Although the avocado tree is native to central Mexico, yet it is abundantly grown in the US. The state of California is particularly known for its avocado yield. The fruit is also known as butter pear, alligator pear, aguacate etc. Botanically, the fruit is a member of the Lauraceae family. The scientific name of the fruit is Persea americana. The fruit is often enjoyed raw with some lemon juice to add zing to the taste. There are also several recipes that include avocado. The California Avocado Commission maintains more than 100 recipes for the fruit. Mentioned below are the nutritional benefits of the fruit.
- The creamy pulp of the fruit is high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like palmitoleic acid and oleic acid. It also consists of linoleic acid which is a poly-unsaturated fatty acid. The mono-unsaturated fatty acids of the fruit are good at lowering the LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and increasing HDL or good cholesterol, thereby maintaining a healthy blood lipid profile. It is thus an important fruit in the prevention of stroke or heart diseases.
- The fruits are rich in dietary fibers, both the soluble and insoluble kinds. 100g of avocado can provide about 6.7 g of dietary fibers, which is about 18% or the recommended daily intake of dietary fibers. Dietary fibers are good at creating a feeling of satiety, relieving constipation and in lowering blood cholesterol levels.
- The high concentration of tannin in avocado is beneficial for its anti-ulcer, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- They are also a rich source of vitamins like Vitamin A, E, B6 and K. Vitamin K is fat soluble and is essential for blood clotting. Vitamin E is also a fat-soluble vitamin that is an antioxidant protecting the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. Vitamin C is water soluble and also an antioxidant combating the free radicals. It is also important in the growth and repair of body tissues. Vitamin B6 is yet another water soluble vitamin. It helps the immune system of the body to produce antibodies. It is essential to break down proteins. So, if you are on a high protein diet, you should consider more of avocados to ensure that the protein is digested in the body. Vitamin B6 is also utilized by the immune system to produce antibodies that fight diseases.
- In addition, the fruits are rich sources of minerals like magnesium, copper, iron and manganese. Magnesium strengthens the bones and is good for heart. The body utilizes manganese as a co-factor of the anti-oxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Iron and copper and well known for their utility in the production of RBCs.
- It is also a rich source of potassium. 100g of the fruit consists of about 485 mg of potassium which is about 10% of the daily required level. Potassium is necessary for the sodium-potassium balance in the blood. It also plays an important role in regulating blood pressure and heart rate.
- Avocado also consists of a high proportion of carotenoid Lutein. Lutein is associated with both eye health and skin health.
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