The compound avocation B found in avocado helps to kill cancer causing cells in the body. Studies have also shown that eating avocado can help to minimize the side effects of chemotherapy too.
Avocado Helps to Lose Weight
Despite the high fat content in avocados, eating them can actually help you lose weight.
People who ate avocados with their meals feel fuller for a longer time. This helps them avoid snacking in between meals thereby preventing unnecessary weight gain.
Avocado Helps Elevate the Mood
Avocadoes are not only good for the body but they are also extremely beneficial for the mind. The mood enhancing chemicals (folate) found in avocado help to fight depression.
Research has shown that folate breaks down homocysteine, a substance that prevents proper circulation of nutrients to the brain. People who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and depression have high levels of this substance in their blood.
Avocado is Good for Oral Health
As avocados aid in digestion, they prevent bad breath which is caused due to upset stomach. The anti-oxidants found in avocado also help to kill germs in the mouth that can cause bad breath.
So, is eating avocado good for you? Yes, definitely!
Overall, there are numerous benefits of eating avocado daily. People who eat avocado regularly are found to be healthier and in better shape than others.
So, how to incorporate avocado in your daily diet? Here are some ways in which you can eat avocado with your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Ways to Use Avocado
Always use ripe avocado for any food preparation. In order to know if the picked avocado has ripened or not, simply squeeze the fruit gently with your fingers. If it feels soft then it is ready for eating.
To quicken the ripening process you can keep the avocado with apple or banana in a brown bag.
Ripe avocados should always be stored in refrigerator whereas unripe ones can be kept at room temperature.
Now, here are some ways to eat avocado for breakfast:
Put avocado slices in your regular sandwich. This will make your sandwich more nutritious and help make you feel full for a long time.
You can also eat avocado raw for your breakfast. One of the delicious ways to eat avocado raw is to sprinkle some salt and pepper on top of the slices. Since avocado is not exactly sweet, addition of spices helps enhance its somewhat bland taste.
When exposed to air avocado can turn brown in color. Sprinkle some lemon juice on it to prevent this from happening.
Another way to eat avocado for breakfast is to mash the fruit and use it instead of butter or mayonnaise for the sandwich.
You can also include avocado in your lunch or dinner by adding it to smoothies, salads, soups or even coleslaw. Use it to make muffins or even ice creams!
Prolonged heating of avocado can result in bitter taste. Always add avocado at the last moment when cooking with other foods.
One can also reap the benefits of avocado by using it as a face mask.
You can make a face mask by mashing avocado and mixing it with honey. Apply it to your face and rinse after sometime. It will help to moisturize your skin and make it feel soft.
Bottom Line: Amazing Benefits of Avocado
Given above were only some of the various benefits of avocado. Eating avocado regularly can help keep you healthy and in shape. It can even help boost your memory power.
But like any food, moderation is the key. Eating avocado in excess can have reverse effects on the body. It can even cause headaches, nausea and vomiting.
So eat just half to one avocado per day and you should be fine.