Sunday 31 May, 2020

Botanical Roots: Why you should eat 'pear'

Two slices of avocado. (PHOTO: iStock)

Two slices of avocado. (PHOTO: iStock)

The avocado is a tropical fruit that thrives in tropical and sub-tropical climes.

Popularly called "pear" in Jamaica, the fruit is very widely consumed in the island and across the Caribbean.

Some of the many ways it can be consumed include in salads, on the side of almost any meal, in guacamole, with bread or as part of the Jamaican favourite, 'bulla and pear'.

It doesn't just taste good. Avocado is a wonder fruit and has many health benefits.

It contains soluble fats, fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytosterols. Eating avocados regularly will boost heart health, improve digestion, make for a healthy liver and aid in weight management. The fruit also helps keep the eyes healthy due to its high lutein content. It is also a very good way to protect the skin from aging.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, avocados contain minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium,potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. They also have high levels of vitamin A, K, C, E, B6,  thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin (vitamins B1, B2, B3, respectively).

When eaten raw, the fruit is most beneficial to the health, and the compound Beta-sitosterol assists in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. 

Avocados are a good source of potassium which makes the fruit a perfect defense against hypertension as potassium helps to maintain a normal heart rate. Eating potassium-rich foods like avocados reduces blood vessel and artery tension which regulates blood pressure. This may help reduce the risk of clotting, heart attacks, and strokes.

The fruit is also an excellent aid for the intestines and aids digestion as it contains soluble and insoluble fibre, which help to keep the digestive system in good working order. These fibres are essential to the digestion process because they bulk up stools and help ensure the smooth passage of food through the intestinal tract. Avocados also reduce the symptoms of constipation and diarrhea.

Avocados enrich dry, chapped or damaged skin. They are added to many cosmetics and also used for nourishing dry and damaged hair.

Also, avocados are great for reducing the inflammation of tissues, joints, and muscles.

Consumption of avocados helps in preventing halitosis (bad breath). The root cause of bad breath is indigestion or an upset stomach. Avocados improve digestive health and also kill the bacteria in your mouth.

Avocados are also a very good source of food to aid in reducing liver damage. These organic compounds help in improving liver health. Findings of a research study published by the American Chemical Society suggest that avocados may play a major role in toning up and protecting your liver from a wide variety of conditions.

The inclusion of avocado in the diet of a pregnant woman may help in lowering risk of Vitamin K deficiency in a newborn child as the fruit has a very high amount of vitamin K (almost 40 percent of the daily requirement in a single serving!)

Morning sickness is a very common feature of pregnancy. Avocados can help overcome nausea and queasiness as it contains vitamin B6, which is commonly connected to reducing nausea and vomiting.

Avocado contains carotenoids and monounsaturated fat, both of which are associated with the reduction of cancer. Avocado also contains glutathione, an antioxidant that protects the cells from cancer and the dangerous effects of free radicals.

Top NFL star Tom Brady is said to be an avocado buff and that may be because the fruit is a very useful source of natural energy for athletes who must maintain optimal nutrition to fuel their body. Avocado provides vital nutrients and healthy fats to athletes to maintain energy levels and good health. They also contain phytochemicals that are a natural fuel source for the body.

However, the fruit does have some side effects if too much of it is consumed in one go. It may result in migraine headaches, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light.

Some of this content was taken from

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