Origin and Distribution of the Avocado
Whether Paleo diet, low-carb diet or clean-eating experiment, the avocado is an indispensable part of the kitchen. She is considered the queen of the current superfood trend and delights food bloggers as well as dietitians, cooks and athletes.
Below, I will explain all nutrition facts about avocado, a little of its history, share some prep and cooking tips and two delicious, healthy and simple recipes for you to enjoy. Alright, let’s dive right it…
The bulbous fruit is by no means a recent discovery, as Already the avocado was already transported from Central and South America and from there it was exported to the US and Europe, where it was known as butter fruit, alligator pear or avocado pear.
Long before it was successful in the Western world, the avocado celebrated another triumphal procession: Discovered in the 16th century by Spanish colonizers in Central and South America, the saturating fruit spread with the conquerors throughout the Caribbean and Spain.
In the 19th century, it finally made its way to Africa and Southeast Asia before finally landing on European plates in the 20th century.
Today, there are more than 400 varieties of avocado, which differ in shape, size, color and texture of the shell.
The fruit grows on trees and is, just like the pomegranate, botanically classified as a berry. Although it’s nowadays grown worldwide, the majority of the avocado production, however, still comes from Mexico.
Nutrition Facts: So Healthy is the Avocado
The avocado is not only popular because of its buttery and nutty taste; it’s also said to be extremely healthy. Allegedly, the green fruit is full of healthy nutrients, helps with weight loss and athletic performances. But is that true? A look at the nutritional values and ingredients reveal how healthy the avocado really is. Let’s dig a little deeper.
That’s How many Calories an Avocado has
At first glance, the avocado is not exactly a suitable diet food because 100 grams of avocado pulp contains about 230 calories. Much of this is due to the natural fats, of which the avocado has plenty. To be exact it contains up to 20 grams of fat in 100 grams of pulp.
Still, you should not be fooled by the high-calorie count if you want to lose weight healthily and consider adding the avocado to your diet. Because unlike many other foods, the fat of the avocado is not harmful, but of extremely high quality. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids.
Unsaturated fatty acids are chemical compounds that carry out many important tasks in your body. They are part of the brain substance and the cell membrane and have a very positive effect on the cardiovascular system of your body by favorably influencing your cholesterol level.
Your cholesterol consists of both good proportions, the so-called HDL cholesterol, as well as of bad proportions, the LDL cholesterol.
If you have too much LDL cholesterol in your body, it can build up in your arteries, narrow them, and increase your risk of strokes and heart attacks.
HDL cholesterol prevents that from happening by transporting excess LDL cholesterol in your liver where it breaks down.
Because of unsaturated fatty acids, the fat from the avocado has a positive effect on LDL cholesterol. This is of great importance to your organism and helps to protect it from harm.
Slimming Down with Avocados
But not only in terms of your cholesterol level is the “butter fruit” useful. The unsaturated fatty acids, which cause the high-calorie count of the avocado, are even conducive to fat burning.
They contain a specific enzyme called lipase. This is responsible for the burning of fat in the digestive tract and fatty tissue and prevents the natural fat from the avocado from being stored by your body.
In addition, it stimulates fat burning overall, and because the avocado also has a very filling effect, it is very well suited as diet food. If the avocado is to help you lose weight quickly, you should make sure that your additional food intake mainly consists of low-fat products. Use the “alligator pear” to replace the butter on your bread with a healthy spread or to reduce the oil content in your salad.
Effects of Avocados
The avocado has much more to offer, however, namely in terms of vitamins and minerals.
Avocados are Great for your Eyes because of the Vitamin A Content
Avocados gain their rich green color from certain plant pigments, the so-called beta-carotenes. These, add the green, yellow or red colors to our fruits and vegetables. Beta carotenes, in turn, are also referred to as provitamin A, because, if essential, your body can form the vital vitamin A from the plant dyes.
It is scientifically proven that 100 grams of avocado contains up to 40 micrograms of provitamin A. This has a positive effect on your eyes, your immune system and cell formation in your body.
