Let’s talk about an exotic food today: Avocado, a native of Mexico and Central America.
The avocado’s appearance is definitely deceptive- this bumpy-skinned plump dark-green fruit has many people believing that it is actually a vegetable! Avocado is also known as “Alligator Pear” because of its shape and the leather-like appearance of the skin resembling an alligator. In Hindi, it is commonly known as Makhan phal or butterfruit.
In India, avocado is grown in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka mainly in July and August, and in Sikkim mainly in September and October. Its creamy, buttery, smooth texture and delicate flavor is highly relished by some. While most of us have seen this reptilian-looking on the supermarket shelves, we are oblivious to the numerous health benefits this fruit has to offer.
DID YOU KNOW THAT AVOCADO IS THE ONE AND ONLY FRUIT THAT CONTAINS GOOD FATS?
Yes, it is true!! It is an excellent source of heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats (MUFA). A medium sized avocado contains about 15gms of fat, two-thirds of which is MUFA that helps to lower cholesterol levels and reduce risk of heart problems.
The monounsaturated fats as well as antioxidant carotenoids and vitamin E in avocado help improve the skin by protecting it against wrinkles, sun exposure and other visible signs of aging. They are vital for maintaining good moisture levels in the epidermal layer of your skin that make it look and feel soft and healthy. Avocado is also a rich source of vitamin C required for elastin and collagen production and maintaining your skin’s elasticity and firmness.
AVOCADOS ARE LOADED WITH FIBRE!
Another reason that you ought to be eating avocados is their relatively high fiber content- 75% of which is insoluble and 25% is soluble fiber. Thanks to the high insoluble fiber that effectively cleans out the colon, you stand a lesser chance of getting constipated and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Soluble fiber also gives a feeling of fullness and is great for appetite control.
Avocados also have more than twice the amount of potassium found in a banana, which helps in regulating your blood pressure. It also supplies B-complex vitamins such as folic acid for your body’s metabolism and maintenance of a healthy skin tone. Avocados are also rich in many anti-inflammatory carotenoids.
You would also be happy to know that avocados are considered as one of the “safest fruits” as their thick skin may protect the inner fruit from pesticides.
SO HOW DO YOU MAKE THE MOST OF THIS FRUIT?
Many fancy restaurants now include avocado on their menu in the form of salads or milkshakes, but this fruit has great culinary potential in both savory dishes as well as desserts.
It can be mixed in salads, soups, on the side of chicken, meat, fish, as a filling in sandwiches, hot dogs, in a puree form in hamburgers, as a dip “guacamole”, combined with eggs or as a milkshake.
(This is an original article written by Gauri Murthy)