Avocado: reasons to eat it daily

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3 years ago

For some time now, avocado has become the standard bearer for top foods (it is rare not to see it in the recommendations / photos of culinary influencers, instagramers and others), to the point that its consumption has not stopped growing in everyone during the weeks of confinement, according to data from the World Avocado Organization (WAO).

Luckily, and unlike other foods that cyclically become fashionable, its fame is endorsed and has the full approval of the experts in health and nutrition, who recommend its regular consumption, alluding to the important benefits demonstrated by the nutrients it provides.

The truth is that it is a peculiar food, which could be said to be a little free in terms of classifications, denominations and others. “It is a fruit, not a vegetable or a vegetable, although we consume it as such. It is not an edible plant, but the fruit of a tree, the Persea americana ”, explains Andrea Calderón, nutritionist of the Spanish Society of Dietetics and Food Sciences (SEDCA), who highlights that its nutritional composition is also considered special : “It does not resemble that of vegetables and vegetables, nor that of fruits in general.

Its water content is similar to that of other fruits, although slightly lower (around 78-82); that of simple sugars is lower, while its fat content is much higher (around 12 percent in avocado compared to 0-0.5 percent of fruits in general), which gives it a caloric content as well highest. In fact, its composition is more similar to that of olives than to any other food. ”

Especially noteworthy is its content in vitamins, especially E and C, powerful antioxidants, and also in vitamins of group B. "In addition, it is rich in bioactive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components, which complete its high nutritional value, highlighting among them avocatin , a molecule unique to its composition. "

Avocatin: a molecule with an 'exclusive patent'

Indeed, avocatin B (Avo B) is a fat molecule exclusive to avocados that has been the subject of several recent scientific studies. One of them, carried out at the University of Guelph, in Ontario (Canada) and whose results were published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, points to the possible healthy benefits of this substance associated with the prevention of diabetes, an effect that It is due to the regulation of blood glucose and insulin.

"Avo B has also been associated with the prevention of some types of cancer, due to its ability to destroy malignant tumor cells. Other research suggests that it may promote weight loss (by reducing excess fat), precisely because of its beneficial effect on insulin. Keep in mind that insulin resistance is a key factor in the development of obesity and the accumulation of body fat, in addition to influencing the onset of diabetes ", most of these studies have been conducted with mice laboratory under controlled conditions or in small human groups by supplementation (with very high amounts of avocatin): “Its effectiveness in humans is still not entirely clear. What does seem confirmed is that the amount of avocatin B that is related to these benefits cannot be obtained only through a normal diet that includes avocados, since higher amounts of this compound are needed, but more research is needed in this regard. "

Lots of 'good' fats and also heart-healthy

One of the buts that is usually put to this food is its high caloric intake, about 140-145 kcal per 100 grams of avocado (amount equivalent to just over half a piece). "A medium whole avocado has around 250 kcal in total, a caloric value that may seem high compared to other fruits, but that must be evaluated from a different perspective, taking into account, for example, its high nutritional density, that is to say , the amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that it provides for each serving ”.

Low in protein and carbohydrates, the calories in avocado mainly come from the fats it contains. The nutritionist highlights that this fat profile is of high quality –another peculiarity of this food–: “One serving (considering half avocado as such or a little more if it is small) contains around 12-14% monounsaturated fats and, among They highlight oleic acid, also present in olive oil. It is also rich in polyunsaturated fats. "

Along the same lines, Marisa Calle, a member of the Nutrition area of ​​the Spanish Heart Foundation (FEC), comments that both this high content of good fats (essential for lowering blood cholesterol levels) and other nutrients make avocado a food especially beneficial for cardiovascular health: “It is rich in phytosterols (natural sterols that work by preventing part of the cholesterol that is consumed through the diet from being absorbed by the intestine). Furthermore, it is an important source of potassium and is very low in sodium, which contributes significantly to maintaining stable blood pressure levels. "

Dr. Calle also explains that all these benefits are backed by several investigations that have shown, for example, how consuming this food daily (in an amount of between half an avocado and half an avocado) helps to keep blood cholesterol levels stable.

Good news: it is apt ’to lose weight

According to Andrea Calderón, the calorie intake and the fatty profile of avocado are not only not associated with weight gain or an added difficulty in losing weight, but also enable it to be part of a weight loss diet, an opinion shared by Dr. Calle , who stresses an added advantage of avocado in this regard: its fiber content (between 2 g and 4.6 g per 30 g of fruit, approximately). “This makes it a food with a high satiating power. For example, a snack of half an avocado with a little extra olive oil, a serving of guacamole or, simply, a raw piece, provides such satiety that it reduces the intake of other foods in general. This contribution in fiber also explains its low glycemic index, which means that it helps to keep insulin levels stable (thus avoiding the fluctuations that are usually behind the desire to eat after hours), to which we must add another effect of fiber: to favor that the amount of food that is absorbed is less ", adds Marisa Calle.

