Avocados are trees long considered to have originated in Southern Mexico and usually categorized as members of a flowering plant family known as Lauraceae. According to the latest archaeological studies, there is evidence which indicates that avocados have been in Peru as long as 9,000 to 14,000 years ago.
The term avocado (also called alligator pear) often refers to the fruit of the tree. This fruit is a large-sized berry that contains one large seed.
Avocado is a commercially valuable fruitIt is cultivated in the Mediterranean and tropical climates across the world. It has a green skin and plump body that can be egg-shaped, pear-shaped, or spherical.
Commercially, the fruit ripens after harvesting. An avocado tree is self-pollinating to some extent and is usually propagated using grafting to retain a predictable quantity and quality.
Where Does It Grow
The largest avocado growing nation in the world is Mexico. The country produces the fruit several times more compared to the next largest producer. The total area reserved for avocado production, in 2013, was 169,157 hectares (416,522 acres), while the total harvest was a whopping 1.48 million tonnes.
The regions that tend to grow the most avocado in the country are Morelos, México, Nayarit, Michoacan, and Puebla. These regions make up 88% of the aggregate production.
The fruit was successfully introduced to California from Mexico in the latter half of the 19th century and is now considered a successful and booming cash crop.
About 60,000 acres are dedicated to the production of avocado in the United States, with over 95% of the country's production in Southern California, with San Diego County taking 60% of the share.
A small town in California called Fallbrook is often called the Avocado Capital of the World (a title, which it shares with a Mexican town called Uruapan). Also, both Carpinteria and Fallbrook, California host avocado festivals on an annual basis. Avocado is also California’s official fruit.
The production of avocado in Peru spreads over thousands of hectares in western and central Peru. Peru has gradually become the biggest avocado supplier to the EU. Moreover, the country has recently begun exporting the fruit in great quantities to countries in North America.
Peru is located along the Pacific Ocean and close to the equator which helps create consistent and mild temperatures throughout the year.
The soil in the region is sandy and rich, while the tall Andes Mountains are a great source of pure water needed for irrigation. As the country does not experience freezing temperatures or heavy rain, it offers an ideal climate for avocado cultivation.
Avocado Nutritional Facts
Avocados are a great nutritional source with a distinct nutrition profile. They are rich in fiber and have plenty of minerals and vitamins, like vitamin K, B-vitamins, copper, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin E.
On average, avocados consist of 74% water, 14% fat, while carbohydrates make up 8.5% (in the form of fibers). The rest of the 2% is protein. A full avocado contains about 218 calories which correspond to about 160 calories for every 100 grams.
Is Avocado Vegetable Or Fruit
Although some people may argue over it, avocado is certainly a fruit. To be more specific, it is a large berry that contains one seed. Although it is less sweet compared to many other fruits, it meets the definition of fruit, usually defined as the fleshy and sweet product of a plant or tree that has a seed and is edible.
Why Is Avocado Common Ingredient In Skin And Hair Care Products
Avocados are popular in both skin and hair products as they contain the “good” type of fat. The monounsaturated and fatty acids found in the fruit are rich in nutrients and help develop cells inside and outside your body, as per the American Heart Association.
If you would like to restore smooth texture and glossy look to your hair, you will find that an avocado-based conditioner is an ideal choice for your needs.
With avocado masking no longer has to be an indulgence. You can make it a normal part of your skincare regimen. The healthy vitamins, fatty acids, as well as antioxidants contained in avocados make this fruit an ideal staple for many facial masks. These ingredients help revitalize and moisturize your skin.
Avocado also soothes sunburns, clears up bad breath and reduces wrinkles.
Health Benefits Of Avocados
Avocado is a distinct kind of fruit. A majority of fruits usually consist of carbohydrates; in contrast, avocado is rich in various healthy fats. Many studies have shown that the fruit has great beneficial impacts on health. We will discuss some of these health benefits that are also supported by scientific evidence.
They Are Rich In Potassium
Potassium is an important nutrient for the body, and a majority of people do not get enough of it. The vital nutrient helps maintain many electrical gradients in the cells of your body and also performs several other important functions.
Avocados are quite rich in potassium, and a typical 100-gram serving contains about 14% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance. This level is high compared to bananas that contain 10% of the RDA and are considered high potassium food.
Many studies have shown that consuming foods rich in potassium can reduce your blood pressure, which is the main risk factor for strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure.
Loaded With Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
Avocados are high-fat fruits. They are among the fattiest foods as about 77% of calories in avocados are fat-based. However, the good news is that they do not contain harmful fats. Most of the fat in avocados is in the form of oleic acid. It is an important monounsaturated fatty acid and found in olive oil.
