There are several health benefits of avocado are so numerous and in this piece, we highlighted all the benefits of avocado as it pertains to your health and well being. But before we talk about the health benefits of avocado let me talk share my prior feeling about the fruit.
As a toddler, I never liked that fruit they call avocado. I guess there was no particular reason for the dislike, other than the way it tasted. Well, I was the type with a sweet tooth, so I only had affections for very sweet things.
But then, reaching the stage where I had to learn and unlearn somethings; I understood how this one fruit I never liked, was of great importance to human health. On the other hand, many people appreciate the delicious flavor of avocado but are afraid of consuming them for (wrong) dietary reasons.
They, therefore, avoid avocados or eat less than they could have, because of incomplete or erroneous nutritional information. It seems worthwhile, therefore, to share several scientific findings concerning the avocado.
Colloquially known by some as the ‘alligator pear,’ avocados are fruits of the Persea Americana, a tall evergreen tree which flourishes in tropical and subtropical climates. While dozens of varieties of avocados have been identified, they predominantly fall into three categories – Guatemalan, Mexican, and West Indian species.
Majority of avocados consumed worldwide are Hass avocados (Persea Americana). Hass avocado is a medium-sized fruit with a pleasant, creamy, smooth texture (*Hmmm… Yummy!!!*) The avocado is a medium energy dense (1.7 kcal/g) fruit because it contains about 80% water and dietary fiber.
The Avocado, honorably bestowed with various titles such as “major tropical fruit” “only fruit that is a complete food” and “the energetic fruit” is one fruit that should never be taken without a smile on one face.
For it is the only fruit which after numerous tests and analyses, have been found not lacking in close to 25 essential nutrients.
The exceptional protein, the fat-soluble vitamins (Vit A, D, E, K), the highly needed Vitamins B and C, the ever important minerals (iron, copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus), nine essential amino acids, the healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic and linoleic acid), the omega fatty acids, Beta-carotene, phytosterols, tocopherols, beneficial phytochemicals are all present in this One fruit.
Numerous studies have long shown that fried foods have undesirable effects on health status. However olive oil and avocado oil are oils that do not affect human health when used to fry. This is because the avocado oil is predominantly monounsaturated, a property which has been said to confer distinct health benefits. Apart from this property, the avocado as a refined cooking oil has additional advantages:
(i) it is unusually light, so it mixes well with other foods
(ii) it has a mild, delicate flavour, which enhances and brings out the flavour of other foods, instead of dominating them unlike other oils.
(iii) avocado oil withstands a high cooking temperature before breaking down, i.e., its smoke point is about 255°C (490°F), which is much higher than that of olive oil.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF AVOCADO
Apart from the benefits that come with consumption of the oil gotten from avocado, the numerous benefits that come from the consumption of the whole fruit pulp cannot be over-emphasized. The whole fruit pulp is by far the most important human use of the avocado.
In cases where you spread mashed avocado on your bread or toast or probably those cracker biscuits and munch on it; it could even be that you choose to take the avocado alone, the benefits attached to it include:
Another health benefits of avocado according to studies showed that is can prevent stroke. Studies have shown that heart disease, cancer, and stroke are three leading causes of death. Additionally, stroke can cause many years of partial or total incapacitation and tragic crippling.
The results of a 12-year study of stroke titled “Potassium was the key conducted jointly by the Schools of Medicine of the University of California San Diego and Cambridge University in England. A 40% reduction in stroke risk was associated with an average daily increase in potassium consumption of about 400 mg, the amount supplied by less than half an avocado!
Moreover, blood pressure, a stroke factor, was linked in the same article to potassium-sodium imbalance, specifically a sodium excess. The avocado has about 52 times as much potassium as sodium.
Finally, avocado oil is very high in monounsaturated fats, while being comparatively low in both polyunsaturated and saturated fats. Studies have shown that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat is associated with lower blood cholesterol as compared with saturated; only monounsaturated fat is associated with lower blood pressure.
