*The avocado is the fruit of the tree, Persea americana, believed to be native to Central and South America.
*Botanically, the avocado fruit is a berry.
*It is also called avocado pear or butter pear or alligator pear.
*Avocados have tough dark green skin, a smooth, creamy, greenish-yellow flesh, and a single, large, central seed.
*The flesh is edible and has a very high fat content, mainly monounsaturated fats. Avocados are one of the two fresh oily fruits (the other one is olives) that have high content of monounsaturated fats (MUFA), which are good for the heart.
*Various varieties of avocados are available like – Hass, Bacon, Fuerte, Gwen, Pinkerton, Reed, Zutano, etc.
*A less fatty variety of avocado called Florida avocados are available that have are larger and rounder, with a smooth, medium-green skin, and a less-fatty, firmer and fibrous flesh. These are occasionally marketed as low-calorie avocados.
*Chopped avocados turn brown due to oxidation, and so are to consumed immediately after chopping.
*Buying and storage: Select avocados that are firm, and without any bruises on the skin. Keep well for about a week. Store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag where they will keep well for about 2 weeks. Unused half cut avocados are to be tightly wrapped in a plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator.
Is it raw?
Yes, fresh avocados can be eaten in salads, salsas, dips, etc.
1. Avocados are one of the two fresh fruits (the other one is olives) that have high content of monounsaturated fats (MUFA), which are heart-healthy.
2. The monounsaturated fatty acids, especially oleic acid, lower the LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol in blood and raises the HDL cholesterol.
3. Alpha-linolenic acid, the omega-3 fatty acid in avocados, promotes a healthy heart, reduces hypertension, reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases and cancers, acts as a blood thinner and prevents the formation of clots and improves depression.
4. MUFA are also believed to be beneficial in the prevention of gallstones.
5. Good source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that fights against the free radicals in the body and protects our cells from the damage (oxidation) caused by them, thus reducing the risk of heart diseases, cancers and other inflammatory diseases.
6. The anti-inflammatory actions of monounsaturated fats and Vitamin E in avocados may also help reduce the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
7. The phytonutrient compounds found in the avocados like the polyphenols and flavonoids have been found to have significant anti-inflammatory properties, thus reduces the risk of inflammatory and degenerative disorders.
8. Moderate source of carotenoids, beta-carotene (a precursor of Vitamin A), lutein, zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene, which acts as antioxidants along with Vitamins C and E.
9. Moderate source of calcium, which helps in the mineralization and re-mineralization of the bones, thus aiding the development of young bones and offering protection against osteoporosis in older people.
10. Low in sodium and good source of potassium, which helps maintain normal blood pressure, reduces the risk of hypertension, helps transmit nerve impulses to muscles, and improves muscle contraction.
11. Moderate source of iron, copper, magnesium, which are essential for maintaining the normal metabolic activities in the body.
12. Good source of dietary fiber, which promotes satiety, adds bulk to the intestinal contents, causes easy bowel movement, and helps in control of constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticular disorders, etc.
13. Moderate amounts of protein. The protein in avocados is called a complete protein, because it has all the 9 essential amino acids in it.
14. Avocados are bland and mild, and this very property soothes the gastric and intestinal ulcers and is used to treat ulcers and acidity in the gastrointestinal tract.
15. Avocados are also shown to treat bad breath.