Avocados are pear shaped fruits with a rough skin that varies in colour from, green to black. The edible flesh of the fruit is yellow or green. There are more than four hundred varieties of avocados and just as wide a variety of the taste. Some are sweet, others nutty tasting and the rest fall between the two tastes.
Avocados contain more than twenty essential nutrients which include Folic acid, potassium, Vitamin E, Vitamin K
Varieties of avocado
These are oval shaped with a thick bumpy skin which is dark brown to black in colour. The flesh of the fruit is the creamiest of all the varieties of avocado. It has a nutty taste and is available throughout the year. The riper the fruit gets, the darker its skin turns.
This variety has a smooth, green skin that is not shiny. As the avocado ripens, the skin remains green and to tell that it is ready to eat, touch it gently and if it’s fairly soft, then it’s ready to be consumed. The Avocado fuerte is pear shaped.
This variety is known for its easy peeling characteristic. It has a pear shape but it is longer on length than the avocado fuerte. The flesh is a light shade of green, with a rich creamy taste.
Where did Avocados originate?
The oldest mention of avocado was more than ten thousand years ago in Central Mexico. From there it spread to America and then to the rest of the world. Prior to that, evidence shows that humans ate wild avocados around 5000 BC and were later domesticated in 7000 BC.
The health benefits of avocado
Avocados are high in monosaturated fats (the good fats), minerals, fibre and vitamins. You need at least thirteen vitamins to survive and avocado contains most of them. With that in mind, here are some benefits of incorporating an avocado in your daily diet.
Healthy for your heart
To combat cardiovascular problems, doctors and other experts advise that you should cut down on polyunsaturated fats, while increasing monounsaturated fats in monounsaturated fats in our diet.
Avocado is the one food known to have the highest amount of monounsaturated fats, which help to lower the bad cholesterol, thus keeping your heart healthy.
Avocados contain antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which keep the muscles in your eyes strong and avoiding muscular degeneration of the eyes caused by ageing.
These antioxidants also protect the eyes from damage caused by rays of the sun.
There are many cases of diagnosed and undiagnosed cases of diabetes, and one way to ensure that you protect yourself from the disease is to eat a healthy diet. One of these foods is the simple avocado.
If you do suffer from diabetes, the avocado is also recommended for its ability to lower bad cholesterol, as diabetic sufferers are at a high risk of cardiovascular disease.
An enzyme present in avocados helps to control the utilisation of glucose in the body, thereby helping to maintain a diabetic’s sugar levels.
Anti- cancerous properties
Avocados contain avocation B, which is a type of fat that targets leukaemia cells, destroys them and leaves the healthy calls intact.
The part of the avocado closest to the skin contains carotenoids, which have anti cancerous properties and protect against certain types of cancers. To get this benefit, peel the avocado by hand, by first cutting it lengthwise into two halves.
Low levels of folate have been identified as a risk factor for cancer. Half an avocado provides the quantity recommended for sufficient folate in the body. Folate protects against breast, cervical, pancreatic, colon and stomach cancers.
Despite the high content of fats in avocado, they are known as a great food for those looking to lose weight. The reason behind this is that the monounsaturated fats in avocados slowly burn energy, as opposed to being stored in the body as fat.
They also leave you feeling fuller for longer periods, thus reducing food hunger and cravings.
The avocado fruit is high in fibre and low in carbohydrates, which is one of the recommendations of nutritionists for losing weight.
Avocados contain large quantities of soluble and insoluble fibres, which feed the good bacteria in the intestines. Fibres keep the digestive system working properly by ensuring that food passes through the intestine tracts efficiently.
The two types of fibres also stimulate the release of digestive juices so that nutrients are absorbed faster from other foods.
If you suffer from constipation and diarrhoea, and avocado a day will keep those symptoms at bay.
A glowing healthy skin is only an avocado a day away. Many skin lotions and creams contain avocado as an ingredient due to their ability to keep the skin healthy. They contain essential vitamins which sooth dry and chapped skin.
Avocados are recommended for people who suffer from plaque psoriasis. They contain carotenoids, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, necessary to ward off the signs of aging such as wrinkles, in the skin.
Omega 9 fats, present in avocados help to repair damaged skin cells and also reduce irritations of the skin.
Arthritis pain is a painful disease of the joints that affects millions of people worldwide. While it has no permanent cure, the diet plays a vital part in controlling the pain associated with the illness.
One of the few foods that are known to reduce arthritic pain are avocados. They have anti-inflammatory properties which reduce the inflammation in the tissues and muscles that cause arthritic pain.
Potassium, which is present in avocados in larger quantities than bananas, helps to maintain fluid balance in the cells and organs. Your kidneys are responsible for handling the movement of toxins and liquids in your body and the potassium in avocados help with that.
Folate, present in avocados are vital for the healthy development of babies in the womb. It protects against miscarriages and neural tube defects. Avocados, eaten moderately are recommended for expecting women.