Regarding the amount in which it should be included in the menus to avoid adding more calories from the account to the total daily count, both experts agree in recommending moderation and not losing sight of balance and proportion with other foods. "The appropriate amount will depend on the rest of the diet, but a third, half an avocado or a full-size avocado a day may be recommended, depending on the physical constitution and requirements of each person," says Andrea Calderón.

In this sense, one of the latest trends in the consumption of avocado is to include it in breakfast, a custom that Marisa Calle recommends complementing by adding a little salmon, “an option very rich in fats and yet very healthy to start the day. It is a magnificent food (not a super food, because that does not exist), which can be consumed daily and whose only ‘drawback’ is its price ”.

To eat it better

There are many varieties of avocado. The most widespread worldwide (and also the most cultivated in Spain) is the Haas: pear-shaped, small-medium in size and with dark, rough skin. Other varieties are Pinkerton (similar to Haas but larger and elongated, with a smaller bone than the others); the Reed (rounder, with thicker and rougher skin), the Bacon (with a characteristic thin and shiny skin) or the Strong (pear-shaped and elongated neck; it is the richest in oleic acid).

“It can be kept both inside and outside the fridge, taking into account that at room temperature it matures faster, so that if we do not consume it in a short period of time, it turns black and will pass. On the other hand, in the fridge, its maturing slows down and lasts longer ”, explains Andrea Calderón.

One aspect that often raises doubts is what happens to the avocado once it is peeled (cut and prepared to be added to a salad, for example), since its meat tends to blacken quickly: can it be eaten without problem? Does it keep its properties despite the change in appearance? Andrea Calderón sheds light on the subject: “The reason why avocado turns black so fast is because of its unsaturated fats, which quickly oxidize on contact with air. It is what is known as fat rancidity. This gives it that blackened appearance, which is not harmful or a priori reduces its nutritional quality. If it spends a long time at room temperature, its contribution in vitamins and antioxidants could be slightly reduced ”.

The nutritionist provides an extra trick to check the status of this fruit: “Press lightly on your skin. If you notice that it yields minimally (neither too soft nor too hard) it means that it is the ideal time for consumption. It must be discarded both for quality and for food safety when it yields too much, since it is a sign that it is very soft and very old ”.

How to include it in the diet: the salad as a clue

To graphically identify both the recommended amount of avocado and the best nutritional combinations to take full advantage of its properties, Andrea Calderón offers guidelines for what would be the ideal avocado salad:

  • The main ingredient must be the vegetables and the vegetables: tomato, green salad, asparagus, cucumber, onion, peppers ... in high quantity.

  • To this we must add a protein ingredient, which can be animal protein (fish, egg, meat, cheese) or vegetable (legume and derivatives).

  • Finally, give it an energetic touch in the form of fat or carbohydrates: whole grains, potatoes, nuts, olives and, of course, avocado. Quality is in proportion.

  • A vegetable salad with avocado and, for example, a protein, constitutes a complete menu ideal for a lunch or dinner.

  • In order for the dish to be balanced, it is necessary to choose varied ingredients from each group, "and avoid adding, in addition to avocado, nuts, seeds or cheese, since they exceed the fat content of the dish and also the calories."

  • "Ultimately, the important thing is to include it in the diet, either daily or every other day, balancing its consumption with other fatty sources of interest and in adequate amounts depending on the energy expenditure and the diet that is followed."

Guacamole, always homemade

One of the most popular avocado-based preparations is guacamole, an option as versatile in its use (such as dip, sauce or just) as tasty, which also fulfills one of the key premises to get the full nutritional advantage of this food. : "It is very important that when we consume avocado it is natural, and if you opt for guacamole, it should be homemade, since those that are bought already prepared usually have a higher salt content," explains Marisa Calle.

Precisely, this dish is in full "celebration" since at the request of the WAO the "Month of the Guacamole World Cup" is being carried out for the first time in Spain, an initiative in which many countries have participated for a long time during the month July and that includes, among other events, a contest, the GUACAchallenge, which seeks the best recipe for this dish.

But in addition to guacamole, there is a wide repertoire of recipes, all easy to prepare, that allow you to enjoy this food. Mireia Elías, nutritionist-dietitian at the Centta Institute, lists some of the healthiest options:

  • Toasts with avocado, boiled egg and pine nuts.

  • Guacamole dip in a more original version, with edamames and mango, to take with vegetable crudités or whole wheat bread.

  • Salmon or tuna tartar with avocado.

  • Grilled avocado.

  • Stuffed avocados.

  • And, also, in sweet recipes, such as a cocoa cream (to which avocado is added to give it texture).

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3 years ago


delicious the avocado its properties are wonderful, it is native to america and it has been eaten in this continent for more than 4000 years and the first Europeans to eat it were the Spanish in the conquest. You already have a follower, I hope you take a look at my profile and see my work on the biodivercity of Colombia.

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