Also known recognized by the name “alligator pear,” the avocado is a prized fruit in terms of the nutritional value it provides. The skin of an avocado is thick and varies in colour from vibrant green to nearly black. Its texture may be smooth or pebbled while the flesh is creamy with a yellowish green colouration. In the middle there is one large pit.
Like bananas, avocados only ripen after the mature fruit is picked from the tree. After removal from the plant, avocados ripen within a few days, leaving only a short duration during which the fruit can be consumed. The mature fruit is rather hard to the touch, however when ripe, the tight skin will yield slightly if squeezed. Research shows that the maximum concentration of nutrients is located just under the skin. This is why it is vital to remove only the minimum amount of skin. To ensure that no nutrients are lost, it is best to peel the avocado like a banana as the skin comes off with ease.
Merry Berry Avocado Shake
- ½ cup peeled and diced avocado
- 1 banana
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Add the milk, yogurt, banana and avocado into a blender and mix until smooth or about thirty seconds. Next add the berries and blend thoroughly. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with cinnamon.
A one hundred gram serving of avocado supplies 26% of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin K, 20% folate, 17% vitamin C, 14% vitamin B5 and potassium, 13% vitamin B6, and 10% vitamin E. it also supplies smaller amounts of magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorus, vitamin A, B1, B2 and B3. Furthermore, avocados contain very little saturated fat, no cholesterol or sodium.
Health Benefits of Avocado
Avocados offer numerous health benefits. The compound beta-sitosterol, found in ample quantities in avocados has been shown to lower the LDL (bad cholesterol), while increasing HDL (good cholesterol) according one study. Compounds like glutathione, monounsaturated fat and vitamin E in avocados aide in keeping the heart healthy, while phytonutrients like polyphenols and flavonoids are known to deliver anti-inflammatory benefits that help to avert inflammation related disorders like arthritis. The fruit also offers protection against cataracts and age related macular degeneration and is also known to increase carotenoid absorption by as much as five times. The soluble fiber helps to maintain steady blood sugar levels.