It’s avocado madness, in Instagram profiles of more than three thousan d followers only dedicated to this nahuatl fruit, to that are added 9 million labelled avocado dishes, in the world entire restaurants have opened dedicated to it. The avocado, with a greasy, fresh and delicate flavour, extra easy to combine with a thousand things, simple and healthy at the same time. 

For the Nahuas, the avocado was a very special fruit, an aphrodisiac. Etymologically, the name comes from the ahuacatl, which literally means “tree’s testicle”.

Is it really that big a deal?

There are many posts and videos like this in which they proclaim the great benefits of integrating avocado in our daily diet. They talk about the great antioxidant, antiparasitic, antihypertensive, anti-carcinogenic, full of potassium, for good vision, weight loss, etc.

A Healthybutsmart article discusses 20 clinical trials related to avocado superpower claims. We can see that as always, the things they convey to us must be taken with tweezers because nothing is as simple as at first sight. For example, the conclusion of whether avocados reduce cholesterol after reviewing several studies is that it is like any unsaturated fat. But we must take into account that it should not be an addition to the diet, but a substitute for other less beneficial fats. So don’t think that by eating avocado you will reduce the impact of the fats in those chips. 

At a health level I think we can conclude that avocado is beneficial as any fruit, full of mineral vitamins and in this case highly rich in high quality fats. But like with everything, we should not exaggerate or think that it is a medicine that will solve our lives.

And like all fashions, the avocado has a very dark side. Avocado imports to Europe grew 400% in 17 years, and continue to rise, but like everything else in economics there are limited resources. This is causing great problems in producing nations, some economic and others of environmental impact.

A major problem analysed in an article in The Guardian is that in the world’s largest producer and exporter of avocados, Mexico, domestic consumption of the product has fallen by 25% due to rising prices. It is now beginning to be considered a luxury food in a country where this food has been the basis of the diet of the entire population for centuries. 

On the other hand, there are the environmental problems, because the avocado trees require a lot of water to grow (2000 litres to produce one kilo).

We can observe some of the devastating effects of the extreme production of this food in this documentary on the avocado. Rivers transformed into garbage dumps, deserts where there used to be water springs…shocking. 

It is very enlightening to read a study that analyses these environmental and socioeconomic impacts in the area of Michoacan in Mexico, which is the largest producing area in the world.  This shows that the cultivation of avocado has greatly helped the economic development of the region, generating some 96,4000 jobs annually.  On the negative side, this encourages foresters to sell their land to avocado growers which puts various ecosystems at risk of disappearance. With the added problem of climate change. 

Yes, avocado is delicious, but… like everything, everything in moderation, nothing in excess.