A fresh avocado when added to a tomato sauce or raw carrot meal promotes conversion of provitamin A (inactive vitamin form) to vitamin A (active vitamin form), says a study. Vitamin A is involved in reproductive health and growth promotion; helps support healthy skin, immune function, and vision; and has antioxidant properties.
For the study, researchers investigated if avocados could help the body better use and absorb vitamin A from carotene-rich foods when eaten together.
"Pairing certain foods together is more than just about taste - specific foods eaten together can help your body utilise the benefits more effectively. We know that avocado consumers are interested in foods that act like a 'nutrient booster'," said Nikki Ford from Hass Avocado Board in the US. The research was based on two randomised, two-way crossover feeding studies in 12 healthy men and women.
Compared to a tomato sauce meal without avocado, the addition of one avocado (150 g), more than quadrupled (4.6 times) the conversion of provitamin A to vitamin A. Similarly, the researchers found that compared to a raw carrot meal without avocado, the addition of one avocado significantly increased (12.6 times) the conversion of provitamin A to vitamin A.
"Avocados are a nutrient dense, cholesterol-free fruit with naturally good fats, and are a delicious and easy way to add more fruits and vegetables to everyday healthy eating plans," Ford added.
The findings were published in The Journal of Nutrition.