Avocado, perhaps the most misunderstood fruit has a lot to offer to us. The exotic fruit, which is known by the name butter tree, is one of the most healthful fruit available, although for decades it had a bad reputation as fatty food.
The fats are divided into two main categories: unsaturated and saturated. Unsaturated fats are oils that are fluid at room temperature, like olive oil. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature, like butter. In our diet we need both types of fat, but in different amounts. Experts advise that 25% -35% of the daily calorie intake should consist of fat, with only 10% of them coming from saturated fat. Why is fat so necessary? First of all, it is the main source of energy for our body. Secondly, it is necessary to help our body assimilate certain nutrients, such as fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as some antioxidants, such as lycopene and beta-carotene. Third, the fats are essential to the cell structure. Omega-3 fatty acid an unsaturated fat, is important for the proper functioning of the nervous, brain and cardiovascular system.
Well, avocado is rich in unsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids. It helps the body to absorb and utilize valuable nutrients such as carotenoids, like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene, which can be found in the red, yellow and orange fruits and dark green leafy vegetables. The alpha-carotene and beta-carotene protect against coronary heart disease and cancer, while lutein contribute to eye health and protects against macular degeneration – a disease that is a leading cause of blindness for the elderly. Lycopene, finally, helps to protect against prostate cancer. Most fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids, do not contain fat, which helps the absorption of these nutrients. On the contrary, avocado acts as an absorption enhancer. So you may add it fearlessly in your salads! But be careful in the way you peal them out, because the highest concentration of antioxidants in avocados are in greenish piece of the flesh of the fruit, just under its skin.
As for proteins, avocado is one of the fruits with the highest content, about 4 g. / fruit, and its proteins are directly absorbed by the body. It also contains 18 of the most important amino acids, and has more potassium than bananas (975 mg of potassium opposed to 487mg per banana) and is rich in fiber.
The creamy texture of the fruit and the healthy fats it contains, make it an ideal substitute for butter in your daily cooking. By keeping the right proportions, you can substitute part of the butter in all kind of recipes. Furthermore, avocado is beneficial for the hair and skin because of the valuable amino acids and essential oils it contains. Rich as it is in vitamins A, B, C and E, has significant moisturizing and healing properties for the skin. The avocado oil, derived from the flesh of the fruit is used in aromatherapy as a solvent of essential oils, as well as a base for herbal massage oil. Moreover, when spread on the skin, it acts as a filter for solar radiation, it is hypoallergenic and it resembles to lanolin, as it has the ability to penetrate deep into the skin, by moisturizing and softening it.
The fruit ripens completely when cut from the tree. To speed up the ripening of an avocado, place it in a paper bag with an apple or a banana and leave at room temperature. Do not refrigerate, unless you want to slow down the ripening of the fruit. When cut, keep it in the refrigerator for 2 days and in the freezer for 2 months. To prevent oxidation of its flesh when cut, coat it with some lemon or lime juice.