The avocado is a fruit native to South and Central America and is also known as Butter Fruit or Alligator Pear. Avocados are now grown all over the world in tropical climates. In the US they are extensively cultivated in California.
It is round or pear shaped with a shiny dark green skin in most varieties. Some varieties are purplish in color or veering towards black.
The fruit has a large central seed surrounded by a pale greenish yellow or vivid golden yellow flesh of the consistency of firm butter hence one of the names. The avocado is an established part of the diet in several tropical countries in the world.
The avocado is fat-rich with a fat content of around 23 percent of predominantly monounsaturated fat. It is high in dietary fibers and minerals like copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, selenium, iodine, phosphorous and zinc. The fruit is also rich in vitamin content especially vitamins K and A. Small quantities of vitamins B, C and E are also found along with B6, Riboflavin, Niacin, Thiamin, Biotin and Folate.
The avocado is known to be good for digestion, and is beneficial in heart health, hair care, psoriasis, skin care and bad breath. A high intake of avocado has had a proven and dramatic implication on serum cholesterol levels. One such study after a diet rich in avocados showed a 17 percent reduction in total serum cholesterol levels after as little as seven days. This was accompanied with a 22 percent decrease in both the triglyceride levels and LDL or bad cholesterol. Correspondingly the HDL or good cholesterol level rose by 11 percent.
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