Did you know that avocados taste delicious in a smoothie, such as my avocado, watercress, pineapple smoothie? Speaking of smoothies, here’s the link to my green smoothie article; definitely worth to read:
It’s Amazing for your Cells because of the Vitamin E
In addition to provitamin A, cell-protective vitamin E is also present in large quantities. This vitamin protects your cells from harmful molecules, the so-called free radicals, which can damage, alter or even destroy them and, thus, promote diseases such as cancer. In addition, it has an advantageous effect on your skin cells, which provides it with moisture and keeps it firm and supple. The superfood
is, therefore, not only good for your figure, but also for your beauty.
Good for Fertility thanks to Folic Acid
Apart from provitamin A and vitamin E, tree fruits, which are botanically considered berries, are also beneficial suppliers of natural folic acid. Folic acid promotes blood formation, cell growth and fertility of, both, men and women. It is regularly prescribed by doctors during pregnancy to ensure the healthy development of the child.
The chances of getting pregnant increase demonstrably, as long as the folic acid value is in an optimal range. All women within the childbearing age should, therefore, always make sure to consume a lot of natural folic acid through their diet. Avocados are very suitable for this.
An Asset for Your Immune System Due to Vitamin C
Finally, it should not go unmentioned that the tasty fruits are also an excellent source of vitamin C. After all, 13 milligrams of the immune-enhancing vitamin is contained in 100 grams of avocado pulp.
This, along with an orange and an apple, already cover your daily requirement and supports your immune system.
Just like vitamin E, vitamin C acts as an adversary to harmful molecules and has a beneficial effect on your skin.
It’s loaded with Potassium, thus, Superb for your Muscles
At 490 milligrams, 100 grams of avocado meat contains a remarkably large amount of potassium. The mineral is of vital importance to your body, especially with regard to your muscles.
It promotes muscle growth and ensures, among other things, the transmission of nerve impulses. Potassium is responsible for muscle contraction, the heartbeat and the regulation of blood pressure.
Good for your Vessels thanks to Magnesium
Magnesium, too, has a beneficial effect on the muscles. After all, 30 milligrams of the mineral can be found in 100 grams of avocado. These not only support the muscles, but also the heart function, the blood vessels, and the bones.
Phosphate is another Bonus within the Avocado
The content of phosphate (40 milligrams) in 100 grams in the avocado, even exceeds that of magnesium. Phosphate is predominantly associated with calcium within bones and teeth and affects many important metabolic processes. Phosphate is also of the essence for the formation of DNA.
Last but not least, Calcium for Healthy Bones
Calcium is a basic element of human bone. 10 grams of calcium in 100 grams of avocado will help you meet your daily requirement of this mineral and strengthen your bones and teeth.
Delicious Avocado Recipes
Of course, one can enjoy the tasty meat of the avocado without any additional food. There are a few ways, however, to make this fruit even more exciting. Below, I want to share with you two recipes that can help you variably incorporate the “alligator pear” into your daily life.
Avocado Dip: Spicy Guacamole Cream
No wonder guacamole is so popular – the savory dip is quick to prepare, delicious and even healthy due to the ingredients. Below is a basic recipe that you can vary at will. For a large portion of Mexican-style guacamole you need:
✓ 2 Ripe Avocados
✓ 2 Tomatoes
✓ Juice of half a Lemon
✓ 2 Cloves of Garlic
✓ 1 Tablespoon of Natural Yogurt
✓ 2 Tablespoons of minced Cilantro
✓ 3 Drops of Tabasco Sauce ( Warning: Add more – keep your fire extinguisher close)
With this recipe, the avocados must be cut in half. Then, remove the pit and peel. Afterward, crush the pulp with a fork. Add to that the tomatoes, which have to be finely diced before. Mix the tomatoes with the lemon juice and the finely diced or pressed garlic cloves and the avocados. Also, add the minced cilantro and three drops of Tabasco sauce. Finally, stir a spoon full of natural yogurt under the mass, season the guacamole with salt and pepper of your choice.
You can change this recipe according to your mood. You like it spicier? Then add paprika or chili. Do you like herbs and spices? Try coriander or curry. Even Greek yogurt can refine your guacamole due to its creamier taste and its high-fat content.
Note, however, that this also increases the fat content of the entire dip. Also, if you’re preparing this recipe only for one person, you will need solely one avocado and half of the ingredients above mentioned.
