The avocado (Persea americana), a tree likely originating from South Central Mexico, is classified as a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. The fruit of the plant, also called an avocado (or avocado pear or alligator pear), is botanically a large berry containing a single large seed. Commercially valuable with production increasing worldwide over at 10% per year. Avocados are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates of many countries. The fruit of domestic varieties has a buttery flesh when ripe. Depending on the variety, avocados have green, brown, purplish, or black skin when ripe, and may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical. Commercially, the fruits are ripened after harvesting. Avocado trees are partially self-pollinating, and are often propagated through grafting to maintain predictable fruit quality and quantity. In 2019, Mexico was the world’s leading producer of avocados, supplying 32% of the global total (Boning, 2017).
Avocado pear also known as Alligator pear is a fruits that grow on tropical evergreen trees; they generally have a rough, green outer skin, buttery flesh, and large seed in the middle (John, 2019).
Types of Avocado Pear
Bacon avocado is Californian in origin with a uniform oval shape and green skin. Medium large in size they are generally available from autumn to spring and have a more delicate taste than some other varieties (Stewart, 2014)
Fuerte avocado takes a characteristic elongated form and is cultivated mainly throughout Mexico and Central America, although its origin is hybrid (half between Mexico and Guatemala). It is one of the most beloved of all avocado varieties, perhaps for the ease in removing the skin from the flesh. Until a few years ago it was the most popular avocado in the United States.
Hass avocado is perhaps one of the most famous avocado types and considered by many to be the best. The flavor is quite intense and the flesh is very creamy, perfect for guacamole.
Ettinger avocado is a shiny, green avocado with a fine skin; medium/large in size and especially very soft. The flesh tends to yellow especially when it is very mature.
Pinkerton avocados have an elongated pear shape with green, slightly pebbled, medium thick and easy-to-peel skin. The large fruits vary greatly in size, ranging from 8 to 18 ounces. Their flesh is smooth and creamy, high in oil content, and houses a very small seed, and their flavor is nutty and rich.
Brogdon avocado is a cold hardy tree with purple skinned fruit that encloses a juicy, buttery flavored, yellow flesh. A late season producers the large fruit can be as much as 14 to 24 ounces in weight.
Lula avocado can be identified by their shape and glossy green skin. It is pear-shaped and has mostly smooth, green skin even when ripe. It grows on average between 8 to 16 oz in weight which is medium sized.
The Reed avocado are very round, very large, thick skinned green avocados with a creamy smooth texture and excellent buttery-flavored flesh. Reed bears early and regularly. The fruits may remain on the tree for a relatively long time after reaching maturity. This variety is resistant to salt burn
Gwen avocado is an excellent backyard variety due to its heavy production, excellent taste and smaller tree size. Fruits are similar to Hass but are slightly larger and have a rich buttery nutty flavor. The fruits skin is pebbly, easy to peel and stays green all the way to maturity.
Choquette avocado is very large; averaging 30-40 ounces (850-1100 grams) in weight, with an oval shape is glossy, smooth, green skin. Oil content of the fruit is approximately 13%. In Florida.
Cleopatra avocado has a Yellow creamy flesh of creamy rich flavour. The skin turns black prior to harvest. Larger than Hass fruit.
Zutano avocado is most similar to Fuerte avocados. It is pear-shaped and medium-sized (8-16 oz). It stays green even when ripe and has low-fat content.
The Monroe is a large avocado that can weigh over 2 pounds (910 grams). It’s a firmer variety and has less watery flesh.
The Sharwil is an Australian avocado with a rough, green peel and yellow flesh. It’s very oily with a bold flavor and is susceptible to frost. (Stone, 2019).
|Nutritional Profile of Avocado
Table 1: Nutritional Profile of Avocado Pear per 100g
(Source: USDA, 2019).
Health Benefits of Avocado
Improves Antioxidants Absorption
Some nutrients are fat-soluble. That means you should consume them with fats so your body can properly absorb them. A 2005 study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that eating carotenoids (antioxidants including lycopene and beta-carotene) with avocado or avocado oil increased their absorption. (Michael etal., 2016).
