HEALTH BENEFITS OF AVOCADOS
You have eaten a lot of it but perhaps don’t know what benefits it gives to your body. You’ve listened to a number of food experts and dieticians reeling out big nutritional clichés about it. But because you’re not familiar with the niche, you probably don’t get what is being talked about.
What about many of the popular television shows you have followed in the past, especially during the flu season? Or the amount of time you have spent in an elaborate education program about this fruit?
Summer is here upon us, that time of the year when we showcase all we care about avocado. It is moment to unravel those myths and bring you detailed information you need to know about Avocado, arguably, the most beneficial and richest plants for nutritional, medicinal and health value.
In this fair, we’ve focused on avocado, a lively fruit in daily meals. You’ve got to live healthier, focus better, and have reason to be more active. There are a lot of programs out their young minds can participate in and be encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables and practice a healthy, active lifestyle.
Exploring the world of Avocado?
Naively, many people classify avocados as green vegetables because it is commonly used in salads and because it has a savory vs. sweet flavor; they are indeed fruits as they contain a tough outer layer, a fleshy middle, and a casing around a seed. Avocados are a global fruit and consumed in different various ways across the world. Avocado is the commonest tropical fruits. It contains fat soluble vitamins that many other fruits do not contain. It is an energetic fruit with high nutritional value. Avocados are fruits harvested from the avocado tree, scientifically known as Persea americana.
Avocado is a fruit incredibly high in protein, rich in potassium and unsaturated fatty acids. It also contains Vitamins A and B, plus average levels of vitamins D and E. Avocado pulp contains uneven oil content, and has been a raw material in many pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry. It is used in the commercial production of oils, similar to olive oils (Bleinroth & Castro, 1992).
Variety of Avocado at a Glance
|Variety||Important Basic Facts|
|Hass||Pear to void. Small to medium sized|
5–12 oz. Tough and leathery skin. Dark purple or nearly black when ripe. This variety was grown and developed by avocado grower Rudolph Hass in 1932, going to become the dominant variety in California and across the entire world. It has rock-strewn skin and velvety fleshy tissue. Growers prefer to plant it for its disease-resistance and year-round growing cycle. Has a good flavor with 18–22 percent oil. Accounts for 75 percent of the production in California.
|Fuerte||Pear. Small to medium|
8–12 oz. Slightly rough to rough skin. Plenty of small yellow dots on the skin, with the flesh green near the skin. Green fruit, medium skin. Large and widespread tree. The pear-shaped fruit. Tastes great but does not grow well in the coastal areas. The skin remains intact in colour even when ripe. Skin doesn’t shine but is easy to peel. Its ripening season is between December and May. Available around July to October.
|Bacon||Pear to oval. Medium|
6–12 oz. Smooth and shiny. Light/thin green skin. More available in areas with low winter temperatures, between latter part of fall and spring. The skin is easy to peel. Remains more or less intact in colour. medium in height and the fruit has a light taste.
|Sharwil||Similar to Fuerte but a little more oval. Medium|
8–20 oz. Rough but fairly thin skin. Green to dark green when ripened
|Wurtz/Wertz||Small to medium|
6–12 oz. Pear. Thin and shiny skin with small seeds. Dark green when ripe. Medium thick-skinned fruit. Tastes good and the tree is great for backyards. Ripes from May to September.
|Reed||Oval/Round. Thick Skin. Available in the months of summer and fall. Medium seed, thick green skin and a creamy flesh.|
|Pinkerton||Roundish to pear. Medium|
8–14 oz. Somewhat leathery and pliable skin. Hefty variety with a stretched figure and small seed. Spreading tree. Produces heavy fruits. Ripens from November to April. Its pale green flesh is covered with a medium thick, slightly pebbly skin which becomes deeper in colour with ripening.
|Gwen||Rounded in shape with a small seed and gold-green flesh. Slightly bigger in size than Hass, this plump fruit has a golden green flesh. The skin is pebbly but comes off easily.|
|Zutano||Not rich in flavor or creamy in flesh. Its flesh is not as creamy. It has low oil. High in water content. Pear. Thin, glossy skin, sparkly yellow-green membrane. Pale green flesh with a fibrous texture. Available in the months of September. Its yellowish green, thin skin is a marker. The upright tree produces medium to large fruits. It ripens between November and January.|
|Lamb Hass||A cross between Gwen and Hass. High yielding. Stays upright and produces good quality of fruit. It ripens between April and November and has a nutty taste. Pear, with a flat top or flat shoulder. Large, 10–18 oz. Finely pebbled and slightly less rough and thicker than Hass skin. Unripe fruit is green, while the ripe one becomes black|
|Ettinger||Bears resemblance to Fuerte and is found largely in Israel. Thin, smooth green skin and light green flesh.|
|Mexicola||The shiny black skin is paper thin. The fruit is top notch and ripens between August and October. Its lightly fibrous flesh is rich in taste.|
|Sir Prize||A variant of the Hass, this ripens earlier, in winter. Upright tree. Resistant to frost. Produces a fruit which does not oxidize when kept cut.|
|Jim Bacon||Similar to Bacon, these trees are just more resistant to frost. The flesh is creamy and the skin is green.|
|Holiday||Brilliant tasting variety. Grows on a smaller tree and has a pear like shape. Derives name from the fact that it grows between Labour Day and New Year’s.|
|Stewart||Similar to Mexicola in nature, this one’s thin skin becomes black on ripening. Its ripening period is between August and October.|
*There are other varieties which include Carmen, Anaheim, Hall, Macarthur, etc.
