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  • AvocadoPosted 2 years ago under Health

    Avocados are a superfood rich in amino acids, healthy fats, and antioxidants. These fruits used to have a bad reputation because of their high caloric and fat content. Now it is widely understood that the fats are beneficial and that the nutritional value of the avocado makes them an essential addition to anyone’s diet.

    Taxonomy

    The avocado comes from the Persea americana tree.

    Kingdom (Plantae) → Phylum (Angiosperms) → Class (Magnoliids) → Order (Laurales) → Family (Lauraceae) → Genus (Persea) → Species (Persea americana)

    Description

    The avocado tree typically is pruned to be about five meters tall though it can reach heights of twenty meters. It is known to have small green flowers with green drupes, which are the avocados we eat. These drupes range in size from about three to eight inches long and weigh as much as three pounds. Although most varieties have a single seed inside, some do exist that are seedless. (1) The inside edible flesh of an avocado ranges from light green to light yellow and is creamy in texture.

    Distribution

    Native to Central and South America, the avocado is cultivated as far north as California. It grows best in subtropical and tropical climates. The avocado has spread as far as Kenya, South Africa, Spain, and Israel. (1) It is believed that the avocado tree originated in Mexico and Guatemala where it was originally cultivated by the Mayans and Aztecs as a staple of their diet. (1) The avocado tree thrives best in deep, well-drained soil.

    Nutritional Information

    Avocadoes are rich in a number of important nutrients. They contain 18 essential amino acids which your body needs to form a complete protein. (1) They also are very high in oleic acids, a monounsaturated fat which can help increase the body’s fat metabolism. In addition to the nutrients that avocadoes provide, they are useful in helping the body absorb nutrients from other foods, especially from vegetables high in carotenoids. (1) They are also high in fiber and vitamins and minerals such as potassium, folate, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. (1)

    Commercial Cultivation

    Although about 400 different varieties of avocadoes exist, most avocadoes produced commercially are of the Hass variety. Since avocado trees can self-pollinate, grafting is a popular method of cultivation. This is done to ensure that crops have similar quality fruits. (1) Most avocados are unable to handle any type of frost or a lot of wind. Some varieties, created for Florida production, have been cultivated that can withstand a temporary drop in temperature below freezing. In colder climates, avocados can be grown in greenhouses. (2)

    Diseases, Pests, Predators

    Common diseases that can infect avocado trees include cankers, rots, blights, and sunblotches. Of these diseases, sunblotches are considered to be the only incurable one and care must be taken to get rid of the infected tree before the disease spreads to other trees. Avocado trees can also be affected by common pests such as caterpillars, lace bugs, mites, and borers. (3)

    Sources

    http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/health-benefits-of-avocados/
    (1) http://www.botanical-online.com/english/avocado.htm
    (2) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5
    (3) http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/avocado/avocado-pests-and-diseases.htm

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