Avocado nutrient content

Avocado

Avocado: The Creamy Green Superfood

Avocados have transcended beyond the realm of mere fruits; they are a culinary and cultural phenomenon. Known for their creamy texture and rich, nutty flavor, avocados are a favorite in many dishes—from salads to smoothies to the ever-popular avocado toast. In this listicle, we delve into the characteristics, health benefits, and nutritional profile of this beloved green fruit.

Avocado

Characteristics

  • Type: Fruit, specifically a berry with a single large seed
  • Origin: Native to south-central Mexico
  • Color: Green skin, often darkening with ripeness; green to yellow-green flesh
  • Shape: Pear-shaped to rounded
  • Taste: Creamy, rich, and nutty
  • Texture: Smooth and buttery when ripe
  • Growing Season: Year-round, depending on the region
  • Storage: Store unripe avocados at room temperature; refrigerate when ripe
  • Cooking Methods: Commonly eaten raw but can also be grilled, baked, or even deep-fried
    Avocado

Health Benefits

1. Nutrient-Rich

Avocados are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them incredibly nutrient-dense.

2. Heart Health

High levels of monounsaturated fats in avocados are beneficial for heart health and can lower bad cholesterol levels.

3. Aids Digestion

The fiber content helps to keep the digestive system running smoothly.

4. Good for Vision

They are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are beneficial for eye health.

5. Anti-Inflammatory

The omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in avocados have anti-inflammatory properties.

6. Skin and Hair Care

Rich in vitamins E and K, avocados are great for the skin and hair.

7. Weight Management

The fiber and healthy fats help you feel full longer, aiding in weight management.

8. Blood Sugar Regulation

The monounsaturated fats can improve insulin sensitivity, thereby helping to regulate blood sugar levels.

Avocado

Nutritional Table (Per 100g Serving)

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 160 8%
Protein 2g 4%
Total Fat 15g 23%
Carbohydrates 9g 3%
Fiber 7g 28%
Sugar 0.7g
Calcium 12mg 1%
Iron 0.6mg 3%
Magnesium 29mg 7%
Phosphorus 52mg 5%
Potassium 485mg 14%
Sodium 7mg <1%
Zinc 0.6mg 4%
Vitamin A 146 IU 3%
Vitamin C 10mg 17%
Vitamin K 21mcg 26%
Folate 81mcg 20%
Vitamin B6 0.3mg 13%

Avocado

Whether you’re mashing it onto toast or blending it into a smoothie, the avocado is a versatile and nutritious addition to your diet. With numerous health benefits and an exceptional nutritional profile, this creamy green fruit truly deserves its superfood status. Keep them stocked in your kitchen to enjoy the best of what avocados have to offer.

The avocado (Persea americana) is a medium-sized, evergreen tree in the laurel family (Lauraceae). It is native to the Americas and was first domesticated by Mesoamerican tribes more than 5,000 years ago. Then as now it was prized for its large and unusually oily fruit. The tree likely originated in the highlands bridging south-central Mexico and Guatemala. Its fruit, sometimes also referred to as an alligator or avocado pear, is botanically a large berry containing a single large seed. Avocado trees are partially self-pollinating, and are often propagated through grafting to maintain consistent fruit output. Avocados are presently cultivated in the tropical and Mediterranean climates of many countries. Mexico is the world’s leading producer of avocados as of 2020, supplying nearly 30% of the global harvest in that year.

The fruit of domestic varieties have smooth, buttery, golden-green flesh when ripe. Depending on the cultivar, avocados have green, brown, purplish, or black skin, and may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical. For commercial purposes the fruits are picked while immature and ripened after harvesting. The nutrient density and extremely high fat content of avocado flesh are useful to a variety of cuisines and are often eaten to enrich vegetarian diets.

Avocado trees bear one of the most resource-intensive fruits under wide cultivation, with each avocado fruit requiring 70 litres (18 US gallons; 15 imperial gallons) of water to grow. Despite the C3 photosynthesis of the avocado tree, which consumes atmospheric carbon dioxide to generate the fruit, the industrial scale on which the trees are farmed nevertheless makes avocado production a net carbon source, with more than 400 grams (218 liters) of CO2 being emitted per fruit grown.[12] In major production regions like Chile, Mexico and California the water demands of avocado farms place serious strain on local sources. Avocado production is also implicated in other externalities, including environmental justice, human rights concerns, deforestation and the partial control of their production in Mexico by organized crime. Global warming is expected to result in significant changes to the suitable growing zones for avocados, and place additional pressures on the locales in which they are produced due to heat waves and drought.