It has many health benefits. Oleic acid can benefit you by reducing inflammation and also has a beneficial effect on various genes associated with cancer. Also, the fats found in avocado are quite resistant to heat oxidation, which makes avocado oil a very safe and healthy choice for cooking.
Rich In Fiber
Another key nutrient found in large amount in avocados is fiber. Fiber is an indigestible matter that has many health benefits such as it helps lose weight, lower spikes in blood sugar and reduce the risk of several other diseases. People often make a distinction between insoluble and soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber tends to feed the gut bacteria in your intestine. These bacteria are vital for the effective functioning of your body.
Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death. Research has revealed that many blood markers link to a higher risk of heart disease.
These markers include triglycerides, cholesterol, inflammatory markers as well as elevated blood pressure, among others. The health impacts of avocados on a few of the risk factors were part of eight controlled trials.
The research showed that intake of avocados:
- Considerably reduced cholesterol level
- Cut down LDL cholesterol by nearly 25%
- Lowered blood triglycerides by as much as 20%
- Increased HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) by nearly 12%
Another study showed that the incorporation of avocado in low-fat vegan diets could lead to considerable improvement in your cholesterol profile.
Avocado contains two important chemicals zeaxanthin and lutein. These phytochemicals are concentrated in your eye tissues and offer antioxidant protection to reduce damage, especially from ultraviolet light.
Since the fatty acids found in the avocado also promote the absorption of many fat-soluble antioxidants, like beta-carotene, incorporating avocados in your diet can help lower the risk of age-related health conditions such as macular degeneration.
Reduces Risk Of Cancer
Adequate and regular intake of folate has shown promising results in the prevention of colon, pancreatic, stomach, as well as cervical cancer.
Although the precise mechanism or reason behind the decline in risk is not currently known, experts tend to contend that folate helps protect against many undesirable mutations in RNA and DNA that occur during cell division.
Also, avocados can even play a part in the treatment of cancer, as many researchers have indicated that phytochemicals found in avocados can selectively retard the growth of both cancerous and precancerous cells, eliminate cancer cells, and encourage the production of immune system cells known as lymphocytes.
Helps With Diabetes
For people with diabetes, avocado is an ideal fruit. People with diabetes should consume more avocados. Oleic acid can reduce LDL cholesterol and increase the HDL cholesterol. For people with diabetes maintaining cholesterol levels is crucial because they tend to have a greater risk of cardiovascular or heart disease.
Increasing the content of monounsaturated fats found in avocados in the diet can benefit diabetes patients by lowering elevated triglyceride levels and can also help enhance insulin function and regulate glucose levels in the blood.
Another health benefit of avocados for diabetes patients is that the vitamin C can strengthen capillaries and blood vessels and enhance immune function.
Osteoarthritis is an agonizing and painful condition which is characterized by soreness and joint inflammation. It adversely impacts millions of people throughout the world. A variety of common food items such as corn, wheat, sugar, and milk are known to aggravate the symptoms.
However, avocado, due to its anti-inflammatory nature, is among the few food items that can consistently lower arthritic pain and discomfort.
Avocados are rich in phytosterols, monounsaturated fats, and antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and various other carotenoids that are helpful in reducing the inflammation that causes arthritis.
What Is Avocado Oil
Brands extract avocado oil from avocados. The oil comes from the fleshy and plump pulp that surrounds the avocado pit. This feature makes it a rare edible oil as it does not come from the seed. The pulp tends to produce oil that is rich in healthy fats, such as oleic acid and other healthy fatty acids.
In contrast to pumpkin seed oil and flaxseed oil which are nutrient dense, but are not suitable for cooking, you can use avocado oil for cooking. The great thing about this oil is that it is not just a super-food oil that you can use in uncooked food items such as dips and salads, doctors recommend it highly for cooking.
Also, avocado oil is free of cholesterol and has no trans fats. According to a 2005 study, the oil is extremely beneficial for health.
The study also suggested that adding the oil to salads comprising romaine lettuce, carrots, and spinach is likely to increase the absorption of many important carotenoid antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and lycopene, more compared to the salad alone. This boost may have many health benefits for your eyes.
Avocado oil is also a great external product. It is often hailed as a great source for many hair and skin care products and is an active ingredient in many products, such as baby products. It has a few properties that help fight damage caused by UV rays, and it also helps improve symptoms of psoriasis.
Moreover, you may use the oil to remove your makeup. You just need to swipe a few cotton balls dipped in avocado oil across your eyelids and cheeks. The oil is also great for moisturizing facial skin and can repair dry cuticles and cracked heels.
It will readily absorb into your skin without giving you a very greasy look. The oil also works as a great hair conditioner for your scalp and repairs split ends.