Nutrients in Avocado in Daily Value (DV)
Avocados are nutrient rich. Studies from USDA National Nutrient Database show that, one serving of avocado, which is 1/5 or 40 grams of an avocado, contains: 64 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3.4 grams of carbohydrate, less than a gram of sugar, and almost 3 grams of fiber. Another study also indicates the level of rich nutrients that avocado contains in one serving 3.5-ounce, (about 100 gram), serving. The nutrients include:
- Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value
- Folate: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
- Potassium: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
- Vitamins B6: 13% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
- Small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).
Health benefits of Avocado
Avocados are a stony fruit with a creamy texture that grow in warm climates. Their potential health benefits include improving digestion, decreasing risk of depression, and protection against cancer.
- Great for metabolic health
Avocados are highly rich in fibre which is good for weight loss and metabolic health. Plus, fibre is also great in making you satisfied and full between meals and also aids digestion. They help move the digestive tract and lower cholesterol level.
- Supports Muscles process
Avocado is also very high in potassium, a great electrolyte essential for heart, muscles and body processes.
- Help body absorb vitamins
They help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Eating a lot of avocado with salad or different vegetables and helps the body gain a lot of vitamins.
- Fights disease
Avocado contains Vitamin E which is also good for immune function.
- Supports the brain function
Thanks to their healthy fats, avocados give support to the brain and ensure healthy memory.
- Rich in nutrient
Avocado is highly prized for its high nutrient value, and so is added to various dishes due to its rich flavour and fine texture. It is the main ingredient in guacamole.
- Keeps blood pressure levels
Avocados contain a lot of potassium. And studies have shown that high potassium intake causes great reduction in blood pressure, a major risk factor for kidney failure, diabetes, cardiac arrest, and strokes.
- Loaded with monounsaturated fats
Avocados and avocado oil are filled with monounsaturated oleic acid, a fatty acid good for healthy heart and is known to be one of the main reasons for the health benefits of olive oil.
Quick Fact Check About Avocado
- In 2011 world avocado production reached a peak of 4.4 million tons, increasing from 3.5 million (20%) figure in 2007 (FAO, 2013).
- In 2016, more than 140 million pounds of avocados were consumed in America on Super Bowl Sunday alone.
- Chile, with 8.5% global avocado production capacity, is ranked second largest producer of avocado after Mexico which accounts for 25% of world avocado production (FAO, 2013).
- Avocado is the only fruit that contains all the food classes (carbohydrates, protein and fat) as well as huge a wide scale of vitamins and minerals.
- Avocado’s ash or caloric value stands at very high 29.4%, with its nearest competitor being banana, with 25%.
- The Hass variety of the avocado fruit is the most exported globally, averaging size-wise at 180 to 300g (Borges & Melo, 2011).
- Avocado is the 17th most produced fruit in Brazil (Almeida & Sampaio, 2013).
- There are more than 80 different species of avocado found in California alone, with the Hass avocado the most popular.
- In 2014 alone, Americans ate more than 4.25 billion avocados, with Los Angeles consuming the most.
- Mexico has the best tropical climate for the growth of the fruit. Mexican avocado fans use the leaves as flavours for wraps for tamales.
- The United States of America consumes the highest number of avocados in the world. The consumption of avocado in America is in the form of guacamole (crushed avocado mixed with onion tomato, chilies, etc).
- Avocado trees are known to have relatively low demand for nutrients.
- Of the 20 to 25 total grams of fat in avocados, 15 grams is monounsaturated fat.
Duarte, P.F., Chaves, M. A., Borges, C.D., & Mendonça, C.R.B. (2016). Avocado: Characteristics, Health Benefits and Uses. Ciência Rural, Santa Maria, Vol. 46, Number 4, p.747-754.
Proceedings of The World Avocado Congress III, 1995 143 – 159 by E.Lavah