Demystifying the superfood of the Millennials
Avocado toast. Kale smoothies. Black-rice/quinoa Baja bowls. Meet the food celebrities of the 21st century. According to the International Trade Centre, global avocado imports hit $4.82 billion in 2016, with imports growing by 21% between 2012 and 2016. According to a report on BBC.COM, young people in their 20s and 30s are directly responsible for the demand for avocados skyrocketing.
So is this ‘fatty’ food just a fad or does it really have benefits?
THE DELICIOUS BITS
The answer is a resounding yes. Avocados come packed with heart-friendly good fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and is also an excellent source of Vitamin C. Here’s a closer look at it benefits:
1. Reduces the risk of heart diseases: Avocados are loaded with monounsaturated fats. In simpler terms, the good fats that improve the levels of the good cholesterol (HDL) and lower the bad one (LDL). This means it lowers the risk of cardiac issues.
2. Fights diabetics: A diet high in fibre keeps you fuller and helps maintain a healthy bowel. Avocados come with nearly 13 grams of fibre, which is almost half of your recommended intake, and is a great way of warding off Type 2 diabetics. High fibre-diet regulates blood sugar better, and decreasing insulin peaks after meals lower risk of developing diabetes considerably.
3. It has more potassium: A single avocado has 975 milligrams of potassium, while a banana—well-known for being loaded with potassium—delivers just 487 milligrams per large fruit.
4. It’s loaded with vitamins: Each fruit is said to contain 26 per cent of your recommended daily intake values of Vitamin K (for healthy bones), 13 per cent of your Vitamin B6 (for a brain and energy boost), and 10 per cent of your Vitamin E (for age-defying skin).
5. It comes packed with protein: One avocado is said to have four grams of great-quality protein, the highest in fruits!
6. It’s a great substitute for butter/oil in baking: Yes, avocados are great in salads, smoothies and on toasts, but the creamy texture and healthy fats make for a surprisingly-easy baking substitution. You can make your cake and eat it too, without the guilt or the calories!
THE BAD BITS
The avocado is a superfood for us humans, no doubt. However, it isn’t great for the environment or our planet. A large chunk of the world’s avocado production takes place in the mountains of Michoacán, in Mexico. Apparently, this process uses twice as much water as a fairly dense forest. A researcher from Mexico’s National Institute for Forestry revealed that between 2001 and 2010, avocado production tripled in Michoacán—and that the rise in demand for avocados had caused the loss of about 1,700 acres of forest a year!
THE WAY FORWARD: INDIAN AVOCADOS
Let’s be real. The world isn’t going to give up on this superfood anytime soon. The next best option? Buying locally produced varieties of the fruit! It is not indigenous to India, and probably came from Mexico roughly a century or more ago. Known as Butter Fruit in India, it grows abundantly in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The avocado tree thrives in subtropical/tropical climates, which means there is a year-round supply of avocado in South India. Farmers in Maharashtra (Nashik and Pune) are also investing in lush avocado farms. The biggest difference between the Indian and international variety is the fat content in the fruit, which gives it a more creamier texture. A good Hass avocado has more fat than its Indian counterpart. Butter Fruit costs one-third of Hass avocados.
So, eating avocado and being mindful of your carbon footprint needn’t be mutually exclusive! The next time you head to the gourmet store or the fruit vendor, give our native Butter Fruit a go over the exotic looking pear-shaped Hass. Just don’t judge our avocado based on its round-ish, shiny exterior! You won’t be disappointed, we promise.
[Image Credit: Freepik]