Can you eat raw avocado

In this paper, I will respond to the question “can you eat raw avocado?” by listing the health benefits of this fruit as well as how to buy, store, and consume it as part of a better diet.

Can you eat raw avocado?

You can definitely eat raw avocados and enjoy all the health benefits of this versatile fruit.  It is preferable to eat it ripe to get the most out of its flavor and texture.

How nutritious are avocados?

Avocados are a nutrient-dense, healthful snack that contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for a small quantity of calories. 

A medium avocado (50 g) contains 80 calories and approximately 20 vitamins and minerals. Avocados are high in fiber, folate, vitamin K, Vitamin B5, and copper, as well as naturally beneficial lipids. The American Heart Association and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans both recommend substituting harmful fats for good lipids. 

In fact, over 75% of the fat in avocados is good fat, with 5 grams of monounsaturated fat (MUFA) and 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) per 50 grams of serving. These fatty alcohols have also been reported to exhibit antiviral, cytotoxic, antifungal, trypanocidal, and antioxidant activity (1).

MUFA helps decrease the LDL (bad cholesterol) level in your blood which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Avocado phytosterols have been particularly reported to reduce the risks of coronary heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of 2–3 g of sterols and stanols per day to promote heart health. In addition to its cholesterol-lowering activity, -sitosterol has been demonstrated to inhibit the production of carcinogenic compounds, alleviate symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia, and strengthen the immune system. In summary, these compounds have been hypothesized to work in conjunction in the prevention of oxidative stress and age-related degenerative diseases (1)

The other form of healthy fat is polyunsaturated fat, which includes vital omega-3 fatty acids. Eating raw avocados reduces the risks related to high blood pressure, irregular pulse, high cholesterol, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

In addition, phenolic compounds of different chemical classes from simple organic acids such as gallic acid to larger flavonoids, anthocyanidins, carotenoids  and tocopherols were isolated from avocado species with significant antioxidant, neuroprotective and cardioprotective activities. Notable insecticidal, cytotoxic, and antifungal activities were also reported for the furan and furanone derivatives isolated from avocado (1). 

What are the types of avocados?

Persea americana (commonly known as avocado, avocado pear, or alligator pear) is native to Mexico and Central America, and a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. Botanically, avocado fruit is a berry with a single large seed (1). Avocados come in over 500 different types, each with its own size, texture, shape, and maturity rate. Fuerte and Hass avocados are the most widely found around the world:

  • Fuerte avocados: Fuerte is a medium-green, leathery-skinned fruit with a size range of 8 to 16 ounces. Fuerte avocados are grown in California and are Guatemalan-Mexican in origin. They are available In the fall and winter. It is one of the most popular avocado kinds, maybe due to the ease with which the peel can be removed from the flesh.
  • Hass avocados: Hass is a rough-skinned dark green to purple-black avocado with a higher oil content—and thus more calories—than other types. Hass avocados are farmed in California and originated in Guatemala. Hass avocados are summer fruits that range in size from small to medium (eight ounces on average) and are accessible from April through October.

How to pick an avocado?

Avocados do not mature on the tree; instead, they ripen or “soften” after they are picked. When ripe, fresh avocados change color from a dark green to a deep purplish almost black colour. Although the color of the skin can assist in the initial visual selection of fresh avocados, it is not necessarily the best indicator of maturity. In fact, consistency determines ripeness.

When picking avocados try to choose those who are heavy for their size, with no bruises, dark sunken spots, fissures, or other anomalies. When you push ripe, ready-to-eat avocados between your palms, they should be soft. Firm ones can be ripened in a paper bag or in a fruit basket at room temperature in a few days. As the fruits ripen, the skins darken.

How to store avocados?

Shelf life of fruits is extended at low-temperature storage because metabolism is retarded by a reduction in respiration rate, ethylene production, colour changes and softening. However, the use of low temperatures for avocado storage is limited due to its susceptibility of chilling injury. Optimum temperature for unripe avocados is 5–13 C (for a 2–4 week shelf life) and 2–4 C for mature avocados, depending on the cultivar. Mature avocados stored at 5–8 C could reach a 1–2 week shelf life (2).

When harvested, avocados are mature but unripe, ripening starts after fruits are removed from the tree and it takes from 7 to 13 days, depending on the cultivar and the storage temperature (2). Avocados that are firm and unripe should be stored at room temperature. Fruit can be damaged by temperatures below 55°F. Fruit that is soft and ripe should be kept refrigerated until ready to use.

Contact with air promotes oxidation, therefore the flesh of halved avocados will become brown. Adding lemon or lime juice to the surface of the halves, or blending the juice with pureed avocado, will avoid browning. To prevent flesh discoloration, keep the avocado pit in any unused half and carefully wrap it in plastic film.

Pureed avocados or guacamole can be frozen for later use. Avocados, whether whole or sliced, should not be frozen since the flesh will turn mushy.

How to eat avocado?

Avocado can be easily incorporated into your daily diet in a number of ways. Here are some amazing tips :

  1. Plain avocado: A wonderful complement to any meal is ripe avocados sliced in half and seasoned. For avocado lovers, all you need is a half of an avocado dusted with lemon juice or your preferred seasoning. For a unique touch, add paprika or balsamic vinegar.
  2. Guacamole: the most common use for avocados, is a dip produced by crushing the ripe fruit and mixing in lemon juice, garlic, salt, sauce, tomatoes, and other seasonings as desired. It’s served with corn chips, crackers, or raw veggies as a side dish.
  3. Avocado spread: Avocado is also delicious spread on bread for a creamy, smooth, cholesterol-free topping. Mashed avocado is a delicious source of healthy fats and a cholesterol-free alternative to conventional high-saturated-fat spreads.
  4. Avocado salad: Avocados are a versatile ingredient that can be added to any meal or dinner. Avocado salad is a delightful way to incorporate avocados into your regular diet.
  5. Avocado sandwiches: Fresh avocado can be used in replacement of conventional spreads on sandwiches. Avocados are a fantastic substitute for foods high in saturated fat.
  6. Stuffed avocados: try adding avocados to your breakfast by filling half an avocado with one egg and baking for 15–20 minutes at 425°F (220°C) until the egg white is fully set. You may also season the avocado with fresh herbs and spices like parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, and normal pepper and top it with crumbled cooked bacon.
  7. Avocado soups: Soups are another delicious way to eat avocados. Avocado soup can be made entirely of avocados, or portions of this green fruit can be added to other vegetables.

Avocado is a fantastic and flexible fruit that may be used in a variety of ways.

Other FAQs about Avocado that you may be interested in.

Can an avocado ripen after you cut it? (+7 Tips)

How to store unripe avocado?

Can you get sick from eating old avocado?

Conclusion

In this essay, I answered the question “Can you eat raw avocado” and I highlighted the substantial benefits of this fruit, the way to pick it and to store it. I also gave some amazing ideas to consume this fruit on a regular basis.

Feel free to contact me if you have any request on this subject.

References

  1. Bhuyan, Deep Jyoti, et al. The odyssey of bioactive compounds in avocado (Persea americana) and their health benefits. Antioxidants, 2019, 8, 426. 
  2. Perez, K., J. Mercado, and H. Soto-Valdez. Note. Effect of storage temperature on the shelf life of Hass avocado (Persea americana). Food sci technol inter, 2004, 10, 73-77.