Spotlight: Avocados

Avocado, or as our friendly Aussie neighbours call them:

“Avos”

So why should you eat them?

The best way to start the day – Avo and Vegemite( credit Google)



Relatively low in sugars, commonly mistaken for a vegetable and described as having a ‘creamy’ or ‘neutral’ flavour.

Often labelled as a ‘superfood’, this green ancient wonder has been around for millennia, and was believed to have originated from Mexico.

Particularly high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; the avocado is in actuality a fatty berry of sorts. Which may be why the berry flourished as a source of valuable fatty acids and nutrients in the past. It’s high energy content would have kept many ancient Aztecians alive during famine.

Origin

“A-voe-cah-doe”

Some literal translations from the Spanish, Mexican and Aztecian language believe the tropical berry resembled the human testicle, hence the translation would be ‘testicle berry’.

lol.

Don’t let that put you off though. In the English language, the name Avocado sounded relatively similar to the Latin ‘Advocare’ aka ‘Advocate’ (lawyer), and thus, was renamed so in the north.

It is theAvocado whom is responsible for that common green dip (Guacamole), you may see accompanying nachos at your next family gathering.

The versatile berry has nowadays spread across the world as an international favourite, smushing its deliciousness and health benefits onto toast, sushi (USA and Australia), milkshakes (Brazil, Vietnam and Thailand) – even ice cream!

Breakdown: Nutrient-style

High in monounsaturated fats (these are good. Eat more of these), high in the fat soluble carotenoids (Vitamin A); Beta-carotine (think: rich orange pigment responsible for eye health) and zeaxanthin. Not to mention the potent shot of Folate (important in pregnancy regarding the health of the fetus’ neurological development), and Vitamin B5 (which makes up 20% and 28% of Avocado’s composition respectively). Vitamin B5/Panthothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin important for the synthesis of CoA; I can’t emphasize enough how important CoA  is in the body’s metabolism of fatty acids and energy….

The nutrient composition tells all

So I’ll just stick with: IT’S VERY IMPORTANT. 

Claims to fame

I haven’t even started on the mineral composition either, but I think by now you’d understand that the host of nutritional benefits, make Avos a truly incredible fruit to be eating. The nutritional journal of 2013 even stated that:

Avocado consumption is associated with improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome(1).

Anna’s translation: eating Avocados means you eat better on the whole, have a better range of nutrients in your diet, and are less likely to die from heart disease or lifestyle-related mortality. 

The American Heart foundation also added in their site ‘Circulation’:

Including one avocado per day in a heart-healthy diet lowers plasma oxidized LDL and lutein concentration; the benefits extend beyond their fatty acid content. The change in oxidized LDL by diet was correlated with a change in small LDL but not large LDL particles (2) .

Anna’s translation: Eating even ONE Avocado a day (alongside a healthy diet) reduces your body’s concentration of the fatty Low Density lipoproteins (aka low protein particles that can block your arterioles in the heart circulation and cause a plaque to form (embolism). If this plaque ruptures this can cause a MI (heart attack) as blood can no longer pass through the artery. If this clot decides to move, you’ve got yourself a thromboembolism which can get into your carotid arteries and give you a stroke) both of which: are bad. 

So maybe now you have some improved insight on the incredibleness of Avocados, and I highly recommend adding them to your diet if you havent already.

I usually just chop up half of one, blend it with a clove of garlic, a quarter of red onion and half a medium tomato, add a dash of herbs and lemon juice…. And bam Guacamole – with the added anti-aging lycopene of tomatoes! It’s perfect on a slice of toasted turkish bread drizzled with olive oil.

~Until next time! Sayonara

——- Anna Freeman, student Dietitian ——

Bio

  1. III, V. L. F., Dreher, M., & Davenport, A. J. (2013). Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008
  2. Wang, L., Tao, L., Stanley, T. H., Fleming, J. A., Lambert, J. D., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2015). One Avocado Per Day Lowers Plasma Oxidized-LDL and Increases Plasma Antioxidants in Overweight and Obese Adults.Circulation, 131(Suppl 1), A17-A17.
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