- High in calories
The flesh of a ripe avocado is as good for you as it tastes. It is a rich source of vitamin E and a good source of potassium, with useful amounts of vitamin B6, and lutein. It also supplies vitamin C, riboflavin and manganese. Vitamins C and E are both antioxidants and can therefore help to prevent the free radical damage that might lead to certain cancers. Potassium helps to control blood pressure and maintain a regular heartbeat and a healthy nervous system. Vitamin B6 is important for the normal functioning of the nervous system, and lutein helps to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Like olive oil, avocados have a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, which are thought to lower blood cholesterol levels. But weight watchers should beware: avocados may contain up to 400 calories per fruit.
Did you know?
- The avocado has the highest protein content of any fruit. However, some Californian varieties derive more than 80 per cent of their calories from fat.
- Although the Spanish noted the existence of the avocado as early as 1519, it was dismissed as flavourless until it began to become popular in 20th-century America.
- Avocados can be round or pear-shaped, no bigger than a hen's egg or weighing several pounds. They also come in a range of colours, from dark green and crimson to yellow or almost black.
- Unlike most fruits, avocados start to ripen only when they have been cut from the tree. If you buy an unripe fruit, store it at room temperature for a few days.
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