Avocados

Avocados

AvocadosMost people know avocados as being one of the healthiest fruits. Avocado is a unique type of fruit. While most fruits are actually rich in carbohydrates, avocados are not necessarily. They contain a high concentration of healthy fats. Different studies show that avocados have multiple health benefits. These benefits, in addition to other topics related to avocados, will be explored in this article. The end of the article will also provide recipes with avocados.

Description

Avocados which are ripe usually have a nutty taste. Also, the texture of the avocados changes when it is ripe. Before avocados are ready to eat they have a green color and are usually hard. When they are ripe the texture of the avocados is silky and creamy. Also, they become more black once they are ready to eat. The reason why the fruit has a creamy texture is due to the high concentration of healthy fats. While in general the fruit is fatty, not all avocados are identical in their fat content. It is said that avocados which are smaller in size are more oily compared to the ones which are larger. While all avocados look the same, there are over 50 different types of avocados. However, avocados can be categorized in three basic groups. These categories are based on the place of origin of the fruit. The first category is the West Indian avocado. The avocados grow in Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. The second category of avocados are the ones which come from Guatemala. The third category of this fruit comes from Mexico. Although they are referred to as Mexican avocados, Mexican avocados can also be found in the surrounding countries. Mexico does remain the largest producer of avocados in the world. The demand for avocados has increased since the eighties, particularly in the United States. It is for this reason that the main importer of Mexican avocados is the United States. Florida and California are the states within the US where avocados grow as well. However, since the production of avocados within these states does not meet the demand, the US also imports avocados from Peru, Brazil, Chile and Columbia.

History

It is said that the word “avocado” comes from the Spanish term aguacate. Aguacate in turn is said to be derived from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl. Ahuacatl means testicle and describes the shape of the fruit. Avocados have been part of the Mexican diet for many years. It is also in Mexico where archeologists found the first evidence that avocados were consumed. This evidence was found over 10,000 years ago in the middle of the country. During this time, people were looking for avocados and would eat them just like that. It is believed that only about 5,000 years did the cultivation of avocados start. Different tribes grew avocado trees. Some of these tribes include the Inca’s, the Maya’s and the Olmec tribe. Avocados were only to be eaten in Europe around the 16th century. The Spanish explorer called Martin Fernandes de Enciso was the first person to mention and describe avocados. In his book, written in 1519, Martin Fernandez describes the fruit as aguacate. During the Spanish Conquest is when avocados spread from Mexico to other parts of South America. The Spanish eventually brought avocados from South America into Europe. They continued to sell the avocados to other countries in Europe, such as the United Kingdom.

Health Benefits

Different researches have addressed the health benefits of avocados. For example, a study conducted in the United States concluded that adults who eat avocados on a regular basis have more nutrient benefits. These individuals have the right intake magnesium, fiber, vitamin K and potassium. Moreover, these individuals also have a greater intake of fruits and vegetables and have a greater overall diet. Since avocados are high in fat they are also high in calories. Due to the high quality fat amount in the fruit, avocados contain a great number of phytonutrients. The fat found in avocados are monounsaturated fatty acids. The fruit also contains oleic acid. The oleic acids make sure that the fruit has a bit of an oily texture. It is necessary for us to consume fats. This is especially important in order for carotenoid-rich foods to be digested by our bodies. Many healthy food products, such as greens, carrots and sweet potatoes, contain carotenoids. In order for the nutrients of these products to be absorbed in our bodies it is important for fats to be present. Food, which contains healthy fats like avocado, can help to absorb the carotenoids in our bodies. It has been shown that the presence of healthy fats in our bodies help to converse nutrients. For example, high-fat products such as avocado help to improve conversion of carotenoid into vitamin A.


How to select and store

An avocado which is ready to be eaten is a bit soft. When the avocado is slightly soft you know it is ready-to-eat. When buying avocados, pay attention to the fact that it does not have any dark spots or that the fruit does not have any cracks. Moreover, try and pick those which have a slight neck. Those with a neck usually have ripened a bit more compared to those with have a round top. Also, the flavor of avocados which have a round top is said not to be as rich as that of those with a slight neck.  The standard Californian avocado usually does not weight more than 170 grams. The color of the fruit is usually green and turns into black once it is ripe. The texture of the fruit can vary, as well as its color. The texture is usually peddled, but it can also be more smooth. Regarding the color, avocados can also have a brighter green color. When you cannot find avocados which are a bit soft in the supermarket, it is also possible to ripe them at home. The fruit will ripen when it is put in a fruit basket or when put in a paper bag. The fruit is usually ripe within a couple of days. As mentioned earlier, a ripe avocado mostly has a darker color compared to a firm avocado. However, it is recommended to solely depend on the color of the fruit. In order to know when the fruit is ready to be eaten, gently press the surface of the fruit. The fruit is ready when it is a bit soft, and not squishy. Usually when the fruit is squishy it has gone bad. It is also recommended not to put the avocados in the fridge, only once they are ripe. Once the fruit is ripe they can be left in the refrigerator up to one week. In case the fruit is left in the refrigerator it is best to leave it as a whole and not cut it open. This is in order to prevent the flesh from turning brown. The flesh turns brown once it has been exposed to oxygen. If you have used parts of the avocado, it is recommended to store the remaining part in the fridge. It is best to store it in a plastic container or a glass container. Additionally, in order to prevent the flesh from becoming brown, you can put a bit of lemon juice on the fruit.

Nutritional information of avocados

Information provided by the US National Nutrient Database shows that one serving of an avocado contains about 64 calories. This same serving also contain 3 grams of fiber, less than one gram of sugar and almost six grams of fat. Apart from the abovementioned information, avocados also contain many nutrients. For example, they are a good source of vitamins B6, C, E and K. The fruit also contains magnesium, potassium, riboflavin as well as lutein and omega-3 fatty acids. While avocados are high in calories, this does not imply they should not be eaten. As mentioned, avocados also provide other important nutrients. Moreover, our bodies also need fat. The consumption of fat slows down the process of breaking down carbohydrates and turning them into sugar. Also, fats help to keep the blood sugar levels stable. The fats in avocados are called monounsaturated fats which have a positive effect on the body compared to other fats. Products which contain fats which have a reserve effect on your health are for example, cheeses, processed meals and fried food. These products contain saturated fats which can block arteries. If the arteries in the body are blocked, the cholesterol levels increase which in turn lead to inflammation.

Recipes with avocado

There are many different ways how you can eat avocados. One of the most popular avocado dish is guacamole. This spread is originally from Mexico and used to be made by just mashing avocados. The recipe is now popular all over the world and is one of the dishes which can also be found in the supermarkets. It is also possible to make guacamole at home and give it a bit of a unique twist. For example, it is possible to add tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, onions and seasoning. This is a modern and can be considered to be the rich tasting version of traditional guacamole. Besides making guacamole there are different ways to consume avocados. For example, they make a great garnish for black bean soup. You can chop the avocados in small pieces and they will add some extra flavor to the soup. Avocados are also delicious when used in a dressing. It does not only give dressings a creamy texture, but also adds extra richness and flavor to the dressing. Avocados can also be used as a replacement for mayonnaise on sandwiches. Cut a few slices of avocados and spread them on bread. This will be a perfectly healthy replacement of mayonnaise or any other spread. Avocados are also great to add to salads. They can be added to a Mexican salad. This would be a combination of different kind of beans, corn, tomatoes and onions. The green fruit does not only give extra flavor to the salad but also provides extra taste. Avocados are also delicious when added to a chicken salad, or a chicken sandwich.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 1168x
Added: 28-09-2016 02:07
Last modified: 23-10-2016 18:00

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