Are you all about avocados? I know I am! I like them on bagels, in sandwiches, and of course, in burritos. But, we’re not here to start a fan page. I’m sure someone on Facebook already has that covered. No, we’re here to learn. Don’t wince. It’ll be fun… I promise.
This versatile fruit (yes, technically it’s a berry) has been a popular staple in Mexico (its native land) for a long time. In fact, archaeologists found evidence that humans have been eating avocados for at least 120,000 years.
From Mexico, the avocado spread all over the world. It takes certain climates for avocado trees to do well, though. Most avocado cultivars do not like cold weather, though some can tolerate temperatures in the low 20s, for relatively short periods of time.
Today, avocados are grown in Spain, Morocco, Crete, Columbia, New Zealand, California, Hawaii, and other places where the soil and weather are suitable for their cultivation.
Good and Good For You
Avocados contain a lot of fat, but don’t worry: it’s the good kind. About 3/4 of the energy your body takes in when you eat an avocado comes from oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat linked to lowering triglyceride and LDL levels in the human bloodstream. While avocados are fatty, they contain zero cholesterol, so they’re a health-healthy, high energy snack.
In addition to having healthy fats to spare, avocados are rich in:
- potassium (they put bananas to shame in that department)
- folic acid (essential for expecting women)
- vitamin K
- vitamin B6 (essential for brain and nerve function)
- vitamin C (more benefits than you can count)
- vitamin E (free radicals, look out!)
- dietary fiber (you know what fiber’s for)
Avocado Fun Facts
You know the creamy, rich fruit of the avocado is delicious and good for you, but here are some things you may not be aware of:
- All trees bearing the popular Hass avocado cultivar are directly descended from a single tree. Raised by a La Habra Heights, CA mailman, the tree was planted in 1935, and survived until 2002, when it died of root rot (aww).
- Avocados are used for sweet treats and savory foods in many parts of the world, but seldom are they used for both in a single region. For example, in Brazil, avocados are typically served mashed with sugar and milk, and eaten as a dessert. But in neighboring Argentina, they are only served with savory dishes.
- Avocado skin, pits, leaves, and bark can be life-threatening to your dogs, cats, rabbits, goats, guinea pigs, birds, fish, cattle, rats, and horses. So. Keep your pets away from your avocados. Also, that’s too many pets for one person. What are you, a zookeeper?
- Another name for avocado is “alligator pear.” And, in some parts of the world it is known as “butter fruit.”
[Photo Credit: eatlivegrowpaleo]