Avocado, also called an avocado pear or alligator pear is a staple in the Aztec diet. Gaining popularity in recent years, it is a tasty addition to culinary inventions with many beneficent properties.
From a botanical point of view, avocado is a large berry.
It contains a single, large seed.
Its name comes from the Spanish word aguacate.
The name derives from Mexicano – the Uto-Aztecan language family – āhuacatl.
The avocado belongs to the Lauraceae family.
It is a flowering plant family that includes true laurel – an aromatic evergreen tree.
It originates from southcentral Mexico.
Later avocado cultivations spread to North, South, and Latin America, Africa, Asia, and southern Europe. Mexican cultivations produce over 2,3 million tons a year.
Some sources claim avocado was domesticated by Mesoamerican tribes about 5,000 years ago.
It makes its cultivation as old as the invention of the wheel.
Avocado is pear-shaped, round, or egg-shaped.
It is usually 7 – 20 centimeters long and weighs about 100 – 170 grams. Its flesh is fat and creamy, and the outer layer thick, leathery, and green or brown-green.
Avocado trees grow up to 20 – 24 meters high.
The ripening period of the fruit is exceptionally long and takes between 6 to 8 months.
Avocado contains many valuable substances beneficial to the human body.
One of them is oleic acid, which lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Avocado is rich in unsaturated fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6.
It increases the absorption of lycopene from tomatoes, therefore it should be consumed together.
It also contains a lot of monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acids.
It means it has four times less fat than butter.
Avocado contains more potassium than a banana.
It also contains vitamins B, C, E, A and is an antioxidant.
It has beneficial anti-cancer properties.
Avocado seed contains twice as many antioxidants as the flesh and is a viable source of soluble fiber, which is an ally of those who try to keep a slim figure.
Some claim that the avocado seed contains more valuable substances than the fruit itself. It is used after drying and pulverizing. It is estimated that about 70% of the amino acids are found in the seed. Phenolic compounds contained in the seed prevent stomach ulcers. It is a source of zinc, which protects men from prostate problems. According to the scientist, flavonoids in the seed inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Regular consumption of avocado provides good protein and fiber.
There are 7 grams of fiber per 100 grams of fruit.
Women should consume avocados during pregnancy due to folic acid.
The flesh of avocado has been treated as an effective aphrodisiac for centuries.
The leaves and bark were used to reduce fever and treat women’s diseases.
Avocado has many uses in the beauty industry.
Facial masks based on avocado help achieve firm and moisturized skin.
The avocado trade is so beneficial that it has become an interest of drug cartels.
There are known cases of seizing cultivations by the mafia.
The increasing popularity of avocados is causing deforestation to prepare new cultivation sites.
Because of persin – a fungicidal toxin produced by the plant for self-protection – avocados are highly poisonous to many organisms.
It is poisonous to horses, cattle, goats, rabbits, ostriches, chickens, canaries, corrugated parakeets, and fish. Most persin is found in bark, seed, leaves, and rind, and a small amount is also found in the flesh. Persin is generally harmless to humans.