Avocado consumption provides enough potassium to help prevent stroke and lower blood pressure.
Monounsaturated fat which is found in avocado oil will also help lower blood cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
Contrary to popular assumptions, the avocado can be a helpful part of a successful weight-management program. Its high-fat content gives a quicker feeling of satiation (fullness), thus helping to reduce overeating.
Its high-fat content also makes an overall sound diet more palatable, reducing the temptation to binge on foods high in sugars or saturated fats.
Finally, Its rich supply of vitamins and minerals makes the diet more wholesome and satisfying and thus
more conducive to overall health and moderation in consumption.
High nutritional density.
More important than a foods calorie content is its total nutritional contribution to human needs. A good measure is nutrients per calorie.
The data from a detailed publication indicates that half of an avocado (about 80 g edible fruit), provides a substantial percentage of the daily nutritional needs of a child aged 7 to 10 (Calories – 7%; Vit. A – 18%; Vit. C – 17%; Vit. E – 13%; Folate – 16%; Niacin – 13%; Vit B6 – 15%; Iron – 15%; Magnesium – 20%).
The avocado contains little vitamin B 12 and calcium, limited zinc and modest phosphorus. It is half-a-fruit quota of riboflavin and thiamine for children is about 9.5 and 8%, respectively, hence about equal to its relative calorie contribution. It is interesting to know that the health benefits of avocado.
But the striking thing is that no less than eight essential nutrients are present. Nor is that all; three additional nutrients, potassium, copper and pantothenic acid, are also estimated to be present in avocado at about twice the calorie content.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is important for the nervous system, red blood cells, teeth, and gums. A report explains that avocado has three times as much B6 per g as a banana. The avocado is indeed remarkably nutritious.
Antioxidants and free radicals: cancer, cataracts, and aging.
Highly reactive free radicals are inevitable by-products of the role of oxygen for human cellular energy and for life.
These unstable troublemakers can affect various cell constituents; could be artery walls or LDL cholesterol advancing coronary heart disease; eye lens tissue causing cataracts; a critical gene leading to cancer; perhaps arthritis; or DNA (the genetic material) causing gradual deterioration and aging.
The human body has two main defenses against these free radicals: enzymes and other blood compounds that depend on trace minerals and proper general nutrition and three potent antioxidants vitamins C, E, and beta carotene (vitamin A precursor).
The avocado provides about twice as high a proportion of our daily needs for the top three antioxidant vitamins as its calorie proportion. It is also important to remember that the avocado is rich in copper and iron, two mineral constituents of antioxidant enzymes.
Thus, eating avocados could be an enjoyable way to help protect ourselves against cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and eye cataracts; it may even delay the processes of aging.
A review paper noted that thread has emerged as a leading dietary component in chronic disease prevention. High fiber intake lowers the risk for cardiovascular disease, some cancers, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and obesity.
For fiber therapeutic treatment of some disorders, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble fiber appears to be most beneficial.
A study compared the fiber content of 16 fruits and 18 vegetables. Of the 34 food sources, only the avocado had large amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber (it had, respectively, 2.1 % and 2.7% by fresh weight).
A frequent recommendation is that fiber intake should be doubled. The avocado would be a very pleasant means toward that end.
Those are some of the incredible health benefits of avocado.
HOW DO I SELECT MY AVOCADO?
A ripe, ready-to-eat avocado is slightly soft but should have no dark sunken spots or cracks. Avoid Fruits with skin that is too light and bright.
If the avocado has a slight neck, rather than being rounded on top, it is likely to have been tree-ripened and will be more flavoursome.
HOW DO I STORE MY AVOCADO?
A firmer, less mature fruit can be ripened at home in a paper bag or in a fruit bowl at room temperature.
As the fruit ripens, the skin will turn darker.
Avocados should not be refrigerated until they are fully ripe. At this stage, they can be stored in the
fridge for up to a week – provided they have not been sliced.
The natural darkening of the avocado flesh that occurs with exposure to air can be prevented by a little
a sprinkling of lemon juice or vinegar.