It is rich, creamy and one of the most exotic fruits available to humans. Avocados are one of the rare fruits containing fat and that too very healthy composition. The presence of fat increases bio-availability of the fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin E present in it.
Avocados are native to South Mexico but are extensively grown in United States and throughout tropical America and the larger islands of the Caribbean, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and many more countries across the world. California is the major exporter of avocados but in India, avocados mainly came from Sri Lanka and is currently cultivated to a very limited scale in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka in the south-central India and in the eastern Himalayan state of Sikkim
Fats – Avocados contain healthy fats, providing 3g of monounsaturated and 0.5g polyunsaturated fat per serving – 30gms. Monounsaturated fats are specially beneficial in reducing triglycerides and bad cholesterol
Vitamin E– Avocados contain about 0.6mg of Vitamin E per one oz. (2-3 slices). Vitamin E helps to boost immunity by strengthening body’s defense system .
Potassium – One ounce of avocado (1/5 of a medium avocado) provides 140 g of potassium or 4% of the recommended Daily Value (DV). High potassium content of avocados can help in lowering blood pressure and thereby reducing risk of cardiovascular disease
Fiber– Fiber content of avocados is pretty high i.e. 2g per 30g which is rare. Eating avocados daily can help gain benefits of fiber such as increased satiety, weight loss, cholesterol reduction, blood sugar control and reduced risk of cancer and CVD.
Neuro Preventive effect- Recent research has shown that antioxidant compounds in avocados suppress free radical generation and can play a role in prevention and cure of various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s , Parkinson’s, etc.
Uses in food
- Avocados are tasteless, only that unripe ones are bitter. So a ripe avocado can be beaten into a creamy paste which can be flavoured with seasonings and spices of our choice.
- The creamy texture of avocados make it a favourable replacement for butter or spreads. It can be used as a spread on toasts, sandwiches, as a dip , as topping on pizzas/ burgers, etc
- Avocado is a great fruit for salad, it can be halved and served with lemon juice, vinegar, pepper, mayonnaise, etc.
- The very popular Mexican guacamole prepared from avocados is a blend of the pureed flesh with lemon or lime juice, onion juice or powder, minced garlic, chili powder or Tabasco sauce, and salt and pepper .
- Avocados contain tannin so the flesh is usually not cooked otherwise it tastes bitter.
- Chunks of avocado may be added to hot foods such as soup, stew, chili or omelettes just before serving.
Also, one important thing to remember with avocados is that it has to be eaten within a couple of hours of being cut. Once minced, the avocado flesh starts to turn brown. Same day consumption is preferred. If one needs to preserve a half cut avocado or a prepared guacamole for overnight then squeezing a lemon on top and keeping it in air-tight container can help prevent browning.
Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.