The avocado, also known as alligator pear in some parts of the world, is a fruit and a member of the berry family. The fruit, which is mostly produced in subtropical climates, has more than 80 varieties and provides many health benefits.
The outer dark green skin and the huge seed at the center of the avocado is inedible. The portion of the avocado closest to the skin is the most packed with nutrients.
A ripe avocado should have no dents on its skin. It should feel firm but yield to gentle pressure when squeezed.
Unripe avocados, which feel very hard when gripped, can be ripened at home by placing in a brown paper bag at room temperature for two to five days.
Avocados that has overly dark skin, have dents and very soft are already over-ripe and shouldn’t be eaten. It can be used to moisturize dry hair.
A typical serving of avocado is one-fifth of a medium fruit. A serving contains 50 calories, 4.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, no cholesterol and only 2 grams saturated fat. It also contains vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, fiber, potassium, folate, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid.
The avocado fruit has 60 percent more potassium than a banana. It contains monounsaturated fats which are known to reduce the bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) and boost levels of the good kind of cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins or HDL). It also contain all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein.
HDL cholesterol lowers the risk of heart disease and improves overall cardiovascular health. It also helps regulate triglyceride levels, preventing diabetes.
Vitamin A protects eye health and enhance healthy functioning of the immune and reproductive system.
The combined effect of the nutrients contained in avocados help guard the body against inflammation (a major concern for sufferers of osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis), improves the absorption of nutrients, help reduce the signs of aging and regulate blood sugar
Avocados contain chitinase enzymes that are also found in bananas and chestnuts. There is strong evidence that these enzymes are associated with the latex-fruit allergy syndrome. You most probably are allergic to foods that contain high amounts of chitinase if you have latex allergy. Cooking may deactivate the enzymes.
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