15 Things You Didn’t Know About Avocados
Avocados. You know they’re healthy and delicious – especially in homemade guacamole and sandwiches. You know they’re rich in healthy, monounsaturated fats and chock full of vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E and pantothenic acid. Keep reading to learn the health benefits of avocados.
Just check out a nutritional snapshot of one cup of cubed avocados (150 grams). They’re packed full of nutrients – which is why they’re considered a superfood.
Nutritional data and image courtesy of www.NutritionData.com.
But I bet there are a few things you didn’t know about avocados. Check out this list below.
15 Health Benefits of Avocados
1. Avocados have about 35% more potassium than bananas. One cup of cubed avocados (150 grams) has 727 milligrams of potassium compared to one cup of sliced bananas (150 grams) with 537 milligrams of potassium.1, 2
2. Avocados are high in fiber. One cup of cubed avocados (150 grams) has 10 grams of dietary fiber – 40% of the recommended daily value.1
3. Avocados are really a fruit – in fact, botanically they are classified as a berry with a large seed.3
4. Avocados have goofy nicknames. In other parts of the world, avocados are referred to as “alligator pears” due to their shapes and bumpy, green skin in Spain and Mexico, as well as “butter pears” in India and China.3
5. Avocados grow on trees but can’t ripen unless picked. Avocados must be picked when matured in order to properly ripen. They usually ripen within 1-2 weeks of getting picked. If avocados fall off the tree, they can ripen on the ground.3
6. Avocados ripen faster if stored with other fruits, such as bananas and apples. The release of ethylene gas (a natural plant hormone produced by all flowers, fruit, seeds and tubers) stimulates the ripening process.3
Quick Tip: Put unripened avocados in a brown paper bag with a couple of apples to speed up the ripening process. And when you only need half an avocado, save the other half in an avocado saver. Use an avocado slicer to easily cut them to use in salads.
7. Avocados can be frozen. Got a ton of avocados and can’t eat them fast enough? Don’t let those ripen avocados go to waste. Cut them open lengthwise, remove the pit/seed, scoop out the fleshy fruit and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice (which prevents browning). Store in a freezer-safe glass container and pop in the freezer. When you need one, just let it defrost in a cool bowl of water for about 20 minutes.
8. Avocados make the perfect baby food. Forget boxed baby cereals, which are often loaded with GMOs and pesticides, and can cause indigestion in babies. Opt for avocados instead. Babies love the mushy texture and light buttery flavor.
9 Avocados are not so great for pets. The leaves, skin and seed (or pit) of an avocado can be toxic to cats, dogs, birds, cows, goats, guinea pigs and horses if eaten.3
10. You don’t have to buy organic avocados. The thick skins of avocados provides protection from pesticides. Avocados have been rated as one of the safest fruits you can buy that are conventionally grown.3
11. Avocados can be used in baking recipes instead of oil or butter. Whether you’re vegan or trying to avoid oils, avocados make a great substitute for butter or margarine (which should be avoided) in baking recipes.
12. Avocados are delicious in smoothies. Pump up the fiber and potassium kick in your favorite smoothie recipe. Just add 1/2 to a whole medium avocado to your smoothie. There’s a slight avocado flavor, but the overall smoothie tastes richer and more buttery. Try these recipe book for more green smoothie recipes.
13. Avocados may help to lower bad cholesterol. A study published in the Archives of Medical Research found that patients who ate a diet rich in avocados had a 22% decrease in bad cholesterol levels and an 11% increase in good cholesterol.4
14. Avocados may cut the risk of metabolic syndrome. Diabetes, stroke and coronary artery disease are often classified under a group of symptoms known as metabolic syndrome. A study published in the Nutrition Journal showed that eating avocados reduced the risk of metabolic syndrome and improved nutrient intake.4
15. Avocados may help to prevent cancer. Carotenoids are antioxidants that help to protect against certain cancers. California-grown avocados contain 11 carotenoids and the highest concentration of carotenoids are in the dark green, outer flesh of the avocado closest to the peel.5
Love avocados? Tell me your favorite way to enjoy them.
1. Avocados/ Raw, NutritionData.com / Self Magazine. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1843/2
2. Bananas / Raw, NutritionData.com / Self Magazine. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1846/2
3. Avocados, Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avocado
4. What are the health benefits of avocados? Medical News Today. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270406.php
5. The Many Health Benefits of Avocado, Mercola.com. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/17/avocado-benefits.aspx
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