Prevents and Treats Cancer
A 2015 study published in Cancer Research found that avocatin B, a compound derived from avocado, can help kill leukemia cells. A 2015 research review published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that phytochemicals (plant compounds) in avocados make them potentially beneficial for preventing cancer. (Michael etal., 2016).
Reduces Risks of Cardiovascular Diseases
A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating one avocado per day as part of a moderate‐fat, cholesterol‐lowering diet reduced LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or “bad”cholesterol). (Michael etal., 2016).
Helps in Weight Management
A 2013 study published in the Nutrition Journal found that people eating avocado with a meal felt 23% more satisfied. And they had a 28% lower desire to eat in the next five hours versus people who didn’t eat an avocado. (Michael etal., 2016).
Boosts Brain Health and Memory
The fruit is rich in oleic acid (or OEA), an omega-9 fatty acid that’s linked to improved cognition. A 2009 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found that these types of acids can enhance memory (Michael etal., 2016).
Lowers Risk of Depression.
Eating monounsaturated fats have been shown to reduce depression. (And balancing fat intake may help control depression.) And the high amount of folate has been shown to help maintain your brain’s feel-good chemicals, dopamine and serotonin. (Michael etal., 2016).
Prevents Neurodegenerative Diseases
A 2016 study published in Advances in Neurobiology found that the “diverse array of bioactive nutrients” present in avocados play a key role in the prevention and cure of these types of diseases. (Michael etal., 2016).
The fruit is rich in the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help protect and maintain healthy cells in your eyes. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Nutrients, avocado can help boost macular pigment with age. (Michael etal., 2016).
Prevents Gum Disease
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that key ingredients in avocados may enhance protective effects against periodontal disease. (Michael etal., 2016).
A 2010 review published in the journal The Physician and Sportsmedicine found that key ingredients in avocados can help patients with arthritis of the hip or knee. (Michael etal., 2016).
Combats Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is an assortment of linked issues including high blood sugar, high serum cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high body mass index, which lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A 2017 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the “lipid‐lowering, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, anti‐obesity, antithrombotic, antiatherosclerotic, and cardioprotective effects of avocado” can help protect against this syndrome. (Michael etal., 2016).
Prevents Food Poisoning
A 2013 study published in the journal BioMed Research International found that the antibacterial activity of avocados can help protect against e. Coli and other food borne pathogens. (Michael etal., 2016).
Reduces Liver Damage
A 2000 study presented by the American Chemical Society found that avocados contain chemicals that can protect against liver toxins. And avocados may be able to lessen the liver damage caused by the hepatitis C virus. (Michael etal., 2016).
Improves Pregnancy Outcomes
A 2016 study published in the journal Nutrients concluded that avocados are high in folate and potassium (typically under-consumed in maternal diets) as well as fiber, monounsaturated fats, and lipid-soluble as antioxidants, all of which are tied to improvements in maternal health, birth outcomes, and quality of breast milk. (Michael etal., 2016).
It is recognized that the avocado pear is one of the most nutritious fruits cultivated. The fruit is high in anti-oxidants such as vitamins E, C, A (beta carotene). It is therefore recommended that there should be continuous awareness creation campaign through the mass media, such as Radio, T.V, newspaper, etc on the health importance of avocado pear.
Boning, N. (2017). Introduction of Avocado Pear’ Sustainable Horticultural Systems. Sustainable Development and Biodiversity, 2, 157–205. USDA, (2019). Nutritional Profile of Avocado pear. USDA Glossary of Acronyms. Retrieved from www.usda.gov
John J. (2019). Avocado Pear. Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center, Bet-Dagan, Israel. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 21 November 2019 from http:/www.aro.gov
Michael, K., Jack M., & Gabriel J. (2016). Health Benefit of Avocado Pear: An Infinite Gastronomy. Texas USAS University of Texas Press.
Stewart, S. Ray, J & Puffer, R.E. (2014). Bocon avocado [PDF]. California Avocado Society 1948 Yearbook: 33: 113–116. Retrieved 21 September 2014 from http:/www.cas.gov
Stone, D. (2019). Types of Avocado pear. The Encyclopedia of Fruit & Nuts. Oxforshire, England: CABI.