What is avocado?

Avocado is the common name used to indicate a   tropical fruit   and the Central American plant that produces it (P. americana, of the Lauraceae botanical family).

Despite belonging to the category of fleshy fruits, avocado does not have the chemical characteristics of the products we are most used to consuming in Italy.

Compared to most of the “local products”, avocado contains less water (about – 10/15% of   apples  , for example), sugars and water-soluble acids, while it is very rich in   fats   and   vitamin  E. On the contrary, the fleshy fruits that we are used to consume in Italy are low in fat, but   rich in sugars  , acids, and do not contain such levels of alpha   tocopherol  .

On the contrary, avocado could be compared to our   olives  , even if compared to these it contains about 30% more  calories   . Another exotic fruit with a prevalence of lipids is coconut, which is even more   fat   and caloric than avocado.

Due to these characteristics, it is not easy to use in   the Mediterranean diet   and therefore is rather decontextualized. Suffice it to say that, to include avocado in the diet without altering the balance between energy  macronutrients   , it is essential to eliminate or drastically reduce the use of   extra virgin olive oil   in recipes and on   foods  . In principle, avocado should be avoided in case of   overweight   and obesity.

The gastronomic use of avocado changes considerably according to the culinary tradition of the area. In Central America, where the plant comes from, avocado is extremely used for all kinds of dishes. In Italy, however, this is a novelty, therefore the most popular recipes are extremely limited.

Botanically speaking, avocado fruit is a drupe – like  peach , apricot ,  cherry , olive and  coconut . It reaches considerable dimensions; shape and external color vaguely reminiscent of an  aubergine , especially in the variety with smooth skin. When cut, the pulp is yellow and the large woody stone is brownish. When ripe it has a buttery consistency and a taste vaguely reminiscent of  walnut . It is consumed almost exclusively raw.

Nutritional properties of avocado

Avocado is a highly  energetic fruit  – a large one peeled and pitted can provide 500-600  kcal  – as it is very rich in fat.

Avocado calories are mainly supplied by lipids, followed by a few  soluble carbohydrates  and finally by even fewer   low  biological value proteins .

Compared to other tropical fruits such as coconut and  oil palm  , the percentage of  saturated fat in avocado  is more modest. Instead, the monounsaturated component prevails, with a strong presence of  omega 9 oleic acid   , the same fat that characterizes extra virgin olive oil and to which many metabolic benefits are attributed.

Avocado is also rich in fiber, does not contain  cholesterol  and, on the contrary, is rich in phytosterols (beta sitosterol). It does not provide  lactose  and  gluten . Histamine is  irrelevant, as are  purines  and the amino acid  phenylalanine .

Potassium ,  magnesium ,  zinc ,  manganese  and  phosphorus  are present in abundant quantities. The level of vitamin B5 ( pantothenic acid ),  vitamin B6  (pyridoxine),  folate ,  vitamin K , vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) and vitamin C ( ascorbic acid ) is excellent.

Avocado and cholesterol

Avocado has been used in several medical-nutritional studies; one of these, led by Abhimanyu Garg, observed the effects of the increase in dietary fat (from avocado) at the expense of carbohydrates ( nutrients  which are also scarce in the fruit), in a sample of hypertriglyceridemic diabetics. The results were positive as they led to decreased  blood triglyceride  levels . Avocado would also seem useful in the fight against hypercholesterolemia; a Mexican study observed the effects of using guacamole (avocado sauce) in a sample of subjects suffering from this dyslipidemia. With the same total fats in the diet (however few), the hypercholesterolemics who used guacamole, in addition to a reduction in  bad cholesterol , enjoyed an increase in  good cholesterol  and a reduction in  triglycerides  (again by virtue of the concentration of oleic acid ω9).

If it is not clear from what is written, we underline how these benefits have been observed by replacing other foods with avocado, not adding others; in practical terms, if avocado were consumed as  a snack  (250 g) as a substitute for a  sandwich  rich in  fatty sausages  , it is realistic to expect a positive impact on  cholesterol  and triglyceride values; vice versa, if the avocado is inserted Ad libitum in the context of a diet  already rich in fat and calories, it is presumable that the lipidemic values ​​do not improve or even worsen.

SOURCE:  https://www.my-personaltrainer.it/