By Brandi Tacdol; First Year Project Manager
The avocado originated from South-Central Mexico between 7,000 and 5,000 BC. Avocado seeds were believed to be domesticated back to 750 B.C since they were found buried with mummies. Around 500 B.C, avocados were cultivated in Mexico. Today, they are grown in tropical and subtropical climates; however, California produces 90% of the avocado crop in the United States with one single avocado tree producing up to 500 avocados each year.
Avocados are that are considered to be one of the most nutrient-dense fruits available. Because they are very high in nutrients, they have many health benefits that are significant.
Avocados are high in healthy fats and compared to much other fat-containing foods, they are relatively low in calories, sodium, and cholesterol. The source of healthy fats are the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which are important to help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol, which overall helps to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. MUFAs also help provide nutrients for the body’s cells as well. Furthermore, avocado oil itself contains oleic and linoleic acids which also help to lower cholesterol levels.
Avocados are also very rich in protein, fiber, vitamin E, and potassium. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which is a strong anti-oxidant that protects the body from free radicals that can cause damage. Avocados are also a great source of potassium as one avocado contains as much potassium that is seen in two or three bananas. They are also great sources of dietary fiber which helps improves digestive health.
Avocados are also used in alternative medicine therapies. In Europe, avocados are used in a mixture with soybean oils to treat knee and hip osteoarthritis. This mixture is believed to work as an anti-inflammatory agent, and studies have demonstrated that it can help prevent damage to the joints.
In addition to the many health benefits that avocados have, they can be easily incorporated into the diet. They can be used as a spread on sandwiches, sliced to into pieces and added to salads or used to make guacamole.
Overall the benefits of this nutrient-dense fruit may help you improve your health.
Pieterse, Zelda. “Avocados (monounsaturated fatty acids), weight loss and serum lipids.” Energy (kJ) 1021 (2003): 741.