Avocado, benefits and toxicity!



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Avocado, benefits and toxicity!
© Justin Sullivan / Staff Getty Images News

Avocado is a highly caloric fruit as it is rich in fats such as omega-3. Some scientific works indicate that avocado is a hypocholesterolemic fruit. Avocado is also good for the throat. In fact, its fatty properties dissolve plaques.

It also contains beta-carotene, vitamins C, E, and K, glutathione, folate, and potassium, in higher concentrations than bananas. Thanks to its consistency and high quantity of vegetable fats, it can also be a substitute for butter in vegan pastry making.

The belief that the avocado, whose name derives from its testicle shape, was an aphrodisiac fruit is not supported by scientific evidence. Avocado oil finds application in the cosmetic and food fields. The pulp of the fruit is ideal for preparing some dishes, including salads, toasts, and sandwiches.

The downside: toxicity!

Avocado contains a particular toxin called persin which is found on the entire plant, including fruits, leaves, bark and seeds. It is widely documented that the dietary consumption of avocado can cause serious intoxication or poisoning with lethal outcome in numerous animal species, such as birds, cats, dogs, farm animals, horses, rats and others.

Toxicity and lethal dose vary greatly depending on the animal species and the quantity of avocado consumed. Animals such as birds, for example, are particularly sensitive even at small doses. In any case, untimely treatment of avocado poisoning can be fatal.

Currently, there is insufficient information available regarding the toxicity of avocado on humans, although it has been demonstrated that some substances contained in avocado have genotoxic effects on human cells. Not only.

Then there are some controversies related to cultivation. According to information published by the Water Footprint Network, it takes on average about 70 liters of fresh ground or surface water, not including precipitation or natural moisture in the soil, to grow an avocado.

However, the amount of water needed depends on where it is grown. For example, in the main avocado growing region of Chile, approximately 320 L of applied water is needed to grow one avocado. Increased demand and production of avocados may cause water shortages in some avocado-producing areas, such as the Mexican state of Michoacán.

Avocados can also cause environmental and socioeconomic impacts in major production areas, illegal deforestation and water disputes. The water requirement for growing avocados is three times higher than that of apples and 18 times higher than that of tomatoes.