Avocado, an exotic fruit with many benefits

Fruit of a tree native to Central and South America, the avocado is prized for its tender flesh like butter. A true chameleon of appetizers and starters, it can be prepared in a thousand and one ways, whether with a vinaigrette, in salad, in mousse, stuffed or in the traditional guacamole. Avocado can also be a delicious and original sandwich filling. Although it is known for its high fat content, it also contains a very wide variety of vitamins and minerals.

Characteristics of avocado

  • Rich in fiber;
  • Rich in “good fatty acids”;
  • Source of vitamin K;
  • Protects the cardiovascular system;
  • Stimulates intestinal transit.

Avocado nutritional and caloric values

For 100 g of avocado:

NutrientsAverage content
Energy205 kcal
Water70.3 g
Protein1.56 g
Carbohydrates0.83 g
Lipids20.6 g
Sugars0.4 g
Dietary fiber3.6 g
Saturated FA4.51 g
Monounsaturated FA12.3 g
Polyunsaturated FAs2.83 g
GA 18: 1 9c (n-9), oleic8.72 g
GA 18: 2 9c, 12c (n-6), linoleic2.68 g
GA 18: 3 c9, c12, c15 (n-3), alpha-linolenic0.15 g
Cholesterol<0.5 mg
Calcium9.4 mg
Copper0.18 mg
Iron0.34 mg
Magnesium21 mg
Manganese0.2 mg
Phosphorus38 mg
Potassium430 mg
Selenium<20 µg
Sodium6 mg
Zinc0.43 mg
Beta carotene<5 µg
Vitamin D0 µg
Vitamin E2.23 mg
Vitamin K114.5 µg
Vitamin C<0.5 mg
Vitamin B1 or Thiamine0.052 mg
Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin0.037 mg
Vitamin B3 or PP or Niacin1.56 mg
Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid1.07 mg
Vitamin B60.17 mg
Vitamin B9 or Total Folate70.4 µg
Vitamin B120 µg

Avocado is characterized by its high calorie content blithely displaying 205 Cal / 100 g. It is particularly rich in lipids (20.6 g / 100 g) with a high proportion of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, but it is low in cholesterol. Note that vitamins D and B12 are conspicuous by their absence. Good source of vitamin E and potassium.

 The benefits of avocado: why eat it?

Oilseed fruit par excellence, it is the essential ally in preventing cardiovascular diseases.

Avocado is rich in antioxidants 

Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals. These are very reactive molecules that are believed to be involved in the development of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and other diseases linked to aging.

Among the antioxidants, zinc is present in interesting amounts. It participates in particular in immune reactions, in the production of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds and in the development of the fetus. Zinc also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it participates in the synthesis (manufacture), storage and release of insulin.

A high source of fiber

With 3.6g of fiber per 100g of flesh, avocado is considered a high source of fiber. Dietary fibers, which are found only in plants, include a set of substances that are not digested by the body. A diet high in fiber is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer and may help satisfy appetite by making you feel full more quickly.

To fill up with “good fatty acids”

Although avocado is high in fat, it is mostly made up of unsaturated fatty acids (mainly monounsaturated), considered “good” fatty acids for cardiovascular health. In humans, a study has shown that replacing part of the fat in the diet with avocado for three weeks could lower blood lipids, without lowering the concentration of HDL cholesterol ( “Good” cholesterol).

An excellent source of vitamin B5

Avocado is an excellent source of pantothenic acid. Also known as vitamin B5, pantothenic acid is part of a key coenzyme that allows us to adequately utilize the energy found in the foods we eat. It also participates in several stages of the synthesis (manufacture) of steroid hormones, neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses) and hemoglobin.

A good intake of vitamin B6

Also called pyridoxine, vitamin B6 is part of coenzymes involved in the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids as well as in the synthesis (manufacture) of neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It also helps in the production of red blood cells and allows them to carry more oxygen. Pyridoxine is also necessary for the conversion of glycogen into glucose and it contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system. Finally, this vitamin plays a role in the formation of certain components of nerve cells and in the modulation of hormone receptors.

READ ALSO:  Oats : Benefits & Nutritional values

Rich in vitamin K

Avocado is an excellent source of vitamin K. Vitamin K is necessary for the synthesis (manufacture) of proteins acting in blood clotting (both in stimulating and in inhibiting blood clotting). It also plays a role in the formation of bones. In addition to being found in the diet, vitamin K is produced by intestinal bacteria, hence the rarity of deficiencies in this vitamin.

A significant source of phosphorus, magnesium and potassium

Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. It plays a vital role in building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. In addition, it participates among other things in the growth and regeneration of tissues and helps maintain normal blood pH. Finally, phosphorus is one of the constituents of cell membranes.

Magnesium is involved in bone development, protein building, enzymatic actions, muscle contraction, dental health and the functioning of the immune system. It also plays a role in energy metabolism and in the transmission of nerve impulses.