The fruit of horticultural cultivars has a markedly higher fat content than most other fruit, mostly monounsaturated fat, and as such serves as an important staple in the diet of consumers who have limited access to other fatty foods (high-fat meats and fish, dairy products). Having a high smoke point, avocado oil is expensive compared to common salad and cooking oils, and is mostly used for salads or dips.

A ripe avocado yields to gentle pressure when held in the palm of the hand and squeezed. The flesh is prone to enzymatic browning, quickly turning brown after exposure to air. To prevent this, lime or lemon juice can be added to avocados after peeling.

The fruit is not sweet, but distinctly and subtly flavored, with smooth texture. It is used in both savory and sweet dishes, though in many countries not for both. The avocado is common in vegetarian cuisine as a substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fatcontent.

Generally, avocado is served raw, though some cultivars, including the common ‘Hass’, can be cooked for a short time without becoming bitter. The flesh of some avocados may be rendered inedible by heat. Prolonged cooking induces this chemical reaction in all cultivars.

It is used as the base for the Mexican dip known as guacamole, as well as a spread on corn tortillas or toast, served with spices. Avocado is a primary ingredient in avocado soup. Avocado slices are frequently added to hamburgers and tortas and is a key ingredient in California rolls and other makizushi (“maki”, or rolled sushi).

In the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, and southern India (especially the coastal Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka region), avocados are frequently used for milkshakes and occasionally added to ice cream and other desserts. In Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, a dessert drink is made with sugar, milk or water, and pureed avocado. Chocolate syrup is sometimes added. In Morocco, a similar chilled avocado and milk drink is sweetened with confectioner’s sugar and flavored with a touch of orange flower water.

Avocado

In Ethiopia, avocados are made into juice by mixing them with sugar and milk or water, usually served with Vimto and a slice of lemon. It is also common to serve layered multiple fruit juices in a glass (locally called Spris) made of avocados, mangoes, bananas, guavas, and papayas. Avocados are also used to make salads.

Avocados in savory dishes, often seen as exotic, are a relative novelty in Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Brazil, where the traditional preparation is mashed with sugar and lime, and eaten as a dessert or snack. This contrasts with Spanish-speaking countries such as Chile, Mexico, or Argentina, where the opposite is true and sweet preparations are rare.

In Australia and New Zealand, avocados are commonly served on sandwiches, sushi, toast, or with chicken. In Ghana, they are often eaten alone on sliced bread as a sandwich. In Sri Lanka, their well-ripened flesh, thoroughly mashed or pureed with milk and kitul treacle (a liquid jaggery made from the sap of the inflorescence of jaggery palms), is a common dessert. In Haiti, they are often consumed with cassava or regular bread for breakfast.

In Mexico and Central America, avocados are served mixed with white rice, in soups, salads, or on the side of chicken and meat. They are also commonly added to pozole. In Peru, they are consumed with tequeños as mayonnaise, served as a side dish with parrillas, used in salads and sandwiches, or as a whole dish when filled with tuna, shrimp, or chicken. In Chile, it is used as a puree-like sauce with chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs; and in slices for celery or lettuce salads. The Chilean version of Caesar salad contains large slices of mature avocado. In Kenya and Nigeria, the avocado is often eaten as a fruit alone or mixed with other fruits in a fruit salad, or as part of a vegetable salad.

In the United Kingdom, the avocado became available during the 1960s when introduced by Sainsbury’s under the name ‘avocado pear’. Much of the success of avocados in the UK is attributed to a long-running promotional campaign initiated by South African growers in 1995.

Raw avocado flesh is 73% water, 15% fat, 9% carbohydrates, and 2% protein (table). In a 100 gram reference amount, avocado supplies 200 calories, and is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of several B vitamins (such as 28% DV in pantothenic acid) and vitamin K (20% DV), with moderate contents (10–19% DV) of vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium. Avocados also contain phytosterols and carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin.

Avocado

Fat composition

Avocados have diverse fats. For a typical one:

  • About 75% of an avocado’s energy comes from fat, most of which (67% of total fat) is monounsaturated fat as oleic acid (table).
  • Other predominant fats include palmitic acid and linoleic acid.
  • The saturated fat content amounts to 14% of the total fat.
  • Typical total fat composition is roughly: 1% ω-3, 14% ω-6, 71% ω-9 (65% oleic and 6% palmitoleic), and 14% saturated fat (palmitic acid).

Although costly to produce, nutrient-rich avocado oil has a multitude of uses for salads or cooking and in cosmetics and soap products.

Synonyms:
Avocado pear, Aguacate

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