Avocados are a delicious addition to salads, dips and toasts, but they also offer numerous health benefits. Acclaimed dietician shares why we must add them to our daily diet
What has led to the popularity of the fruit is its soft buttery texture combined with its unusual deliciousness. Photo Courtesy: iStock
We all love avocados, be it on toast or in guacamole. The fruit is undoubtedly the most delicious of all when it comes to healthy foods. Over the past few years, avocado has emerged as a favorite among many. But how much do we know about this fruit? Kavita Devgan, acclaimed dietitian and holistic health consultant shares with us the numerous health benefits it offers and how we can include it into our daily diet.
Avocado (Persea americana) a native of South America, also known as alligator pear or avocado pear, is actually a large berry with a rather oily exterior containing a single large stone inside. Harvested locally in Latin America for thousands of years, it comes in a number of variants.
What has led to the popularity of the fruit is its soft buttery texture combined with its unusual deliciousness. However, besides being tasty, it also offers multiple benefits that complement its flavour. The fruit holds disease-fighting compounds such as lutein, beta-carotene (precursor to vitamin A) and vitamin E. Results have shown that 1 serving of avocado has 114 calories and is a rich source of several B vitamins (such as pantothenic acid) and vitamin K, with moderate contents of vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium.
Avocados are also a source of ‘good fats’ and their regular consumption is linked to helping lower the levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol. It also contains a lot of fibre, which is good for digestive health. Avocados also contain minerals such as calcium, magnesium and sodium, all essential for human health. It is also packed with antioxidants.
Avocados are also great for the heart. They are loaded with health-promoting MUFA (Monounsaturated fatty acids) and potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, and even the elusive folate, which improves overall heart health.
Nutrient-rich avocado oil has a multitude of uses for salads or cooking and is also being used increasingly in cosmetics and soap products. The most common way to consume it however remains as a nutritious addition to a meal.
A piece of good news is that tossing a few slices of avocado in your colourful salad or mixing some chopped avocado into your favourite salsa will not only add a rich, creamy flavour but will greatly increase your body’s ability to absorb the health-promoting carotenoids that vegetables provide.