Avocado Uses For Skin And Hair
Avocados, also called alligator pears, due to their color and shape, contain high amounts of various essential nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.
Apart from being delicious and healthy to eat, they are now part of many beauty and health products such as face creams, hair conditioners, and bath oils, among others. You just can't overlook this amazing fruit, it tastes great, it provides loads of health benefits, and it can make your hair and skin look stunning as well.
Because avocado is high in healthy fat, antioxidant and vitamin content, using the fruit as a facial masque is likely to leave your skin looking younger and softer, because it plumps and smoothes out your skin.
A natural facial scrub that contains avocado can help ensure the skin gets thoroughly moisturized and cleansed at the same because of the high quantities of vitamins found in avocados that act as humectants and deep cleansers.
Also, because of the minerals and vitamins contained in avocados, there are plenty of benefits of applying the product to your hair. Regular use of avocado shampoos and hair conditioners will lead to stronger and softer hair; it will help eliminate dry scalp and frizz as well.
Some uses of avocado for skin and hair care are:
One of the main benefits of avocado is its ability to fight signs of aging, making it a great anti-aging treatment. The fruit will provide an incredible treatment that can help reduce your wrinkles.
You could apply avocado flesh, in mashed form, to the skin just like a facial mask to reduce aging signs. Moreover, if you eat avocados on a regular basis, it can help fight the aging process from inside.
We all want to maintain our youthful and stunning looks despite our age, and eating delicious avocados is very helpful. The valuable antioxidants found in avocado can also help detoxify the body and reduce the formation of wrinkles, leaving your skin more plump and supple.
Great For Frizzy Hair
No one likes frizzy hair, but at times we just cannot get rid of them. Also, humidity, heat and various styling tools such as curling irons and dryers often make matters worse. However, the main reason for frizzed hair is dryness. This effect often occurs when your tresses lose their natural oils and moisture.
Avocado can calm your frizzy hair as it contains oils that are moist and light, which are similar to oils your skin tends to produce naturally. Avocado contains many nutrients that help weigh down and smooth frizzy hair.
The fruit can also provide vitamin E and vitamin A to the hair, which not only strengthens the hair but also protects them against split ends.
Using a blender, mash up an avocado and then add two tablespoons of avocado oil. Massage the mixture into your scalp and hair. Leave it on for about ten minutes and then shampoo your hair.
You will notice that your unruly hair will look smoother and feel more controllable. In case you have frizzy and coarse hair, warm up a few drops of oil and gently apply it to the tips of the hair. This feature will not just help add shine and fight split ends, but will also make your frizzy hair more manageable.
There is no doubt that skin protection is vital for people who spend plenty of time in the sun, especially during the summers. However, it is important to know that lathering up plenty of sunscreens is not the best approach to prevent sun damage.
Although most sunscreens will prevent your skin from harmful sun rays, they keep out vitamin D as well, which is an important nutrient that promotes immunity and protects against injuries. Also, plenty of chemical sunscreens often contain harmful substances called endocrine disrupters.
This part is where avocado oil is so good. It can be used as a natural sunscreen, meaning you will not have to worry about any side effects. It also acts as a great soothing ointment for a sunburnt or damaged skin.
Avocado oil can help protect your face and body from the harmful UVB and UVA rays, while the natural healing and soothing properties in the ointment can help restore the skin damage caused by spending too much time in the sun.
Because of the high content of several anti-oxidants, avocado oil can also safeguard the skin against environmental damage.
Great For Skin Nourishment
You do not have to splurge on expensive skin products to get nourished, and healthy skin as avocado is ideal for skin nourishment. Mix one ripe and mashed avocado with one tablespoon of avocado or olive oil.
Apply this to the skin when you are in the shower, and try to focus on dry, rough and troublesome areas, such as your elbows and heels. Leave the mixture for around five minutes, and then wash yourself off with lukewarm water.
You will notice the difference straightaway; this will help rejuvenate and nourish your skin, leaving it supple and soft, mainly because the nutrients and vitamins naturally nourish, moisturize and rejuvenate your skin without any harmful products.
We have discussed what avocado is along with its nutritional facts and major cultivation locations. We have highlighted why avocado is a common ingredient in many skin and hair care products available in the market.
We have looked at the different health benefits of avocado such as it is rich in potassium and fiber, loaded with beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids, lowers cholesterol and helps prevent cancer.
We have discussed avocado oil and the various benefits of using avocado oil. We have also discussed the uses of avocado for skin and hair care. Some top uses of avocado include fighting the signs of aging, improving and smoothing out frizzy hair, acting as a natural sunscreen and providing skin nourishment.
Our buying guide will discuss many avocado products that are worth considering along with some recommendations.