It is used in the recipes of many ethnic cuisines, from Mexican to Japanese, but is also increasingly widespread on the tables of Italians. From breakfast to lunch to dinner, avocado is now consumed in large quantities in Italy. What is the right amount of avocado we can (or should) consume? We talked about it with Dr. Silvia Goggi, dietician at Humanitas San Pio X.
There are up to a hundred varieties
Its name comes from the Spanish aguacate, and even earlier from the original noun ahuacat, which means “testicle”: avocado, in fact, always grow in pairs. The discovery of this exotic fruit by European populations took place during the Spanish patrol in the Americas. From a botanical point of view, the avocado fruit is a drupe, like peach, apricot, cherry, olive and coconut. The plants that generate this fruit can live up to 200 years. There are more than a hundred varieties of avocado, but the most common is the Hass (about 80% of world consumption), which comes from a grafted tree. The avocado can weigh up to 1 kg and ripens only after it has been harvested. That’s why the fruits found on the market are usually very hard and can hardly ever be consumed immediately.
Nutritional values and properties of avocado
Avocado is a highly energetic fruit, rich in monounsaturated fats, while the component of saturated fats is rather modest.
Rich in omega 9, the same fatty acids found in olive oil, avocado is a food that fits well in the context of a healthy diet. However, attention should be paid to its high calorie intake: a whole fruit of medium size can in fact bring alone up to 500 calories.
This means that this fruit should be added to the diet as a replacement, and not in addition to other foods. For example, if a salad will contain half an avocado, it is not appropriate to add oil. The vitamin content of the fruit is also good, rich in potassium, magnesium and folic acid, an essential element for the development of the fetus during pregnancy, as well as vitamin E.
What is the right amount of avocado?
Avocados are very rich in fiber which, unlike oils, contribute to satiety, as well as “good” fats that can combat hypercholesterolemia. This fruit also helps the body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins introduced with meals, such as A, E and K. Adding it to the salad then helps to absorb the vitamins from the fresh vegetables.
In a low-calorie diet, however, it is not recommended to exceed half a tablespoon of avocado per day. It is better to refrain from consumption altogether if you are following a diet with a low content of FODMAPs, since avocado contains very fermentable fibers that can cause intestinal swelling.