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Avocado is a unique type of fruit which have the highest energy value (245cal/100g) compared to other fruits, with nearly 20 types of vitamins and minerals, including Potassium, lutein and folate. It is used fresh mainly in Sandwich filling and in salads. The biological name of Avocado is Persea Americana and is also known as butter fruit or alligator pear. The article covers the health benefits of avocado.
Some of the varieties of Avocado includes Bacon, Lula, Gwen, Maluma, Hass, Zutano, Reed, Fuerte and Pinkerton. Among the varieties, the most commonly preferred variety by chef is Hass, for its taste and sweet finish. These avocados are pear in shape with a seed inside and is considered as the symbol of love and fertility, due to its growth in pair.
Origination of Avoado
Avocado had its origin in 500 B.C. from Mesoamerica. Then the Spanish Conquistadors knowing about the fruits delicacy and aphrodisiac, took it to Europe. Avocado got its name from Nahuatl meaning “testicle”. At 1833, a horticulturist named Henry Perrine planted it in Florida. But it is not much successful at that time.
In early 1990’s, California farmers planted Avocados in large scale for commercial purpose. Then it got spread to outside of California, Florida and Hawaii, commercially.
Spread of Avocados
After the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico tried to export Avocados to the US.
But US government resisted to import Avocados as fruit flies could cause damage to California’s crops. Then Mexican government exported Avocados only to the northeastern US, during winter as fruit flies cannot survive in winter. The US government then accepted import from Mexico after Mexican government started resisting US corn.
Today, Mexican avocados are supplied throughout the US.
In 2009, Peru joined Mexico and chile as an exporter of avocados to the US.
In 2014 Avocados world production was increased to 5 million tonnes of which Mexico accounts for 30% of production. In US, Avocados are cultivated in Florida and California. California produces 90% of Avocados consumed in US.
In India it is not still popular as commercial fruit but cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical areas in a limited scale and scattered way.
Popular Packaged Products
Avocados ripen in 6 to 10 ten days after harvesting. when it is stored in refrigerator packed in halves, it can withstand for 55 days. Once the pack is opened, it must be consumed before 12 hours. Nowadays it is hard to buy something to eat that does not include Avocado. It have gone such viral and famous. Some of the popular packaged products are M&S and their mini avocados, Waitrose, Kourtney Kardashian’s 3 ingredient Avocado pudding, Frozen Avocados from Tesco, five-course Avocado pop-up in London. It is also used in many cosmetic products. The dried avocados are used in soup, which gives a pleasant rich flavor.
Health Benefits of Avocado
1. Reduces Bad Fat:
Among the other fruits, Avocado is the only fruit that gives substantial amount of monounsaturated fatty acids which is very healthy and easily burns for energy. The monounsaturated fatty acids in Avocados supports the absorption of beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, lutein and omega-3 fatty acids. Adding Avocados to your diet helps you to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
2. Reduces Heart disease:
Nowadays, Coronary heart disease is the biggest problem in the countries US and UK, which is caused due to the high consumption of pro-inflammatory processed vegetable oils. This can be solved by having monounsaturated fatty acids in your diet. Avocados which contains monounsaturated fatty acids are proved to reduce LDL cholesterol(bad cholesterol) in the blood and increases HDL cholesterol(good cholesterol). It also decreases high blood triglyceride levels, another predictor of cardiovascular problems.
3. Maintains Healthy Cholesterol:
Avocados contains 100 milligrams for every 100 gms of beta-sitosterol which is a natural sterol. This helps you to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
4. Reduces High Blood Pressure:
Potassium defect in the body leads to high blood pressure, which in turn leads to heart diseases, stroke and kidney diseases. Avocados rich in potassium helps you in maintaining normal blood pressure and lowers the risk of kidney diseases and heart diseases. Further, provides benefits for heart health and lowers the risk of diabetes.
5. Protects from Cancer Cells:
Avocados a good source of antioxidant carotenoids and oleic acid that inhibits the growth of cancerous cells and causes the death of cancer cells
6. Improves Skin Glow:
The Vitamin-C present in Avocado improves your skin tone and repairs the damaged cells. The anti-oxidant content protects your skin from wrinkles and signs of aging. The avocado oil is used in many cosmetic products.
7. Healthy for Pregnant Women:
The folate found in Avocado is very essential for pregnant women. It prevents birth defects and helps in normal functioning of cell and tissues growth. It lowers the risk of miscarriage and neural tube defects.
8. Cures Constipation:
The high fiber content with 8 grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber improves digestion, encourages regular bowel movements and helps to prevent constipation.
9. Protects Your Eye Vision:
Lutein and Zeaxanthin content in Avocado, provides antioxidant protection to the tissues in the eyes and helps to minimize damage caused by ultraviolet rays.
10. Aids Weight loss:
Avocado is high in fat and calories but it still helps in weight loss. More than two-third of the calories are monounsaturated fatty acids which helps in burning the fat as energy. Also it gives you the feel of full stomach and reduces your hunger and appetite. Consuming nature’s healthiest foods like Avocado aids you for natural weight loss.
Avocados are used in the treatment of Arthritis. It is found to reduce the arthritic pain in the joints. Also the Vitamin k present in Avocado is essential for bone health and used for Osteoporosis prevention.
Although the season for avocados is late winter/early spring, now they are readily available throughout the year in markets. They are now easily found, even on sandwiches and soups in fast food restaurants. Avocado is packed with lot of healthy fats and vitamins. Consume it in regular basis and get all the health benefits of Avocado.