If you could ever think of a single fruit that contains all the essential nutrients you need – water, protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, what would that be? You might not be able to think of anything that’s completely nutritious, right? This is because most of the fruits we know only contain either a high concentration of water or vitamins and minerals, but none of the fats and carbohydrates. Come to think of it, is there really a fruit that contains all these nutrients? The answer is YES. Considered as “the complete food,” the Avocado fruit contains all the vitamins and minerals, as well as the important calories from fats and carbohydrates needed to sustain and promote a sound mind and body.
The avocado is also known as the “alligator pear,” because of its pear-like shape and leather-like skin. The avocado fruit is actually a member of the berry family. Originally cultivated in Mexico and Central America, avocado was later brought and planted in Asian countries like Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as in other countries like USA, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and South Africa. The avocado tree yields fruits all year round and is adaptable to all climate conditions.
What makes the avocado the complete food is the fact that it’s not only packed with the essential phytonutrients, but it also offers a lot of healthful benefits to our body. Let’s take a closer look at this marvellous fruit and find out what’s really in avocado that has won its title as the most nutritious fruit.
First, avocado contains a high concentration of fats. Yes, fats; lots and lots of fats, but good fats. This is now the time to correct the utterly wrong conception of most people about avocado fats. The fats found in avocado are called mono-unsaturated fats, which are actually healthy fats. The fatty acids – Linoleic and Oleic acids – in avocado were found to increase the levels of high density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and decrease the levels of the low density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) in the blood. They can also lower the triglycerides (also a bad fat) level by up to 20%. Hyperglycemics or Diabetics can enjoy the health benefits of avocado as well, as it is low in sugar and does not contain starch.
Scientific studies have shown that avocados are also beneficial in fighting certain forms of cancer. The phytochemical substances found in avocado were known to repair damaged cells as well as prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells. They are also helpful in oral cancer defence by seeking out and destroying precancerous and cancerous cells in the mouth while leaving healthy cells untouched. The oleic acid in avocado has also shown effective prevention against breast cancer.
Another thing that makes the avocado the complete food is that it contains a very large amount of phytochemicals, vitamins, amino acids and other trace minerals. To name a few are vitamins B, C and E, glutathione, potassium, lutein and folate. Glutathione and the vitamins E and C are known as potent antioxidants, which are scavengers of free radicals. Anti-oxidants do not only bolster our immune system, but they are also beneficial in cancer prevention and anti-aging. The carotenoid lutein in avocado promotes eye health, by protecting it from the two most common age-related diseases of the eye – macular degeneration and cataracts.