Have you ever wondered about the health benefits of Avocados and why they are called Green Gold?
Sometimes house sitting has some unexpected benefits. For instance, at our current house sit in Mexico, the owner has a huge avocado tree that is having a bumper crop.
In fact, it is so loaded that one of the branches snapped off and this is where we got the unexpected perk.
We took photos and notified the owner and she said, “Please help yourself, give some away, put some outside the door for people to take”…we did all three!!
Brief History of the Avocado
Did you know that avocado (Persea Americana) is a fruit? It takes about 3-4 years to produce. It is actually an evergreen tree and is native to North and South America. It was first domesticated by Mesoamerican tribes (north and central America) over 5,000 years ago.
It contains a single pit and can self-pollinate.
Mexico is the leading producer of avocados since 2020 and in that year supplied nearly 30% of the world’s harvest.
The avocado can grow in many shapes – pear, egg, or spherical. Each avocado fruit needs 70 litres (18 US gallons) of water to grow.
Mexican avocado production is concentrated in Michoacán state and West central Mexico. For over 25 years Michoacán has dominated the US market. However, the US can now sample the fruit from Jalisco state.
Why the Avocado is Considered Green Gold
Here in Mexico, Avocados are almost as precious as gold and silver (they are worth nearly $3 billion in exports every year). That is a significant amount of money for Mexico.
Worldwide, the market last year was 9.29 billion dollars (US). This makes it a very lucrative commodity. In fact, profits from avocados are higher than for oil.
Avocado production in Michoacán provides more than 40,000 permanent jobs and approximately 60,000 seasonal jobs.
New Cartel Commodity
With the vast majority of the avocados coming out of Michoacán, this provides a hotbed for cartel activity and control. According to Mexico News Daily, last year this city was the most violent globally.
The avocado industry has become a target for rival cartels fighting to gain control and squeeze the avocado farmers for money. The cartels had access to government databases whereby they kidnapped avocado farmers. Not only have they been kidnapping the farmers, but they are also taking over their farms, and clearing them out so they can grow their own crops.
Besides the drug trade, the cartel is diversifying into other lucrative ventures. In addition to taking control of the ‘green gold,’ they are also attempting to seize land such as the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve so they can produce more agricultural goods and carry out illegal logging, eliminating those who get in their way.
Blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are produced in Michoacá and shipped to the United States. Many of these berry farmers are taxed by the cartels.
Hours before the 2022 Super Bowl, Mexico’s avocado exports were suspended by US authorities because of a threatening phone call to a plant inspector.
Even though this didn’t affect the Super Bowl, because the avocados had already been shipped, the suspension caused the prices of avocados to skyrocket and to remain so for several months.
The cartels are not the only threat to the avocado industry. The deforestation and the water shortage facing Mexico are also causing stress and threatening the supply.
It is very unfortunate that this delicious fruit is facing so much plight to make it to our tables!
Why Are Avocados such a Perfect Fruit?
The avocado is loved by many worldwide. Why? Because it is considered a superfood which contains many nutrients and health benefits such as:
800mg per cup of potassium (double a banana)
a source of vitamin C, K, E, pre-vitamin A and B5
vitamin E which is perfect for skincare
high in good fat but low in sugar
good for the cardiovascular system
Other great reasons to consume avocados include:
They are high in fibre which can aid in promoting a healthy body weight as they keep you satisfied longer than low-fibre foods do.
RICH SOURCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Antioxidants help fight free radicals which can damage cells and create an imbalance. A diet high in antioxidants is beneficial in reducing the risk of chronic disease.
HIGH IN FOLATE
Folate is needed to promote healthy brain function and healthy pregnancies. Pregnant women should consume 600 micrograms per day; can also help prevent birth defects.
A study by the National Library of Medicine on avocados in Maternal Diets during the Periconceptional Period, Pregnancy, and Lactation concluded the following:
LOADED WITH MONOUNSATURATED FATS
These fats help to lower LDL cholesterol (which can cause blood clots by reducing blood flow through the arteries) without affecting the good HDL cholesterol.
As with anything that is good for most of us, there can be some negative side effects for others. These could include:
allergies (rare and can be oral or latex)
possible weight gain so maybe limit intake to half or a small daily if this is a concern
Avocados in Food Preparation
The avocado is not only delicious and nutritious but is very versatile. There are so many sweet and savoury recipes that you can try as well as different ways to eat them.
The ever-popular Guacamole is very important in Mexican culture as it is believed that the Aztecs were among the first person to make it.
In addition to this wonderful dish, avocados can be eaten on their own or consumed in the following ways :
smoothies (my hubby’s favourite)
as a side dish to a meal (one of my favourites ways)
as a stuffing
The list is endless of the many ways you can enjoy avocado!
I for one am extremely grateful to have access to a tree of avocados (green gold) here in the backyard to be enjoyed during our brief stay. We will definitely be helping ourselves. Delicious!
Are you a lover or hater of avocados? What is your favourite way to use them? Let us know in the comments below.