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Diet-Health.info Foundation G+E, Diet and Health Areas of interest Diet-Health.info Foundation G+E, Diet and Health Areas of interest Diet-Health.info Foundation G+E Areas of interest

Avocado

The nutritious pulp of raw avocados is yellowish green to golden yellow, soft, and has an almost buttery consistency. It can be used for savory or sweet dishes.

Avocados have a high fat content, and thanks to the creamy consistency of the pulp are also known as “butter fruits.”

General information:

From Wikipedia: “The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree that is native to South Central Mexico, classified as a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. Avocado (also alligator pear) also refers to the tree's fruit, which is botanically a large berry containing a single seed.

Avocados are commercially valuable and are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. They have a green-skinned, fleshy body that may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical. Commercially, they ripen after harvesting. Avocado trees are partially self-pollinating and often are propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit.”

Nutritional value:

“A typical serving of avocado (100 g) is moderate to rich in several B vitamins and vitamin K, with good content of vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium. Avocados also contain phytosterols and carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin.

Avocados have diverse fats. For a typical avocado: About 75% of an avocado's energy comes from fat, most of which (67% of total fat) is monounsaturated fat asoleic acid. Other predominant fats include palmitic acid and linoleic acid. The saturated fat content amounts to 14% of the total fat. ...”

Diet and preliminary research:

“A 2013 epidemiological NHANES study funded by the Hass Avocado Board showed that American avocado consumers had better overall diet quality, nutrient levels, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome; why they had better diet quality and how the confluence of these factors contributed to health benefits was not determined.

High avocado intake was shown in one preliminary study to lower blood cholesterol levels. Specifically, after a seven-day diet rich in avocados, mild hypercholesterolemia patients showed a 17% decrease in total serum cholesterol levels. These subjects showed a 22% decrease in LDL (harmful cholesterol) and triglyceride levels and 11% increase in HDL (helpful cholesterol) levels. In a study of obese patients on a moderate fat diet (34% of calories), consumption of one avocado (136 g) per day over 5 weeks produced a significant reduction of circulating LDL, an effect the authors attributed to the avocado's combination of monounsaturated fats, dietary fiber and the phytosterol, beta-sitosterol.”

Culinary uses:

“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 orlemon 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 popular in vegetarian cuisine as a substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content.

Generally, avocado is served raw, though some cultivars, including the common 'Hass', can be cooked for a short time without becoming bitter. Caution should be used when cooking with untested cultivars; the flesh of some avocados may be rendered inedible by heat. Prolonged cooking induces this chemical reaction in all cultivars.”

Postharvest:

“Like the banana, the avocado is a climacteric fruit, which matures on the tree, but ripens off the tree. Avocados used in commerce are picked hard and green and kept in coolers at 3.3 to 5.6 °C (37.9 to 42.1 °F) until they reach their final destination. ... Once picked, avocados ripen in one to two weeks (depending on the cultivar) at room temperature (faster if stored with other fruits such as apples or bananas, because of the influence of ethylene gas).”

Allergies:

“Some people have allergic reactions to avocado. There are two main forms of allergy: those with a tree-pollen allergy develop local symptoms in the mouth and throat shortly after eating avocado; the second, known as latex-fruit syndrome, ... symptoms include generalised urticaria, abdominal pain, and vomiting and can sometimes be life-threatening.”

Interesting facts:

The toxin persin is present in the entire avocado plant. It can be toxic to some animals when consumed in larger amounts but is not toxic to humans.