Delectable fruit high in monounsaturated fats (the good ones). These lipids help reduce LDLs and raise HDLs. Also rich in beta-Sitosterol, a natural substance that lowers blood cholesterol level. High levels of potassium in avocados also can help reduce elevated blood pressure. Folate is great for circulatory health and normal neural development in fetuses. Avocados also contain the fat soluble phytonutrients carotenoids and tocopherols, potent antioxidants and anti-carcinogens.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Vitamins – K, B9 (Folate), B6 (Pyridoxine), C and E (Tocopherols)
Minerals – Potassium and Copper
Bad cholesterol and triglyceride lowering effects help prevent heart disease. Folate helps prevent atherosclerosis. Avocados linked to preventing oral and prostate cancers. Carotenoids and tocopherols are fat-soluble and synergistically inhibit growth of these cancer cells. Source of good fats in avocado also provides medium for absorption of these phytonutrients in the intestine, rendering avocado an all-around health promoter.
How to Grow
Grow on trees of various cultivars (same plant with slightly different characteristics). Origin is tropical; flourish in warmer climates. Varieties have slightly different tolerances and ripen at different times. Ask local nursery which work best in your climate. Choose several different kinds for maximum production. Plant in spacious location with full day’s sun to grow up to 40 feet high. If winter freezes over, plant tree in pot at least 2 feet in diameter and bring into garage during cold months. In milder climates, dig a hole 3 feet wide by 3 feet deep. Tree needs regular deep watering with superb drainage to prevent root rot. If soil is heavy and dense, amend with coarse organic materials to get thorough draining. Sprinkle a few handfuls of plant mix in and plant in the hole. Do not plant too deeply; avocados have shallow root networks. Mulch area generously to extend interval between waterings. Keep soil moist but not wet.
Pests rarely hamper fruit production on fully developed trees. Young trees need protection from large infestation. Most common insects: avocado loopers, pyriform scale, dictyospermum scale, avocado red mites, borers and lace bugs. As a last resort only, spray low-toxic, organic pesticides-fungicides: soaps, oils or Bt.
Avocados prone to scab disease. Have nursery staff help choose resistant strain. Pinch terminal roots to keep tree in check. Fast growing; need aggressive trimming to keep nice shape.