In the body, potassium is used to balance the pH of the blood and to stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, thereby aiding digestion. In addition, it facilitates the contraction of muscles, including the heart, and participates in the transmission of nerve impulses.

A good source of iron

Each body cell contains iron. This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood. It also plays a role in the manufacture of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It should be noted that the iron contained in foods of plant origin is less well absorbed by the body than the iron contained in foods of animal origin. However, the absorption of iron from plants is favored when it is consumed with certain nutrients, such as vitamin C.

Presence of copper in significant quantities

As a component of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (a protein used for the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also help in the body’s defense against free radicals.

A word from the nutritionist

Avocado is characterized by a considerable caloric intake knowing that we rarely consume more than 100 g. Those responsible are lipids and in particular oleic acid (monounsaturated fatty acid). From a qualitative point of view, oleic acid is interesting because it is recommended for a good prevention of cardiovascular diseases. However, it remains to be consumed in moderation.

 Choosing the right lawyer

When harvested, an avocado weighs on average 300 g. It has dark green or even black skin, which can be smooth or rough. It contains a green, creamy flesh and a large stone.

Lawyer ID card

  • Family: Lauraceae;
  • Origin: Central and South America;
  • Season: October to April;
  • Green color ;
  • Flavor: Sweet and creamy.

The different varieties

Avocado varieties are classified into three subgroups: Mexican, Guatemalan and West Indian, according to their degree of cold tolerance and the various characteristics of their fruits: size, nutritional composition, flavor, etc. What you need to know in practice is that the fruits of the West Indian subgroup (which are sometimes referred to as “Florida avocados” because, in this state, we mainly cultivate the varieties of this sub-group. group) can contain up to half the fat of the other two. Unfortunately, this information does not appear on products (fresh or frozen) offered in stores. However, we mainly find in our markets the Haas variety, which belongs to the Guatemalan sub-group and whose fruits are particularly rich in fat.

READ ALSO:  Garlic Benefits & Nutritional values

Purchase of avocado

Choose an avocado that is fairly heavy, not too firm, and without a black spot or bruising. The color of the skin is not an indicator of maturity but rather of variety. Avoid fruits that are very soft or have withered skin because they are overripe.

Keep well

Avocados often arrive in our markets still green, which is not necessarily a disadvantage, as they can be easily ripened at room temperature by keeping them in a brown paper bag. If you want to speed up the process, you put an apple in the bag: by releasing ethylene, it will ripen the fruits, which should be ready to eat two to five days later.

In case there is a surplus, it is possible to freeze the avocado. It will first be transformed into a puree, because it freezes badly when it is presented whole or cut into slices. Wash the fruit, cut it in half lengthwise, remove the core, peel and mash the flesh, and add lemon juice (about a tablespoon for two avocados). Put the mash in a rigid container, leaving a centimeter empty and freeze. Do not keep for more than five months in the freezer.

 Preparing the avocado

Avocado lends itself to different preparations. As the flesh of the avocado oxidizes easily, we recommend that you always use stainless steel utensils to work it. For the same reason, if you do not plan to serve it immediately after cutting or crushing it, sprinkle it with lemon juice, lime juice or vinegar.

How to cook it? How to match it?

There would be three types of avocado lovers: those who like it salty, those who prefer it sweet and those who enjoy it both ways. All over the world, this unusual product has been adapted to local cuisine and, depending on whether you are on the sweet or the salty side of the flavor menu, it is prepared as a vegetable or as a fruit.

Guacamole

The Aztecs ate mashed avocado which they called ahuaca-hulli, a word which, by deformation, gave rise to guacamole. Originally, the dish did not include onions, lime or coriander leaves, these three ingredients being unknown in America before the arrival of the Spaniards.

Guacamole, which Mexicans garnish with jalapeno pepper and sometimes tomatoes, goes well with many sauces. If the avocado is essential, the other ingredients vary depending on how it is prepared:

  • Japanese style: grated daikon, soy sauce, wasabi, rice vinegar, sesame seeds and dried seaweed;
  • Spanish style: chopped olives, toasted almonds, parsley and a little brandy;
  • Argentinian style: lightly grilled saffron and thyme sprigs;
  • Southwest style: corn kernels;
  • Californian style: goat cheese, grilled pistachios, coriander leaves and garlic;
  • Jamaican style: mango, coconut, pineapple, red pepper and lime juice;
  • Parisian style: gray shallots, tarragon, lemon juice and dry vermouth;
  • Italian style: parmesan, toasted pine nuts, sundried tomatoes, basil and wine vinegar.

As a vegetable

To avoid discoloration of the fruit, prepare the dish only before serving it or keep it in the refrigerator by covering the bowl with plastic film so that it remains in contact with the preparation, in order to exclude the ‘air.

