Literatus: ‘Persea americana’: still missed facts

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014


EVEN health enthusiasts who read a lot may still miss the facts about Persea american (avocado) which we will explore this week. We can only accommodate five facts about it though.

Fact No. 1: Avocado gets healthier for you the riper it is. While still unripe, avocados contain 71 percent monounsaturated fatty acids, 13 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids and 16 percent saturated fatty acids. The Lu study in 2009 noted however that as the avocado fruit ripens, the saturated fat decreases to around 2.13 and the monounsaturated oleic acid increases.

Fact No. 2: The avocado has more potassium content than the banana. Banana is a rich source of potassium. In fact, doctors recommend eating more of it to prevent the recurrence of hypokalemia in patients (i.e. concentration of potassium in the blood is low). While bananas contain 358 mg of potassium, avocados have 485 mg, making it richer in potassium by 35 percent.

Fact No. 3: Avocado is a cholesterol-blocker in the intestines. Avocados are the richest known fruit source of phytosterols with 57 mg content per half fruit (other fruits contain only 3 mg per serving). Phytosterols in avocado are emulsified matrix of fatty acids that promote stronger blockage of cholesterol in the intestines. This enhances cardiovascular health by blocking bad cholesterol from entering bloodstream.

Fact No. 4: An avocado diet is better than a low-fat diet one against cholesterol.

Even in a period of four weeks, the fruit can deliver lowered levels of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), which we know as the “bad cholesterol.” It does so without raising triglycerides or lowering HDL cholesterol (HDL-C), the “good cholesterol.” It does so even better than well-accepted low-fat, high carbohydrate diets.

Fact No. 5: Carotenoid (vitamin A-like substances) concentrations are higher near the peel. The color of the avocado flesh graduates from pale green in the middle section to yellow near the seed. Total carotenoid concentrations, however, you will find greatest in the dark green flesh close to the peel, noted the Lu study in 2005.

Here is a warning though for those who have animal pets: do not feed any part of avocados to your animals. Even the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has listed avocado as toxic to many animals including cats, dogs and horses.

Studies in 2006 noted that even the leaves, bark, skin or pit, are harmful. Indeed, a food to one may be a poison to another.

(zim_breakthroughs@yahoo.com/http://breakthroughs.today.blogspot.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 21, 2014.

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