Health Benefits of Avocado
Table Of Contents
- General Information About The Avocado Tree & Avocado Fruit
- Uses Of Avocado
- Avocado Oil
- Benefits Of Avocado Oil
- Nutritional Value Of Avocado Oil
- Avocado Nutrient Levels
- Health Benefits Of Avocado
- Do You Know?
- How To Peel Off The Avocado Skin
- Avocado Allergy & Toxicity
- Some Other Hubs On Avocado
- Some Of My Other Hubs On Healthy Foods
General Information About The Avocado Tree & Avocado Fruit
Latin Name: Persea americana
In India, it is called butter fruit or Makhanphal in Hindi.
The avocado tree is native to Central Mexico and belongs to the same family as cinnamon and bay laurel. Avocado is also known as alligator pear because its shape and the leather-like the appearance of the skin resembles an alligator's.
The tree grows to a height of about 60-65 feet and the avocado fruit can weigh from about 150 gms to over 1 kg. The fruit is a berry with a single seed.
Avocados have green skin and the fruit matures on the tree but ripens once plucked. The ripe fruit has dark green or purple skin and cream coloured flesh inside.
Commercial avocados are picked when hard and green but must be mature to ripen well. The fruit has great commercial value.
The wild variety of avocado is called Criollo and it is smaller and darker than the cultivated variety.
There are more the 80 varieties of avocados and they are available throughout the year. California and Florida are the two main avocado producing US states.
Avocado Milk Shake
Uses Of Avocado
As a provider of fats, it is an excellent food for vegetarians and vegans as it provides a high amount of monounsaturated fats, the much-needed fat, which is very difficult to obtain from vegetable sources otherwise.
Avocado can be eaten raw as well as cooked for a short while. The reason it shouldn't be cooked for long as the skin is rendered inedible by prolonged heat.
Guacamole, a Mexican dip, has avocado as its base ingredient. Avocado can also be blended into milkshakes, desserts and ice cream. It is also used to make juice, puree, soups, salads and used in sandwiches and sushi.
Avocado can be used with eggs, hamburgers, hot dogs etc. When cut it turns brown in a short time because of oxidation. To prevent this, add lime or lemon juice to the peeled or cut pieces.
It is used in various ways in cuisines around the world. Avocado provides a creamy texture to the food it is added to.
The oil is extracted from the fruit pulp and not from the seeds and is edible. It can be used as cooking oil or added to other dishes or salads.
It is used in cosmetics because of its beneficial effects on the skin.
The oil is absorbed easily into the skin and relieves dryness & itching of eczema and psoriasis.
Avocado oil reduces age spots, heals sun-damaged skin, reduces scars, softens the skin due to its moisturising effect.
It also increases the collagen content of the skin.
Avocado oil is an excellent carrier oil for other oils.
Benefits Of Avocado Oil
Avocado has about 76% fat that is monounsaturated. in the form of oleic and palmitoleic fatty acids, about 12% linoleic and alpha-linoleic polyunsaturated fatty acids and about 12% palmitic and stearic saturated fats.
- The high levels of monounsaturated fats reduce LDL cholesterol, heart disease risk and risk of stroke.
- Avocado oil reduces arthritic symptoms, risk of colon and breast cancer.
- The beta-sitosterol content prevents prostate enlargement in males and reduces it to some extent if the intake is fairly large as it inhibits the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. Reduced DHT levels alleviate symptoms of prostate enlargement and help to prevent future prostate problems.
- The high levels of Vitamin E lower blood pressure reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's, breast and prostate cancer and age-related eye diseases like cataract and macular degeneration.
Avocado oil is very stable due to its much higher smoking point as compared to soy, canola, corn or olive oil. This is the reason it is also preferred for cooking.
Nutritional Value Of Avocado
Avocado provides about 20 essential nutrients. It mainly contains monounsaturated fats like oleic and palmitoleic as also omega-6 polyunsaturated linoleic acid. Fat provides about 75% of the calories.
It has more potassium than bananas, is rich in B-complex and vitamins A, E and K.
The fibre content is high with 75% insoluble and 25% soluble fibre. The insoluble fibre cleans the bowels and prevents constipation. The soluble fibre keep one full and prevents overeating, delays hunger. It is extremely rich in iron, copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium. Along with a high tannin content, it is extremely rich in many polyphenolic antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin, carotenes and cryptoxanthin.
Avocado has a nutrient boosting effect. In effect, this means that it enables the body to absorb more of alpha and beta carotene and lutein if the fruit is eaten with food.
Avocado Nutrient Levels
Avocado (Persea americana),
Refuse seed and skin, Nutrition value per 100 g
Source: USDA National Nutrient data base
Percentage of RDA
81 micro gm
0.4 micro gm
24 micro gm
62 micro gm
28 micro gm
271 micro gm
The Health Benefits Of Avocado
- The monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid, (which makes up almost half the fat content), help to improve the absorption of lycopene and beta carotene antioxidants.
