What are the Benefits of Avocado
Where Did Avocado Originate
Avocado, the fruit, has been traced back to about 10,000 B.C. in Puebla, Mexico. It was known to to the peoples of Central and South America and widely distributed in those regions.
The word "avocado" is derived from the Aztec word ahuacatl which means testicle; perhaps based on the shape of the fruit. The Aztec called the avocado "the fertility fruit."
Avocado grows best in tropical climates though there are some cultivars that grow in California. The avocado is a tree. In South America the avocado is called the la manzana del invierno, which means "the apple of the winter."
Trees can grow to seventy (70) feet.
Avocado ripens once picked, which means that growers can actually leave the fruit on the tree and delay harvest until ready to market. Some cultivars allow the fruit to remain on the tree for months after reaching maturity. The average avocado tree produces one hundred or more fruit per year. The tree "prefers" humid low wind environments; it does not tolerate freezing temperatures so most orchards can be found in tropical or temperate environments.
Most trees bear heavily in one year and sparsely in the next.
Avocado as Food
Eating avocado has definite health benefits and have been shown to have a positive effect on serum cholesterol levels. In one study a seven-day diet rich in avocados, test subjects showed a 17% decrease in total serum cholesterol levels and a 22% decrease in both LDL (harmful cholesterol) and triglyceride levels. They also had an 11% increase in HDL (helpful cholesterol) levels.
Avocado has very high fat levels when compared to other fruit. Mostly monounsaturated fat, at 9 grams, and polyunsaturated at 2 grams.
Avocado is used as a food item by itself, as an addition to other items (such as the California Roll; sushi), as a type of dip (Guacamole), or even as a primary ingredient in ice-cream.
Avocado has roughly 60% more potassium than bananas, which makes them an excellent "sports" food and muscle cramp reliever. They are also rich in vitamin(s), B, E, and K. They are also high in fiber (75% insoluble and 25% soluble) with the average avocado having over 6 grams of fiber.
The leaves and pits of the avocado are toxic to cats, dogs, cattle, goats, rabbits, rats, birds, fish, and horses. So don't be tempted to feed Fido any avocado.
Avocado Ice Cream
This is a quick and easy recipe for avocado ice-cream.
- 1 Large Avocado, peeled and pitted
- 2 Tablespoons orange or lime juice
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/4 Cup sugar, granulated
- 1 Cup heavy cream
- Peel and roughly chop the avocado.
- In a blender or food processor combine the avocado, citrus juice, and egg yolks blend to a fine puree.
- In a medium sized bowl beat the egg whites until stiff
- Whisk in the sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time
- In a smaller bowl whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold in the puree from above
- Pour the mixture into a shallow tray and freeze for three to four hours
- To serve scoop out of the tray and serve with whipped cream, fruit, or chocolate syrup.
Topical Uses for Avocado
When using avocado on the skin use a fruit that is completely ripe. This means the skin will be dark brown or even appear black and the pulp will be quite soft.
In a blender combine an egg yolk, half a cup of milk and half of an avocado. You should end up with a liquid the consistency of a thin lotion. Apply to the skin as you would any skin cleaner and rinse off with cold or tepid water. Refrigerate the liquid between uses. It is best if you make this lotion every few days to keep the treatment fresh.
Avocado Under Eye Treatment
Peel a ripe avocado and remove the pit. Cut into wedges and lying down, place a wedge under each eye. Leave on for about twenty minutes. The potassium will tighten the skin and help reduce that "baggy" look.
Avocado Hand Lotion
In a bowl place a quarter peeled and pitted avocado, egg white, and two tablespoons of uncooked oatmeal along with a teaspoon of fresh lemon or lime juice. Mix the ingredients well and rub into your hands. Leave the mixture for twenty minutes and then rinse with warm water.
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