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What is an avocado really?
An avocado is a bright green fruit with a large pit and dark leathery skin. They’re also known as alligator pears or butter fruit. Many think an avocado is a veggie but really it’s a pear shaped berry (thats right my friends, it’s a fruit). You don’t want to be afraid of the fat in your avocado, it is a mono-unsaturated fat which is some of the healthiest fat you can eat. Rich in vitamins A, E + K, which are all fat soluble, avocados also have vitamins B, C and trace minerals including magnesium and potassium (both known to help reduce blood pressure).
Common uses of Avocado
Avocados are a healthy food you can add. The vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats you get from avocados help prevent disease and keep your body in good working order.
Avocados may help ward off:
- Cancer. The folate you get from avocados may lower your risk of certain cancers, such as prostate and colon cancer. Nutrients in avocados may also treat cancer.
- Arthritis and osteoporosis. Studies on oil extracts from avocados show they can reduce osteoarthritis symptoms. The vitamin K in avocados boosts your bone health by slowing down bone loss and warding off osteoporosis.
- Depression. Research shows a link between depression and low levels of folate. Folate helps block the buildup of a substance called homocysteine in your blood. Homocysteine slows down the flow of nutrients to your brain and ramps up depression. The high levels of folate in avocados may help keep depression symptoms at bay.
- Inflammation. Chronic inflammation can kick off many diseases, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis. The vitamin E in avocados lowers inflammation in your body.
- Rich in Oleic Acid, a Very Healthy Fat
- Reduces Cholesterol and Improves Heart Health
- High in Lutein, an Antioxidant That has Benefits for The Eyes
- Enhances the Absorption of Important Nutrients
The Avocado tree
Avocados may be medium to large trees but dwarf varieties exist for home growing. The trees have fragile limbs that are easily damaged by wind and the entire plant is very sensitive to cold conditions. The tree is evergreen with thick, leathery leaves and produces perfect white, ivory to yellow flowers. The fruit has a large seed or pit in the center and may be green or nearly black.
Types of Avocado
African avocados are argued to be some of the greatest, with majority of the exported varieties coming from both Kenya and South Africa. Technically there are hundreds of different avocado varieties out there, but here in the Kenya there are 3 common types: Hass, Fuerte, and Puebla.
The Haas: on the other hand have a dark green or black pebbly skin, and the flesh is richer and creamier.
Feurte avocados are pear shaped with skin that is thin and glossy. It’s a green color with a textured and loose skin which makes the Fuerte easy to peel and eat.
Pueblas are a spreading tree with a dark green color. The tree bearing the fruit is a deep purple and almost maroon around the fruit. The fruit itself is very green in color. This type of avocado is normally used as a root stock and matures 5-7 months after blossoming. Puebla mainly grown in Kenya compared to South Africa.