Avocado, also known as Persea Americana, belongs to the Lauraceae flowering family. It was first grown in Central South Mexico. Its common alternative name is alligator pear.
Health Benefits of Avocado
- Eye health: The carotenoids present in avocados, including zeaxanthin and lutein, can protect your eyes from the risk of macular degeneration and cataract.
- Bone health: Consumption of avocado reduces cases of osteoarthritis.
- Weight loss: Eating avocado reduces the feeling of hunger, so it can help you control your weight.
- Cardiac health: Avocado and avocado oil create resistance to heat-induced oxidation in the body.
- Low cholesterol levels: Eating lots of avocados reduces your blood pressure, inflammatory markers, cholesterol level, and triglyceride.
- Cancer prevention: Eating avocado can help fight prostate cancer and reduce the effects of chemotherapy on your body.
Side Effects of Avocado
- Harmful fats: Avocados have 15% saturated fat, so consuming them in very large quantities can increase your risk of getting high cholesterol levels, heart diseases, and type 2 diabetes. Doctors advise that you should not eat more than half an avocado per day if you consume a lot of fatty food such as olive oil, nuts, and fish oil.
- Weight gain: You could easily gain weight if you overeat avocados.
- Imbalanced diet: You must make sure that all your meals are a perfect combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. Eating avocados as a meal is not as good because they only have fats and fibers.
Favorable Climatic Conditions for Growing Avocado
Avocados are best grown in tropical and Mediterranean climatic conditions. There are three varieties of avocado trees.
1. Guatemalan avocados grow perfectly in temperatures as low as 24 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Mexican avocados grow perfectly in temperatures as low as 16 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. West Indian avocados grow perfectly in temperatures as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit but do not do well below that.
Growing Avocado at Home
Graft a branch from any fruit-bearing avocado plant. You will get fruits within 4-6 years using this method. Grafting means joining a branch called scion or cultivar from one type of avocado tree to the rootstock of a different kind of avocado tree and growing them jointly. Grafting is successful only in early spring. Take an avocado rootstock and cut its center split open vertically.
Take at least 2 scions with at least three buds on them. Now insert them into the rootstock’s cambium layer.
You must make sure that the cambium of the rootstock firmly joins and keep touching the cambium of the branch. If the joint is held loosely, the graft will become useless. Place the graft in a humid place where the temperature is 37 degrees Celsius or 80 degrees Fahrenheit in Sphagnum moss.
You can also grow avocado trees using seed but it will take at least 13 years to bear fruit.