Avocado: Is it overrated? Know the benefits, alternatives

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Photo: Collected

As the fitness industry grows and its community determines trends, avocado has gotten quite a bit of buzz these past few years. Out of many of the superfoods publicized online, avocado has gotten the most love and there are many reasons for it. It may be the secret ingredient to many success stories with regards to fitness, but there are other ingredients that deserve to share the spotlight. Here’s why avocado is so popular now, and you can determine whether the fruit is overrated or whether it deserves the hype.

Availability

There are many variables that can take credit for the avocado’s rise to fame. As avocado import restrictions have become lenient in North America, many grocery stores have the fruit in abundance. In addition to this, Mexican restaurants have been on a rise in popularity and guacamole is ever-present in their dishes. Bubble tea brands have also adopted avocado smoothies into their beverages - adding a thick, creamy taste into a drink that is meant for casuals.

Versatility

Avocado is a staple to many dishes that are both sweet and savory. From guacamole paste to smoothies, it’s hard for avocado to go wrong. For the more health-conscious crowd, avocado goes wonderfully in salads or is eaten on its own as a post-meal treat. Avocado can also be eaten as a snack if the fruit is turned into a dip. This is very common when eating corn chips and is something worth trying!

It Tastes Good

Obviously, it is based on preferences, but this butter fruit has a taste that blends so perfectly with other ingredients that it can assume a different identity depending on the ingredients it is mixed together with. While the creamy texture will still remain, the notes are noticeable and complement the dish rather than overpowering the mix. Because of this, avocado doesn’t seem to have many drawbacks when consumed casually.

Shelf Life

Some fruits are difficult to maintain when it comes to keeping them ripe, but the avocado doesn’t have this problem. By purchasing the fruit before it ripens, all you need to do is leave it at room temperature until the right time. Avocados have slightly under two weeks until it is considered overripe - a relatively generous amount of time for people to make use of the fruit after purchase.

The Keto Diet

The Ketogenic diet has become quite the fad in recent years and its results are undeniable if done right. Avocado’s high containment of fat is often seen as the solution when avoiding carbohydrates and is often favored upon for its versatility and flavor. Compared to other foods that contain fat, avocados don’t have as high of a calorie count and even possess weight loss properties that make this a go-to for many.

Health Benefits of Avocado

Before diving into the details of how avocado helps the body, the fruit itself contains Vitamins, B5, B6, C, E, and K which is impressive for a standalone fruit. The fruit also outshines bananas in terms of potassium levels, which does wonders for one’s blood pressure. This will eventually reduce the risks of facing strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure. There’s more for the heart! Avocado contains monounsaturated fatty acid that is an integral compound found in olive oil. This too reduces heart risks and inflammation.

Like many other fruits and vegetables, avocados are a great source of fiber which is crucial to any diet. The nutrient helps your body metabolize quickly and moderates spikes of sugar within the blood. This is one of the most critical nutrients for overall weight loss and has been a necessity to many healthy diets. Fiber also contributes to reducing your body’s overall cholesterol - working in tandem with potassium and vitamins. It is also one of the best solutions for constipation.

So Is Avocado Overrated?

As a fruit, it is absolutely not. Avocado’s prevalence came in at a time when more were willing to sacrifice carbohydrates and there are very few fruits and vegetables out there with a fat content that can fill in as a snack and ingredient to a multitude of meals.

The difficult part about avocados is that it is still a fat-rich food source that can do the opposite of what you’d want in a weight loss diet if too much is consumed. Additionally, surveys have shown that people’s perception of avocado has prompted them to stay within an avocado-based diet almost exclusively. Much like almost any other type of food, too much of one thing could pose serious problems down the road.

Avocado Alternatives

While giving up on the fat-heavy butter fruit can be tricky, there are a few alternatives out there that can still supply your body with sufficient nutrients. Bananas for example are creamy alternatives that are abundant in potassium and magnesium. While it is harder to make a banana work in savory meals, having the fruit with toast or as a smoothie is still on the tables.

Coconuts also offer some fat that can carry you through your keto diet. It is ideally eaten raw and will give your body the same amount of nutrients for weight loss while also doing great things for your skin and hair. This fruit is also a good source of potassium and can take the banana’s role as an alternative if you are looking for a less creamy fruit to consume.

Blueberries are underrated, but possess one of the highest antioxidant levels among all fruits. It may not be perfect for the keto diet, but it can still be a staple after every meal for its weight loss properties alone. As an added bonus, blueberries also enhance cognitive functions and keep your mind ever so sharp if taken semi-regularly.

Ezra Gideon, UNB & Dhaka Courier Correspondent in Singapore.

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