Avocado - (Persea americana)

Health Benefits of Avocado

The avocado is a large fleshy pear-shaped berry. It has a single large seed surrounded by buttery pulp and a hard skin. It is yellowish-green to maroon and purple in color. The avocado tree is evergreen. It is shallow-rooted and there are no visible root hairs. It has spirally-arranged leaves, variable in shape and size and fragrant yellowish flowers.

Origin and Distribution of Avocado

The avocado originated in Central America. The early Spanish explorers recorded its cultivation from Mexico to Peru. It was taken to southern Spain in 1601. The fruit was introduced in Mauritius in 1780 and it spread in Asia mostly in the mid-19th century. Avocados are now grown in most tropical and subtropical countries including South Africa and Australia.

Food Value of Avocado

The avocado contains more fat than any other fruit except the olive. Its fat is of the highest quality, wholly free from the unpleasant butyric acid with which many fats are contaminated. It contains a sufficient amount of vitamin A to maintain high resistance against bacterial infection, a quality possessed by few vegetable fats.

The protein of avocado is of the finest quality and is much superior to protein of bread and other cereal foods. Its composition is almost identical with that of milk. In fact, the pulp of the fruit is so free from fiber that it forms, with water, a fine emulsion which closely resembles milk in consistency and appearance. With the exception of an excess of fat and the lack of vitamin C, it may serve as a very satisfactory substitute for dairy milk. Prepared thus, the avocado may be given safely to young infants and to the feeble invalids.

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