Let’s eat avocado
By Penelope A. Domogo, MD
It is interesting to hear a lot of diverse comments about avocado, some in favor of eating it and some not, for varied reasons. For me, it is one of my favorite fruits. It is yummy, as is or with a little salt, NOT sugar or milk. There are a lot of varieties, though, and some are bland and watery. Some are veiny (is that the translation of “nauwa-uwatan”?). When buying avocados, I pick those with rough skin and uneven surface as these are “nakelnat” or “nakintal” or “diket”. By the way, it is the law of nature that “adi bokodan di gawis”( I translate that as “Nothing or no one has the monopoly of good”). If its skin is shiny and unblemished, it is not that yummy inside. (Would that apply to people, too, I wonder.) Colorful flowers are not fragrant, except some roses. But then, roses have thorns. Fragrant flowers are usually plain white, like the sampaguita or dama de noche. There’s this orchid I got from Cesar Boguen which has amazingly fragrant tiny white flowers. I thought orchids are scentless. Have you ever encountered a perfume with orchid scent? The old saying is also true “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Gosh, nature does teach us a lot.
Let us take a closer look at the yummy avocado. The 1997 Philippine Food Composition Tables states for every 100 grams of red avocado (equivalent to one small avocado), there are:
0.9 grams protein
7.6 grams fat
7 grams carbohydrate
1 gram crude fiber
11 mg calcium
27 mg phosphorous
45 micrograms Beta carotene
1.3 mg niacin or vitamin B3
13 mg ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
Wow, so it even contains protein, minerals like calcium and vitamins like Vitamin C! What people think is that it contains fat only so they are afraid to eat it. Well, it certainly is full of life-giving elements. It contains 20 essential vitamins and minerals. I am sure that if we had more sensitive gadgets, they would discover more. And no, it does not have cholesterol. As we have written in past articles, cholesterol is only found in ANIMALS. So when you see meat, eggs and milk or chocolate, think of cholesterol. NONE in avocado. It is high in fat, yes, but it is good fat as it is monounsaturated fat. Fat is actually needed by certain vitamins and minerals to be absorbed by the body, like Vitamins A, D, E & K and the mineral called iron.
This fat in avocado is needed by the vitamins and minerals in kalunay, tongsoy, camote leaves and all the leafy vegetables and beans that abound this rainy season and which you should be eating precisely because they are in season. This season is also avocado season. Isn’t our Creator so amazing? I mean, wow, He created all things for a reason. And there certainly is a season for everything. I would say that the amazing minute details of the universe that we are discovering today like these vitamins and minerals just affirms that there is somebody greater than us who designed and created all things. How we call this Supreme Being and how we worship this Being is already our human response.
Back to avocado. The avocado tree bears fruit only once a year. But it sure is a very generous tree, right? I would say that those who grow avocados cannot consume all the fruits of their tree, even if it is only one tree. When the fruits mature, they usually mature at the same time and when they ripen, mengigiddan (at the same time), even if I command them to ripen one at a time so I can eat all of them. Well, apparently, the Maker does not recommend that we eat a kilo of avocados in one sitting so He designed them this way. I can eat one whole big avocado in 10 minutes but after that, no matter how much I love avocado, I couldn’t have a second piece. (Give it to me the next day, I will eat it.) So there must be something in avocado that controls my appetite. Wow, that’s intriguing! Researchers say that this must be because of its high fat and fiber content. Fiber is that important substance found in plants that makes you feel full thus the more fiber the food contains, the lesser your intake. Regarding its fat content, one cannot really eat a lot of fat, even felat. Masuya ka. God is good, really. As we mentioned earlier, the good fat in avocado is important in our diet but even good things, in excess, can be bad. So our Creator created avocado in a way that we don’t eat it in excess. Trust Him to know what’s best for us.
And if the avocado is overripe, I wouldn’t eat it. Would you? So you have to share these with your pigs. (But before they are overripe, please share them with your neighbors.) I can’t even dry them or ferment them or perhaps I haven’t tried enough. Has anybody ever tried avocado wine? It cannot be preserved naturally. Anyway, I accept that avocado was designed to be eaten only in moderation and in season (its season is even a few months). Another thing I am thankful for is that we can’t force avocados to fruit out of season. It is one of the plants that have remained organic and natural, like kayomito. We should be careful not to tamper with nature because there’s already an intricate design for balance and harmony which we may not have deciphered but we are sure is there. Agriculturists, please take note.
Another wonderful thing about avocado is the leaves. They make tasty colorful teas, good for anemia and insomnia and diarrhea. There is also this popular 3-in-1 tea for diarrhea in the 1980s– ABK (abukado, bayabas, kayomito). By itself, I marvel at how the avocado tea changes color from yellow green to pink to red. Mind-boggling!
The avocado seed is also good for shampoo, facemask, smoothie, tea, dye and a lot more. I recommend that you read the Mother Nature Network article of Robin Shreeves on “9 ways to use an avocado pit.” Leonard Co in his book “Common Medicinal Plants of the Cordillera Region” lists avocado seed or bark as remedy for rheumatism and neuralgia (nerve pain). Just mix the finely ground dried seed or bark with oil and rub over the painful area. Wow! Innumerable benefits! And we haven’t experimented yet fully with this wonderful fruit.
I planted avocado trees in my yard and anytime I can have avocado tea. I can offer you some – you can still have a good tea with dried avocado leaves. They are not fruiting yet, though. In any case, now that it is in season I can eat all the avocado I want. And I am assured that that will not be too much.***
“He made the moon to mark the seasons and the sun knows its time for setting.” Psalms 104:19