Therefore, always add avocado or avocado oil to salads, salsa or vegetable.
- The monounsaturated fats and the polyunsaturated fats along with potassium reduce the risk of heart disease since it reduces LDL cholesterol.
Avocado has no trans fat, is cholesterol and sodium-free. About 75 % of fat in Avocado is unsaturated.
- Avocado provides an excellent and wide-ranging anti-inflammatory action beneficial for arthritis sufferers.
The amazing and unique variety of carotenoids like the phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, the non-carotenoid antioxidants, the omega-3 fatty acids and the PFA (polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols - these normally are present in very few land plants), provide unquestionable anti-inflammatory benefits.
- It an excellent blood sugar regulator and controls diabetes.
The low carbohydrate content and sugar, a low glycemic index as well as a fairly high dietary fibre content makes this possible.
- It provides anti-cancer benefits too.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients provide this protection.
Avocado And Acne
Avocado controls and eliminates acne as it contains linoleic acid which is an anti-inflammatory as well as it keeps the skin moisturized.
The Vitamin E content is an antioxidant and also benefits the skin health. It boosts immunity which aids in combating acne.
The fibre cleanses the body well and removes toxins further helping in eliminating acne.
Avocado And Weight Loss
Though avocado is high in fat, 2/3rd of this is the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which control overeating as it suppresses appetite. Avocado also lowers cholesterol thus aiding weight loss, especially from the belly.
The high potassium content also prevents fluid retention and reducing body fat and also converting the consumed food into energy and encouraging muscle growth.
The L-carnitine amino acid's primary function is to metabolize body fat. Thus it promotes fat loss and weight loss.
The high fibre content needs more calories to digest and also keeps one fuller longer, thus further aiding weight loss.
Do You Know ?
1/2 an Avocado has
- 160 calories.
- 15 gms of heart-healthy unsaturated fat but only 2 gms of saturated fat!
1 whole fruit meets
- 1/3 Daily Requirement of Vit C.
- more than 1/2 Daily Requirement of Vit K.
How To Peel Off The Avocado Skin
Do not peel or slice away the dark green flesh of avocado just below the skin as this contains the heaviest concentration of carotenoids.
After cutting the avocado in 4 quarters, peel off the skin as you would peel a banana, by using the thumb and index finger.
This leaves the dark green outer layer of flesh, that is rich in these carotenoids, intact.
Avocado Allergy And Toxicity
Some people are allergic to its pollen while some to the latex in the fruit.
Pollen allergy may cause allergic lesions in the mouth and throat soon after avocado is eaten.
Symptoms due to latex allergy may manifest as abdominal pain, vomiting or generalised urticaria.
Avocado bark, leaves, skin, the pit is toxic to animals like dogs, cats, goats, fish cattle, birds and horses. The bark and leaves contain a toxic compound persin. Consumption of avocado by these animals may also kill them.
Ripening avocados increase the enzymes that cause latex allergy. Organically produced avocado has less of these enzymes.
Cooking also deactivates these enzymes.
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Some Other Hubs On Avocado
- Avocado Fries: A Healthy Fat Alternative for Kids
These fries are a great alternative to french fried potatoes or chips and dip for a family night of fun. They are simple to make and a healthy unsaturated fat food source for kids.
- Omelet with Avocado, Bacon and Cheese.
The omelete is a breakfast food made with eggs. A variety of omelettes exist throughout the world. Here is my favorite omelete recipe: The California Omelete. Enjoy!
- An Almost Foolproof Way to Grow an Avocado Plant from a Seed
Starting an avocado from seed can be difficult when you sprout it in water. This almost foolproof way to start the avocado seed is much easier as well as more successful.
Some of my other hubs on Healthy Foods
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- Honey & Health - Manuka Honey
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- Health Benefits Of Wheat grass And Wheatgrass Juice
Wheat Grass therapy was pioneered by Dr. Ann Wigmore and is said to be a revolutionary therapy in many deadly diseases, like cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, leprosy etc. To know more about this therapy, read on....
- Watermelon And Some Good And Bad Side Effects Of Eating Too Much Watermelon
Watermelon is a very healthy fruit but should be eaten in moderation or side effects of watermelon consumption can occur, like watermelon diarrhea, hyperkalemia, intestinal disturbances etc. To know more, read on...
- Lemon And Lemon Juice - Health Benefits In High Uric Acid
Read about some of the amazing properties of lemons and lemon juice in giving good health.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.
How to Make Fresh Homemade Guacamole
Raw Avocado Fries Recipe
Avocado Burrito Recipe
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly