The avocado is a fleshy, creamy fruit, obtained from tropical tree called the avocado tree. The fruit is between 5 and 6 cm long, while its normal weight varies from 200 to 400 g, although avocados weighing up to two kilos can be found.
Despite this, the most interesting thing about avocado is not its physical attributes. What many have no idea is that, in addition to its taste, it can contribute in many ways to maintaining good health. Whether consuming its pulp or making tea from its leaves, the benefits gained are numerous.
They are extremely nutritious, rich in folate, potassium and healthy fats, in addition to vitamins K, C and E. They also contain amounts of B vitamins and minerals such as copper, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron and zinc .
According to the nutrologist Isolda Prado “avocado is a fruit rich in oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat that helps to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase those of good cholesterol (HDL), being beneficial to heart health .”
We made an overview with the most relevant information about the properties of the avocado, its uses and benefits supported by science. Check out!
5 Health Benefits of Avocado
In general terms, avocado acts on the health of the body through the following benefits:
1- Keep your heart healthy
There are several studies that prove the benefits of avocado pulp for health and the heart seems to be one of the biggest beneficiaries. That’s because the fruit is rich in fats considered healthy that help the cardiovascular system in many ways.
Avocado is considered a caloric food, and 70% of these calories are from fats, which are accompanied by fatty acids, with omega-9 being the main one.
This acid has the ability to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and lower triglycerides. The result is a significant decrease in the chances of suffering from heart attacks and strokes . ( 1 )
2- Controls blood pressure
Avocado is a great ally in the control of hypertension . This is due to the abundant presence of potassium in your constitution. To give you an idea, it presents values of this nutrient similar to those found in bananas, a fruit that is a reference in this regard.
Intake of potassium, in addition to lowering blood pressure, also decreases the individual’s chances of suffering a stroke. So, whether you’re hypertensive or not, it’s worth giving avocado a chance to keep your cardiovascular health up to date. ( 2 )
3- Helps you lose weight
In the search for a slimmer and healthier body, avocado can be of great help. This is because the fruit has a low carbohydrate content and a good amount of fiber, which helps to increase the feeling of satiety . Also for this reason, it has been adopted by practitioners of low carb and ketogenic diets (which restrict carbohydrates).
It is known that no food alone is able to promote weight loss. However, considering the benefits and properties of avocado, its inclusion in a balanced diet can actually help you lose weight.
4- Protects the vision
Avocado contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two essential phytochemicals for the health of eye tissues, which, through their antioxidant action, protect vision and help minimize everyday damage, including those caused by artificial and ultraviolet light. “Since it is rich in lutein, which is a carotenoid known as the “eye vitamin”, the fruit is considered good for eyesight”, stresses Isolda Prado.
Because avocado’s monounsaturated fatty acids also support the absorption of other antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins, such as beta-carotene and vitamin A, adding avocado pulp to your diet can help reduce your risk of developing age- related macular degeneration . ( 4 )
5- Increases nutrient absorption
Most people know that taking vitamins and minerals is good for your health. What few people know, however, is that many of these nutrients need fat to be metabolized in the digestive tract.
Some vitamins, such as A (essential for eye, nail and skin health), D (essential for growth and maintenance of bone health), E (important antioxidant), K (essential for cardiovascular health) and carotenoids, are fat soluble , that is, they need the fat to be absorbed. Thus, the intake of avocado, which is rich in unsaturated fat, can increase nutrient absorption between 2 and 15 times. ( 5 )
Avocado is a source of magnesium and potassium. These elements favor the proper functioning of the nervous and muscular system. Furthermore, nutrients are of great importance for the immune system . Not to mention its importance for the health of the small intestine and for preventing fluid retention. ( 2 )
Because it has vitamins from groups A, D, K and B, it ends up being a great antioxidant, as the doctor reinforces. The content of vitamins C and E makes the fruit essential for the body’s neurological levels and cardiovascular health. Its richness in fiber makes the body satisfy its appetite, avoid constipation and regulate blood glucose levels.
However, Isolda warns: “avocado is a fruit, which despite its benefits, is very caloric and should be enjoyed in moderation.”
|100 gram serving||Amount per serving|
|Energetic value||96 Kcal|
|C vitamin||8,7 mg|
* Daily reference values based on a 2000kcal or 8400kj diet. Your daily values can be higher or lower depending on your energy needs. Data taken from TACO, revised and expanded edition. ( 6 )
Avocado leaf tea
From the avocado leaves you can make a powerful tea, full of nutrients for the body. This part of the plant contains proteins, fibers, minerals and phytochemicals that are useful for human health. Among the benefits of its consumption are: fighting ulcers, kidney stones and diarrhea. See how to make the infusion below, if you want to know more details just click here .
how to make tea
- 10 avocado leaves
- 1 liter of water
- Brown sugar or honey to taste, optional.
Put the ingredients in a pan and boil for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Strain, sweeten and you’re done. The indication is to take up to 3 times a day.
Curiosities about avocado
- Why do avocados darken once cut? When you cut an avocado, you are breaking down the cell walls of the fruit and this causes oxidation. This oxidation process can be avoided by adding an acidic agent (such as lemon or lime juice) and limiting the surface area exposed to air;
- Avocado is a great nutritional source of potassium , containing 60% more than the banana itself, famous for being a source of the mineral;
- European sailors in ancient times used avocado as a substitute for butter;
- Hass avocado contains more fiber than any other commonly consumed fruit;
- Eating ripe avocados at least once a day is a healthy way to keep bad cholesterol in check;
- In addition to consuming the pulp of the fruit, it has many other uses. The avocado oil is used in beauty products and treatments to slow aging and to maintain healthy and wrinkle – free skin. Fruit-based masks and even shampoo are made to keep hair healthier and more shiny.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to store
To store them properly, keep avocados at room temperature until they are ripe. If the fruit is ripe but you don’t want to eat it yet, put it in the fridge . So it can remain fit for consumption for another three or five days.
how to freeze
Wash, peel and place in a freezer bag (airtight zip lock), taking as much air as possible. It can be frozen whole, half or in cubes. To maintain its color, add a little lemon juice to the pieces of fruit.
How to choose
It is not always easy to find the right spot for this fruit. The most inexperienced can have difficulties. But there are some criteria that make the choice less complex.
- Color : the first step is to look at the color, which should be between a medium to dark green. (Light green means it hasn’t matured yet, brownish tones indicate it’s past the point).
- Consistency : lightly squeeze the fruit, if it is soft it indicates that it is ready for consumption. (Too hard indicates it is green; soft, it is past the point).
how to mature
This fruit is usually sold still unripe, but there are ways to speed up its maturation. However, moving the process forward can change the natural flavor a little.
- In the microwave : Pierce all sides of the fruit with a fork. Place in the microwave on a plate with a napkin and set for 30 seconds. If necessary, repeat the same time.
- In the oven: Wrap the fruit with aluminum foil and place in the oven, at 200 degrees, for 10 minutes.
- In the newspaper: Wrap the fruit in newspaper and place in a warm place for two days.
- On paper : Place the fruit in a paper bag and add an apple. The ethylene gas released by the apple will accelerate ripening.
How to eat
At first it can be frightening, but opening the avocado is not a seven-headed beast. There is a very easy way to make the fruit ready for consumption and use it in different formats. Check out:
Avocado is a fruit with a strong and smooth flavor, with a smooth and creamy consistency. This allows it to be combined with a huge range of other foods. Including it in the diet is not a problem, after all it is easily found in all regions of the country.
See three practical and tasty recipes recommended by Dr. Isolda Prado:
- Pâté : you can knead or beat in a blender a medium avocado, add green scent, salt, a chopped onion and olives and a little oil. Serve chilled as an accompaniment to toast and bread.
- Vitamin : half ripe avocado and half a liter of milk shaken in a blender. You can add some brown sugar too.
- Salad dressing: Blend a ripe avocado, a little garlic, salt to taste, juice of 2 lemons and a little oil in a blender .
Avocado is originally from the tropical and subtropical regions of Central America, its trees can reach a height of 20 meters, not bearing fruit before four or seven years of age. Its shape resembles a pear, although it is larger.
The bark, in general, is green, but its hue can vary between light and dark, becoming brown in some cases. The texture can also be softer or firmer, whose yellowish and buttery pulp covers a large seed, also edible.
Avocado is a tasty fruit and widely available in markets and fairs at a price considerably accessible to most of the population. Whether through the tea from its leaves or the pulp of ripe avocado, there is no lack of benefits that reinforce its indication as an excellent ally to health.
So, did you like to know the amazing properties that avocado has? From now on, be sure to take this super food home when you go shopping.