It seems that there are three schools of thought when it comes to avocados; people either love them, have no idea what they are or are scared of them.
People who are afraid of avocados don’t really know what to do with them and those that don’t know what to do with them have never learned how to enjoy this highly delicious and nutritious fruit. If you are afraid of avocados, we hope that this information helps you understand a little more about this number one best fruit you should eat each day.
Avocados, known also as alligator pears, are the fruit of the Persea americana, a large evergreen tree. Depending on variety, they can weigh anywhere from 8 ounces to 3 pounds and are much more like a berry than a fruit.
While eaten as a vegetable, alligator pears are, unlike any other vegetables; they contain enough healthy fat to pass as a meat substitute. Similar to coconuts, avocados are sometimes snubbed because of their high fat content.
The Value of Healthy Fat
One cup of avocado cubed contains about 240 calories and 22 grams of fat. But, don’t let this fat fact scare you. The fat found in avocados is comprised of oleic acid and is extremely healthy monounsaturated fat, the same kind found in olive oil.
According to the American Heart Association, monounsaturated fat can lower cholesterol and plays a role in keeping hair and skin healthy. Research done indicates that avocado fat reduces inflammation within the body and is especially useful for people suffering from arthritis.
The digestive tract also benefits from healthy fat and transportation of fat soluble nutrients depends on it. There is also solid evidence to support the fact that avocados reduce heart disease.
Other Nutritional Benefits
Healthy fat is not the only thing going for avocados. They contain twice as much potassium as bananas and a healthy amount of magnesium thought to play a vital role in blood pressure regulation.
Some research indicates that avocados even protect against certain cancers because of their high antioxidant content. Avocados are rich in vitamins K, C and E, and contain three times more of the antioxidant glutathione, than any other fruit.
The fiber in avocados helps to regulate blood sugar and a recent study suggests that the sugar in this fruit actually helps to prevent blood sugar levels from dropping.
While more research is still being done on the health promoting benefits of avocados, what has been documented shows that everyone can benefit from including this fruit in their diet.
A Few Facts
- Avocados are like a cross in taste and texture of a banana and an olive.
- Native to Central and South America, they are also grown in states like Florida and California.
- The Florida avocado has less fat content and a more watery texture than the California variety.
- Avocados are picked from the tree before they have ripened – similar to how bananas are picked.
- An unripe avocado has bright green skin and no give at all when you pick it up and press lightly.
- An overripe avocado has dark skin and loads of give – if you squeeze too hard it will bust.
- The best avocado is the one that is somewhere between ripe and overripe
- Of course, if you are not going to eat your avocado right away, choose one that is unripe and let it sit for a few days to ripen.
To cut an avocado, hold the fruit lengthwise in one hand and a sharp knife in the other. Cut the it into two halves to expose the pit. Use a spoon to scoop out the pit. Slice the flesh into pieces, be careful not to break the skin. Once you have made sections, scoop out the flesh using a spoon.
So many people associate avocados with guacamole, but there are many other things that you can do with this creamy fruit. Try blending it to make your own salad dressing, spreading it on sandwiches, using it in fresh salads, adding it to your smoothies for a delicious rich taste or even mixing it with salsa. The possibilities are endless.