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Another Fruit Super food – the Avocado.

October 18, 2012

By Joan McDaniel     October 17, 2012

Super Food

Continuing my search for safe natural, raw, healthy food to encourage my getting well I have found the term super food used by Naturopathic and holistic nutritionist and natural medicine physicians and researchers.  It means Foods that have an incredible array of health benefits that go well beyond just their nutrient value. These foods are made in nature and not processed by man. They are typically loaded with a combination of critical fatty acids, anti-oxidant phytonutrients and essential amino acids. They are low in sugar and high in fiber content, vitamins and minerals.

So far the super foods I have covered are the:

  • Berry (blueberry, raspberry, etc.)
  • Coconut
  • Olive
  • Nut (Walnut, Almond, etc.)
  • Salmon – wild caught
  • and now the Avocado.

Classification of an Avocado

Now I ask the question what exactly is an Avocado? Is it a — Fruit – Nut – Vegetable – Seed or a Fat?

-         And further what is a Coconut or an Olive?

They are cultivated in tropical climates throughout the world. All are eaten by millions of people all over the world, where they may even grow in their back yards.  All are the name the tree and all are considered among the super food classification. Plus all of them contain over 85% natural saturated and monounsaturated fat.

Now where fats fit on the Standard American Fat-Free Diet plate, I don’t know. I think fats are not allowed, remember LOW-FAT Diet.

So I looked  these particular super foods up and found that botanically speaking, a coconut and the olive is a fibrous one-seeded drupe, also known as a dry drupe. An Olive is a wet drupe. However, when using loose definitions, they can be all three: a fruit, a nut, and a seed that is mostly fat. (good fat)

Botanists love classification and so do the USDA Nutritionist (School lunch food police), however, classification of plants can be a complicated matter for the average person. The human body digestive system isn’t very impressed with USDA’s classifications either, for it just turns that food plate into instant sugar.  Oh again I’m getting sidetracked — On with the Avocado.

A drupe is a fruit with a hard stony covering enclosing the seed (like a peach or olive) and comes from the word drupa meaning overripe olive. A coconut, and all drupes, have three layers:  the exocarp (outer layer), the mesocarp (fleshy middle layer), and the endo-carp (hard, woody layer that surrounds the seed).

So the Coconut, Olive, and Avocado are drupes – Right? Coconut’s and Olives are but an Avocado is classified as a fruit.

Question: What kind of fruit is the avocado?

Answer: A single seeded fleshy fruit or berryThat means the avocado is the same thing as a blueberry, cranberry and the other super food berries.  

The coconut, olive and other super foods have been discussed previously; now let’s talk about the Avocado.

Some brief History of the Avocado

An Avocado (Persea americana), to be precise, it is a tree native to Central Mexico,

a tall evergreen tree that can grow up to 65 feet in height. Avocados are classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel. Avocados were a favorite food of the Aztec Indians.  Avocados have been cultivated in Central and South America since 8,000 BC. In the mid-17th century, they were introduced to Jamaica and spread through the Asian tropical regions in the mid-1800s.

Alligator pear

The English living in Jamaica called the Avocado an alligator pear, referring to its bumpy skin to that of an alligator shaped like a pear. In fact, the avocado is not only a fruit; it is a member of the berry family.

The two most widely marketed avocado varieties are the rough-skinned, almost black Haas and the smooth, thin-skinned green Fuerte.

Cultivated in the United States as the Haas

Cultivation in United States, specifically in Florida and California, began in the early 20th century. While avocados are now grown in most tropical and subtropical countries, the major commercial producers include the United States (Florida and California), Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Colombia.

Brief History of the Haas Avocado

Rudolph Haas from Whittier, California began to cultivate a hardier avocado, one that could produce fruit all year-long.  He began to collect avocado seedlings and experiment with grafting trees. (Note: Grafting not GMOing Generic Engineering in a lab but out in Nature with a real tree seedling). In 1926 he planted three seeds he had bought from Rideout, which yielded one strong seedling.

Haas, a Southern California mail carrier and amateur horticulturist also give this new breed of avocado his name. All commercial, fruit-bearing Haas avocado trees have been grown from grafted seedlings propagated from that single tree seedling. The Haas avocado had one of its first commercial successes at the Model Grocery Store on Colorado Street in Pasadena, California, where chefs working for some of the town’s wealthy residents bought the new cultivar’s big, nutty-tasting fruit for $1 each, a very high price at the time.

Haas patented the tree in 1935 (the first US patent on a tree) and cuttings from the tree were then propagated to graft whole orchards. Rudolph Haas carried on as a postman throughout his life and died of a heart attack in 1952. The early 21st century US avocado industry took in over $1 billion a year with around 80% being the Haas high quality cultivar then sold worldwide.

Fate of mother tree

The original tree lasted until September 11, 2002 it was 76 years old.  This was after a ten-year fight with phytophthora (root rot), a common avocado tree illness. Wood from the tree was made into keepsakes, jewelry and other gifts.

Avocado’s numbers

A Medium Size (1 cup) Avocado contains:

Sugar/Fructose less than 1 g Blueberry 7 g

Dietary Fiber 10g Coconut Meat (1 cup shredded coconut) 80g

Potassium 700mg same size banana is 358mg and Coconut Water 600mg

Good source for Vitamin C, B6, and E.    

Benefits

  • Avocados being a super food, are exploding with minerals, vitamins, anti-oxidants, fatty acids, anti-aging and ton of benefits for the human body.
  • Avocados contain magnesium for an example, which is involved in over 300 metabolic functions of the body alone.
  • Avocados are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Like Olive Oil, the avocado is 75 % monounsaturated fat which helps increase fat metabolism.
  • The light greenish inner pulp of the Avocado may not be bright orange like a carrot or tomatoes, but contains a spectacular array of anti-inflammatory carotenoids.
  • Helps fight anti-inflammatory illness especially Arthritis—including both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Contains critical fatty acids for digestion (lipophilic or fat-loving), allowing for the easy digestion fat soluble vitamins found in vegetables and salads.
  •  Anti-oxidant – Helps neutralize deadly free radicals.
  • Anti-aging. Promotes Heart Health and lowers blood concentration of cholesterol.
  • Promotes Blood Sugar Regulation

But the best of all an Avocado tastes good as a salad dressing. Coconut Oil when cold tastes waxy. I don’t yet provide recipes but be on the lookout for a good guacamole dressing.  Meanwhile take a look at this site.  If they don’t know a few recipes, then I don’t know who would.

The Real Food Channel

Avocado – Super Food

Try the following for recipes;

http://www.avocado.org/guacamole-central

There is much more to tell about the care and feeding and eating of the Avocado and I will do that in the next post.  Did you know it is good for skin care, prevent wrinkles and skin aging, are great for salads and vegetables, fun to grow and fun to eat.  Till next time.

Sources For This Article Include

http://www.naturalnews.com/029864_avocados_health.html

http://www.superfoodsrx.com/superfoods/avocado/
http://www.oprah.com
http://valerietonnerhealthcoach.blogspot.com
http://whfoods.org/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/244436.php
http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/coconut.html

http://www.ucavo.ucr.edu/General/FruitBerry.html

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