Marinated Avocado with Scrambled Eggs
Although this is not a vegetarian recipe, for other nutritional methods such as the Paleo diet, it is quite suitable. The dish is based on a portion of scrambled eggs. For a large portion you need:
✓ 4 Eggs
✓ 30 Grams of Butter
✓ 40 ml of Cream
✓ 40 ml of Carbonated Mineral Water
✓ 1 Ripe Avocado
✓ 100 grams of cubed Ham
✓ 1 Lemon (juice)
✓ Salt (coarse salt or sea salt)
For this recipe, you slice the avocado into half, and, as usual, pit it and peel it from the shell. You cut the meat into slices or cubes as desired and placed it on a deep plate in the juice of half or one whole lemon. Then, you pepper the slices, sprinkle them with salt. Afterward, you marinate them for as long as you prepare the scrambled eggs.
For the scrambled eggs, whisk the eggs in a bowl quickly and thoroughly. Then, mix them with the cream and the mineral water. Melt the butter in a large pan and add the egg mass.
Stir the scrambled eggs at low heat and move them with a spatula by turning and folding the egg. This keeps them juicier and airier/fluffier. Remove the eggs from the pan as long as you still see the moisture shining in some places, otherwise, it will be too dry.
Fry the Ham Cubes parallel to the Egg in a Smaller Pan. Once the ham is done, place the eggs first on a plate and arrange the ham on top. Then garnish with the avocado slices and chives (or herbs of your choice).
The eggs can be peppered to taste. Be careful with the salt, though, as both the ham and the marinated avocado provide the scrambled eggs with a salty note, already.
Avocados in the Kitchen: Tips & Tricks
The recipes show just a small selection of ways to make avocados healthy and delicious. If you are not yet practiced in dealing with the fruit, however, there may be some issues. How do you remove the core of the avocado and the pulp from the shell? How do you recognize that an avocado is ripe? Below are some helpful tips and tricks.
Maturity Test by Hand
Avocados grow on trees and farmers harvest them when they are not yet ripe. The fruits ripen after they have been cut from the branches of the avocado tree and can be better stored and transported in this manner. That means, however, that most avocados on the supermarket shelf are often still hard like a stone and inedible.
You can test the maturity of the fruit based on its strength. If the pulp gives way easily, as soon as you apply gentle pressure with your fingers, the tree fruit is ripe. For that, you best take the unpacked fruit in the hand. In some varieties, the color of the peel gives a hint at the grade of ripeness: the darker, the older and more mature the fruit is.
Store Avocados Properly
If you’ve caught an avocado that’s not quite ripe, you can take a few steps to speed up the ripening process. To do this, the avocado can be stored near apples. These emit the maturity accelerating gas ethylene and make your avocado faster ready for you to enjoy. Wrapped in a newspaper, the fruits also ripen quickly at room temperature.
If you want to delay the ripening process of an avocado, for example, because you only need half of the fruit, you should leave the pit in the other half of the avocado.
The pit can also help you keep guacamole fresh. Even a few drops of lemon juice prevent the meat of your fruit from starting to turn brown. This is interesting to know when preparing salads with avocados, for example, so it stays beautiful to look at, too.
How to Cut Avocados, Pit and Peel them
If you want to use an avocado in the kitchens, you basically start by halving the fruit lengthwise with a larger knife. Once you have both halves in front of you, you can remove the core from very ripe avocados carefully with a spoon or a knife tip.
Alternatively, you can hit the knife into the core until it holds onto it firmly, and then pry it out. Be very careful! Do not use much force in handling the knife and hold the avocado, if necessary, on the very top. Just watch your fingers, please.
With the kernel removed, you can use one tablespoon to peel the pulp out of the shell – the more mature the avocado, the easier it is. Otherwise, you can cut the fruit with the peel on and then remove it.
You are welcome to add the avocado to your diet and to eat it regularly. If possible, you should also try to consume organic avocados.
This means that they pay attention to water consumption and the use of pesticides during cultivation and that they constantly check the production standards.
In this way, you can enjoy your avocados without a guilty conscience and do something good not only for yourself but also to the environment.
To learn more about the power, benefits, and effects of superfoods, please, click below to read our post.
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