Avocado is popular and loved by many. In fact, consumption in the U.S. has risen greatly in the past twenty years.
But, how much do you know about this creamy green fruit? Are there health benefits you should know? Are there any health risks? And are they sustainable?
Continue reading to find out more!
What is Avocado?
Avocados are evergreen, tropical trees with green, pear-shaped, nutrient-dense fruits. The term Avocado covers both the tree and the fruit.
They come in hundreds of different varieties. Also, the tree is a member of Lauraceae, the flowering plant family.
The fruit itself is like a berry that contains one large seed. However, remember that the scientific definition of a berry is a fruit derived from the ovary of a single flower. This is totally different from the common usage definition.
Even though they are not sweet, Avocados are satisfying and versatile foods with a creamy and buttery texture.
Furthermore, they have a rich flavor gotten from their high-fat content.
There are a lot of facts about Avocados out there! Here are a few of these Avocado Facts:
- Avocados contain more fat than other fruits or vegetables. Also, the trees contain enzymes that stop the fruit from ever ripening on the tree. Because of this, farmers can use the trees as storage devices for up to seven months after they reach full maturity. This allows avocados to always be in season.
- They were once eaten by giant ground sloths and saved from extinction by humans.
- Avocados, Pumpkins, watermelons, and bananas are all berries while strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are not.
- Ever wondered why the avocado has such a sizeable seed? It is because it evolved to appeal to extinct megafauna (like the giant armadillo) to facilitate seed dispersal via ingestion and excretion.
- Chipotle uses 97,000 pounds of avocado daily.
- A California mail carrier owned the single tree from which other trees descended. 95% of commercially grown avocados come from these trees.
- Approximately, the Mexico drug cartels make $152 million a year from growing and selling avocados.
- They were once called “alligator pears.”
- Avocados are harmful to birds, cats, dogs, rabbits, and primarily all pets.
- You need a gallon of water to grow a single almond and 220 gallons to grow an Avocado.
- Avocado means ‘testicle’, this is because of its shape.
- They are in the same family as cinnamon.
- They call Avocado luò lí or “cheese pear” in Taiwan.
- Also, Avocados are good sources of glutathione. It is a powerful antioxidant very important for having a healthy immune system.
- Finally, mashed up avocados are called Guacamole.
There is a lot more to Avocados than its taste. Learning about avocado nutrition facts can inspire you to look for ways to add this healthy super fruit into your healthy diet.
Avocado Nutrition Facts
Serving Size of 1/2 avocado contains:
- 114 calories
- 6g carbohydrates
- 1g protein
- 10.5g total fat (16% DV)
- 1g saturated fat
- 5g fiber
- 0g sugar
- 345mg potassium (10% DV)
- 20mg magnesium (5% DV)
- 6mg vitamin C (10% DV)
- 0.2mg vitamin B6 (10% DV)
A 100g Avocado contains 160 calories.
Eating Avocado comes with benefits. Below are a few of these Avocado Benefits:
#1. Avocado Eaters Tend To Be Healthier
A 2013 study published in the Nutrition Journal shows that avocado eaters usually have higher nutrient intake and lower rates of metabolic syndrome.
Also, they have lower weight, lower BMI, little belly fat, and higher levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein, which means “good” cholesterol).
#2. They Can Help You Better Absorb Antioxidants
Some nutrients are fat-soluble. This means you should eat them with fats so your body can absorb them well.
Furthermore, a 2005 study published in The Journal of Nutrition showed that eating carotenoids (antioxidants including lycopene and beta-carotene) with avocado or avocado oil increases their absorption.
#3. They May Help Prevent And Treat Cancer
A 2015 study published in Cancer Research showed that Avocatin B, a compound gotten from avocado, can help kill leukemia cells.
Also, a 2015 research review published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that phytochemicals (plant compounds) in Avocados make them potentially important for preventing cancer.
#4. They Can Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease
A 2015 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that eating one avocado daily as part of a moderate‐fat, cholesterol‐lowering diet reduced LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol).
#5. They May Help With Weight Loss
A 2013 study in the Nutrition Journal showed that people eating avocado with a meal felt 23% more satisfied.
Also, they had a 28% lower desire to eat in the next five hours versus people who didn’t eat an avocado.
#6. They Can Help Reduce Liver Damage
A 2000 study presented by the American Chemical Society showed that avocados contain chemicals that can protect against liver toxins.
Additionally, avocados might be able to lessen the liver damage caused by the hepatitis C virus.
#7. They Can Be Great For Pregnant Women
A 2016 study in the journal Nutrients found that avocados are high in folate and potassium (usually under-consumed in maternal diets) as well as fiber, monounsaturated fats, and lipid-soluble antioxidants.
Furthermore, all these are connected to improvements in maternal health, birth outcomes, and quality of breast milk.
#8. Avocados Can Combat Metabolic Syndrome
To begin with, Metabolic syndrome is a mix of linked issues including high blood sugar, high serum cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high body mass index. These can cause an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Also, a 2017 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that “lipid‐lowering, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, anti‐obesity, antithrombotic, antiatherosclerotic, and cardioprotective effects of avocado” can help protect against this syndrome.
#9. They Can Help Prevent Food Poisoning
From a 2013 study published in the BioMed Research International journal, it was discovered that the antibacterial activity of avocados can help protect against Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) and other pathogens that are foodborne.
#10. Avocados Can Keep Your Eyes Healthy As You Age
The Avocado is rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These can help protect and maintain healthy cells in your eyes.
Also, according to a 2017 study in the journal Nutrients, Avocados can help give the macular pigment a boost with age.
Just like many other fruits, the primary risks are due to overconsumption. “Consuming too many avocados may lead to weight gain because of the fat content, even though it is unsaturated fat,” said Flores.
“It can also lead to nutritional deficiencies since fat is digested slower and leaves you feeling fuller longer than [do] other nutrients.”
Furthermore, avocado allergies, while uncommon, still exist. They are typically associated with latex allergies, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In addition, symptoms include a stuffy nose, wheezing, coughing, and edema. In case, you experience any of these symptoms, try cutting Avocado out of your diet to see if the symptoms vanish.
If they persist or are severe, seek the help of a medical doctor.
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