LET US TALK AVOCADO – SUPERFOOD. DO YOU FRY AVOCADOS?
I enjoy cooking. It happens to be one of my favorite hobbies. So it is no surprise that I have an interest in different foods and their health benefits. I also follow a lot of food pages and channels on the internet. Recently I stumbled upon a recipe which included “deep fried avocados in batter”. Now, I am not sure how that sounds to you but it really did not appeal to me. There are a few fruits and vegetables that I think are perfect in its natural state. Avocado – the superfood happens to be one of them. It has a subtle flavour and in my opinion does not require a lot of auxillary cooking methods to enrich its taste or nutrition.
Avocados are one of my food staples in pasta dishes and on sandwiches. Interestingly, it is a fruit that people either hate or love. So in this post, I will share some reasons why you should consider giving avocados a chance.
KNOW WHAT YOU EAT
Avocado: Fruit or Vegetable?
A fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary (egg) of a flowering plant, whereas vegetables are all other plant parts, such as roots, leaves and stems. By those standards, avocado is a fruit. Avocado fruits have a greenish or yellowish flesh with a buttery consistency and a rich, nutty flavor. Because of its rather savory taste and its vegetable-like role on our dinner table in salads, pasta and other dishes, avocados are often mistaken for vegetables. However, an avocado is a single-seeded berry.
Avocados are packed with nutrients such as dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A , vitamin C, vitamin E , vitamin K, folate , vitamin B, and high-monounsaturated fatty acids (good fat). It is also a medium energy fruit. We will look at some of these nutrients in a little more detail.
Benefits of eating avocados
Heart health and Weight Management
Avocados just like bananas are very rich in potassium. This helps to promote blood pressure control in adults. Also, the type of sugars found in avocados (called D-mannoheptulose) is not the traditional sugar. Research suggests that this sugar may support blood glucose control and weight management. In the past, we believed that consuming foods rich in fat can lead to weight gain, and low-fat diets would more effectively promote weight control and reduce our risk of diseases. However, this is not the case. In a research carried out, an avocado enriched diet (AE) was more effective than the American Heart Association (AHA) III diet in women. The healthy fat in avocados is oleic acid, which helps lower cholesterol. A diet that includes avocados shows a huge reduction in both total and LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and an increase in HDL (“good cholesterol”). Magnesium found in avocados increases insulin’s sensitivity in people with diabetes.
Role in Eye diseases
Avocados increase the absorption of plant pigments called carotenoids when added to salads. Carotenoids are plant pigments responsible for bright red, yellow and orange hues in many fruits and vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes. They are found mostly in vegetables and fruit and they play the role of decreasing the risk of certain diseases particularly some cancers and eye diseases. Some carotenoids have the ability to be converted to vitamin A; which is essential to vision and normal growth and development. Another one of these called Lutein absorbs blue light thereby protecting out eyes.
Healthy Aging and Skin Health
Avocados promote healthy aging. They contain anti-inflammatory compounds with analgesic (pain relieving) effects which protect against osteoarthritis (the inflammation of joints seen in the aging population). Also the facial skin is often exposure to ultraviolet (UV) and visible radiation. These carotenoids may be able to combat this damage. A clinical study found that the concentration of carotenoids in the skin is directly related to the level of fruit and vegetable intake. Avocado’s lutein may help to protect the skin from damage from both UV and visible radiation.
Role in Cancers
Dietary carotenoids show potential protection against breast cancer, including antioxidant activity. It has the ability to kill cancer cells, and prevent the multiplication of cancer cells. This effect has also been seen in prostate cancer. More investigation is being carried out in cancers such as Cancer of the larynx, pharynx, and oral cavity.
The monounsaturated fat in avocado benefits brain function and contributes to healthy blood flow. A healthy blood flow means a healthy brain. Research also shows that lutein decreases brain aging and can decrease your risk of dementia. Folate (vitamin B9) is essential for brain health and the maintenance of cognitive function, including memory. Deficiency may lead to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
The thick skin that avocados possess keeps out pesticides making it one of the safest fruits to eat. So while you may want to splurge on organic fruits and vegetables to lower our pesticide exposure, this fruit is one that can help you save some money. The Environmental Working Group Mission (EWG) list avocado as number two on the list of clean fifteen fruits and vegetables with the least chemicals. So while organic is best for fruits like apples and strawberries, conventional is a good and healthy option when it has to do with avocados.
Avocados consist of about 71% monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) – the good fat. MUFA help to promote healthy blood lipid profiles. They are also low in sodium. There is no research debunking the frying of avocados yet. But I think wisdom should play a big role here. Nature has given us a fruit packed with nutrients in its very natural state. Yet we choose to soak it in unhealthy fat and risk our own health. We have no reason to get rid of pesticides with high heat. Instead what we are doing is stripping the fruit of its nutrients and furthermore coating it in grease and unhealthy amounts of cholesterol. There are many ways available to eat avocados – on its own as a fruit, on bread as a spread, in sushi, in salads, smoothies and pasta dishes, as guacamole dips and so on. In future posts, I will share some recipes to help you cook with this superfood.
Do you fry avocados?