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Poor ecological balance: healthy avocados are not a staple food
Avocados are considered healthy and nutritious and can be used in many ways in the kitchen: the delicious fruit can be used to conjure up guacamole, smoothies and even desserts. Nevertheless, avocados should not be on the menu too often, because they are ecologically questionable.
A few years ago, many Germans only knew the avocado from vacation. But today it is part of the trendy "superfood" that is available at any time in the supermarket. The import of fruits into the EU is booming. According to Statista, it has doubled in the past five years. The berry fruit is healthy, tasty and popular, but cultivation and transport tarnish the ecological balance. The Consumer Service Bavaria in the KDFB e.V.
Two varieties for export
As the Consumer Service explains, avocados come from the laurel family and belong to the berry fruits. They originally come from Mexico and grow on trees up to 15 meters high, which only bear fruit after four years. There are around 400 varieties, but above all two are grown for export and thus also for the German market: firstly the Fuerte avocado with its green, almost smooth skin and secondly the hate avocado with a knobbly, darker skin.
The flesh of the avocados, which weigh around 100-250 grams, is soft to creamy, butter-like when ripe and tastes nutty. Her nicknames Butterbirne or Butterfrucht refer to the above-average fat content: 100 grams of ripe pulp, which corresponds to a smaller Hass avocado without core and skin, contains up to 25 grams of fat. This in turn corresponds to about a third of the daily recommended amount of fat for an adult.
The avocado fat contains abundant monounsaturated oleic acid and is responsible for the healthy reputation of the berry. The fruit also scores with vitamin E and B vitamins as well as potassium. It contains no fructose or sorbitol and also no purines and is therefore suitable as a safe food for fructose malabsorption (fruit sugar intolerance) or for gout.
According to scientific research, avocados can also help lower cholesterol and are good for blood formation. In addition, thanks to the potassium they contain, they are an important contribution to a healthy heart.
Avocados ripen quickly
Avocados are now available in supermarkets all year round. The main producers are Central and South America, the USA, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa and Israel. The producers harvest the fruits immaturely and transport them chilled from overseas, usually by ship or plane. They ripen quickly at room temperature and are ready for enjoyment if they give way slightly with careful finger pressure. If you want to help, you should store them together with apples, for example. These emit the gas ethylene, which ensures that the avocado ripens faster.
There are numerous options for processing the avocado. First the ripe fruit is halved lengthways, opened and the thick core is removed. Either peel the pulp out with a spoon or peel the peel and then cut the pulp into cubes or slices. So that it does not turn brown, it should be drizzled with lemon juice immediately.
The preparation is classic with salt, pepper, tomatoes, onions and garlic. Yogurt or paprika cubes are also suitable as a supplement to conjure up a delicious dip, spread or salad. Avocados can also be baked well in the oven - for example with an egg in the hollow.
Interesting not only for vegans: avocados can be used as a butter substitute for baking desserts. Furthermore, the exotic fruit is ideal for the preparation of drinks such as smoothies or milkshakes. There are many more great recipe ideas on Internet portals.
High water requirements
Despite the health benefits and versatility, there is also a downside to the avocado boom: the fruits need a lot of water. According to the Consumer Service, up to 1,000 liters of water are needed to irrigate a kilogram (that's 5 - 6 berries). In dry countries such as Israel or Mexico, producers often tap rivers or pump up groundwater.
In rainier locations such as Spain, quantities of 200 to 600 liters are often sufficient for irrigation. In addition, the avocado boom in North America has resulted in illegal deforestation in Mexico in order to gain acreage for the enormous demand. Organic avocados mostly reach us from Spain, Peru and Kenya. The farmers produce the smaller acreage partly with mountain water and drip irrigation or in smaller plots and mixed crops.
Gourmet food instead of staple food
As the Consumer Service Bavaria concludes, the same applies as for other overseas fruits such as pineapple or mangoes: Avocados are suitable as a luxury food for us Central Europeans for occasional consumption, but they are not a staple food. The daily amount of fruit is best covered with local fruits. The meal is rounded off with a small handful of nuts, which provides high-quality vegetable fat with vitamin E. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Consumer Service Bavaria: Avocados - healthy berries with poor ecological balance, (accessed: October 20, 2019), Consumer Service Bavaria
- Statista: Avocados are booming, (accessed: October 20, 2019), Statista