10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Avocados
The indigenous people in the highlands of Mexico have been enjoying them for over 10,000 years. They’re delicious and versatile and without them guacamole doesn’t exist. But I bet you didn’t know these ten amazing facts about avocados.
1) They Take A Year To Grow
It only takes a couple minutes to eat one, but avocados take a long time to grow before they can appear on grocery store shelves or your dinner plate at a restaurant. The avocado the plant takes 10 to 15 years to grow large enough to fruit, which it only does in suitable growing conditions. It takes the fruit a full year to fully mature before they’re ready to be picked and shipped to your nearby grocery store.
2) They Raise Your Cholesterol
Good cholesterol that is. While you might think it counter-intuitive to up your intake of fat if you have high cholesterol, eating more avocado might actually be to your benefit. Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which boost HDL and lower LDL.When your HDL is high (60 mg/dl or higher is considered desirable for both men and women), your risk of heart attack or heart disease is lower. In a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, eating one avocado a day while following a moderate-fat diet was associated with a 13.5 mg/dL drop in bad cholesterol, or LDL, levels.
3) Avocado Oil Is Superior To Most Oils
Avocado oil contains proteins, lecithin, beta-carotene and more than twenty percent essential unsaturated fatty acids. The fatty acids contained are palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic. The awesome thing about avocado oil is that it’s not only a superfood oil that can used in uncooked items like salads and dips, but it’s also highly recommended for cooking due to its high smoke point. It even received prescription drug status in France due to its proven ability to reverse arthritis.
4) You Can Use Them Instead of Butter For Baking
While it doesn’t always work well to take all of the butter out of baked recipe in favor of avocado, it depends on the type and consistence required. Subbing about half the quantity of butter called for in a recipe for avocado is totally doable. By substituting avocado for some your butter in baking you can cut the fat by almost 40%. All avocado will make your baked goods too flat, which you definitely don’t want, but half and half cuts calories, and doesn’t dry your tasty treats.
5) A True Berry
It might not look like it to you, but avocados are technically single-seeded berries, which make them fruits, not vegetables. The botanical definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit and avocados contain the most essential characteristics to qualify.
6) Beautify Your Skin and Hair
Avocados aren’t just for eating, they can make great additions to your beauty routine, as well. While using avocado directly on the face is a popular natural beauty treatment, many people have found that just eating avocado regularly can do wonders for their complexion. You even can use them for moisturizer on your hair, a face mask that’ll soothe irritation, a natural antidote for sunburn, and, maybe most exciting and surprising of all, an anti-aging facial treatment since avocados are a great source of antioxidant carotenoids like alpha-carotene, beta carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein. These free radical quenching compounds provide significant protection for your skin from the environmental damage that leads to fine lines, wrinkles and other visible signs of aging.
7) Makes An Amazing Chocolate Lovers Pudding
Without a question, one of the most delicious chocolate pudding recipe, raw or otherwise, is made with avocados. I can promise you that if you try this just once, you will fall in love with it and wonder why all chocolate puddings are not made with avocados.
8) 16 Different Varieties
There are actually hundreds of types of avocados, but our of the 16 common varieties, seven avocado are grown commercially in California. The Hass variety accounts for approximately 95 percent of the total crop each year — which runs from Spring to Fall.
While you probably regularly buy Hass avocados when you’re in the produce section of the grocery store, there are tons of avocado varieties that you’ve probably never seen or heard of, including bacon, fuerte, gwen, pinkerton, reed, zutano and many others.
9) Increases Intelligence
Over 75% of the fat in avocados is good fat with 5g coming from MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) and 1g from polyunsaturated fat per 50g serving. In one study scientists also found that a higher serum levels of MUFAs was correlated with higher small-world propensity in the DAN (dorsal attention network). Taking the two correlations together, they concluded that dietary MUFAs influence cognition via the DAN pathway.
10) There’s An Easy Way To Detect Their Ripeness
You might think determining an avocado’s ripeness is a bit of a guessing game, but it’s actually way easier than you think. To make sure you’re taking home an avocado that’s perfectly green and creamy on the inside, and free from ugly brown spots, the key is checking under the stem. This part of the avocado holds a sneak peak for what’s going on under the skin. If it’s brown underneath, it’s past its prime. If it’s creamy, avocado green, then it should be perfect inside. If it looks too pale green, it’s likely not ripe yet, so don’t cut into it. Never unnecessarily throw away a under- or over-ripened avocado again.