Because of its richness in tannin, avocado is generally not cooked: it risks becoming bitter. If you want to integrate it into hot dishes (stews, omelets, soups), you do so at the very end of cooking. You can also heat it over a very low heat in the oven, then stuff it with the ingredients of your choice, scrambled eggs, for example.

More commonly, avocado is eaten raw. In addition to the plain half-avocado, served with a vinaigrette or stuffed, the flesh can be used in various preparations:

  • by adding it to sushi;
  • in a cold sauce for poached fish, mashing it with capers, green olives stuffed with red pepper, lime juice and olive oil;
  • by adding it to tacos; in Mexico, it is used outright as butter, hence the vernacular name of “butter fruit”.
READ ALSO:  Arbutus and its antioxidant benefits

Like fruit

  • In Brazil, it is crushed and added to sherbets, ice creams and milkshakes;
  • In Java, its flesh is mixed with very strong and very sweet black coffee, while in the rest of Indonesia, it is mixed with milk, coffee and rum;
  • Asians living in Hawaii take it sweetened with other fruits such as pineapple, orange, grapefruit, date or banana.

For dessert

Whoever has never consumed avocado as a fruit should try it mashed with, in roughly equal parts, banana and pineapple, and a little honey. Or mix its flesh with cream cheese and pineapple juice and serve on chunks of fruit.

 Contraindications and allergies to avocado

The consumption of avocado requires some precautions in case of taking anticoagulant drugs or allergy to latex.

Vitamin K and anticoagulants

Avocado contains a high amount of vitamin K. This vitamin, necessary among other things for blood clotting, can be made by the body in addition to being found in certain foods. People taking blood thinning medications, such as those marketed under the names Coumadin®, Warfilone® and Sintrom®, should eat a diet in which the vitamin K content is relatively stable from day to day. Health Canada reminds that avocado can change the blood level of anticoagulants. It is therefore preferable not to consume too much of it at the same time.

Latex allergy

Studies have shown that allergy to latex, a material used in particular for making medical gloves, could be associated with an allergy to certain foods such as avocado. Researchers have identified hevein as the compound believed to be responsible for avocado allergy in people with latex allergies. Listed symptoms of avocado allergy could include hives and even anaphylaxis. It is therefore recommended that people allergic to latex perform food allergy tests, including avocado, banana, chestnut and kiwi.

 History of the lawyer

The avocado takes its name from the Spanish aguacate, which borrowed it from the Aztec ahuacatl, whose meaning is “testicle”, by analogy with the shape of this organ.

The avocado kernel produces a milky liquid on squeeze with the smell and flavor of almonds. Due to its tannin content, this liquid turns red when exposed to air. The Spanish conquerors drew from it an indelible ink which was used to write many official documents which are today kept in the archives of the city of Popayàn, in Colombia.

Where is he from ?

The avocado probably comes from Mexico and possibly also Guatemala, where many wild species are still found today. Thanks to the discovery of cores in caves, it is known that the Aztecs and Mayans of Mexico and Guatemala ate the fruit about 10,000 years ago. It is also believed that they cultivated it 7,000 or 8,000 years ago, as much larger and oval-shaped nuclei have been found in other sites dating from this time, signs, according to experts, of improvements. attributable to human intervention. If the avocado was so popular in pre-Columbian America, it is apparently because it provided the Amerindians with the precious fats that were otherwise lacking in their diet.

After the Conquest, the Spaniards made the avocado tree and its fruit known to the rest of the world, introducing it to Europe as early as 1519, then to the West Indies, as well as to practically all the tropical and subtropical regions where conditions prevailed. conducive to its culture.

Long reserved for large tables

In the West, the fruit will long remain a food reserved for the aristocracy and the upper middle class. It was not until the Americans began to cultivate it on a large scale at the beginning of the 20th century for it to find its place on the plate of ordinary people.

Today the avocado tree is cultivated in many countries of South and Central America, Africa and Oceania, as well as in southern Europe and the United States (Florida and California). An oil is obtained from the pulp of the fruit which is widely used in massage therapy and cosmetology.


References

  • Food composition table, Ciqual 2020
  • California Avocado Commission. Avocado.org [Accessed September 24, 2003]. www.avocado.org
  • History of Avocados. Cavalo.com [Accessed September 24, 2003]. http://calavo.com
  • Sophie D. America’s First Cuisines. University of Texas Press, United States, 1994.
  • Dauzat Albert, Dubois Jean, Mitterand, Henri. New etymological and historical dictionary, Librairie Larousse, France, 1971.
  • Desaulniers Marguerite, Dubost Mireille. Food Composition Table, volume 1, Department of Nutrition, University of Montreal, Canada, 2003.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica. Avocado. Britannica.com [Accessed September 24, 2003].
Avocado, an exotic fruit with many benefits
Scroll to top