The Hass avocado is a large fruit weighing 200 to 300 grams normally. When the fruit is ripe skin is dark purple almost black and yield to gentle pressure. When ready to serve becomes white and green in the middle of the inner fruit.
Due to its flavour, size, shelf life and high performance is harvested throughout the year in some areas. In fact this variety is known as avocado available all year since it is possible to find it in all four seasons.
Hass avocado is the most popular variety of commercial avocado in the world.
History and origin of the Hass avocado
The Persea americana or avocado is believed to have originated in the state of Puebla, in Mexico 10,000 years ago although there are much more widespread fossils of millions of years that are located around northern California.
Pre-Columbian civilizations cultivated avocados from northern Mexico on the Rio Grande to Guatemala.
Originally we distinguished 3 types or races: Mexican, Guatemalan and West Indian who subsequently were mixed by their own reproductive system, this cross pollination resulted in countless hybrid varieties impossible to define.
In the late 1920s, Mr. Rudolph Hass, who was a postman, bought seed trees from A. R. Rideout of Whittier, in order to develop two acres of trees of the grafted variety called lyon. After trying and failing at least twice to graft the seedling with tree branches Fuerte avocado (the commercial cultivar leader at the time) he thought of cutting it but he was finally convinced to keep the tree and began to give a strange fruit. Their children tried avocados and liked the taste. As the tree grew Hass began selling it to his colleagues at work at the post office.
The Hass avocado had one of his first commercial successes in the Model supermarket at colorado street in Pasadena, California, where chefs working for some of the wealthy residents of the city bought the new tasty fruit at $ 1 each, a very high price for the time. Hass patented the tree in 1935 (the first USA patent on a tree) and made a contract to grow and sell grafted plants propagated from its cultivars.
Hass Avocado Plant
The avocado is an erect, dense, evergreen, medium tree, shedding many leaves in early spring. It is fast growing and is 10–12 m tall and may reach 20 m, and generally branches to form a broad tree. Some cultivars are columnar, others selected for nearly prostrate form.
One cultivar makes a good espalier. Growth is in frequent flushes during warm weather in southern regions with only one long flush per year in cooler areas. Roots are coarse and greedy and will raise pavement with age. Grafted plants normally produce fruit within one to two years compared to 8 – 20 years for seedlings.
They normally thrive and perform well in climatic conditions ranging from true tropical to warmer parts of the temperate zone. They prefer loose, decomposed granite or sandy loam. They will not survive in locations with poor drainage. The trees grow well on hillsides and should never be planted in stream beds. They are tolerant of acid or alkaline soil. In containers use a planting mix combined with topsoil. Plastic containers should be avoided. It is also useful to plant the tub with annual flowers to reduce excess soil moisture and temperature. Container plants should be leached often to reduce salts.
Hass Avocado Foliage
Avocado leaves are alternate; petiole 2–5 cm, sparsely pubescent. Leaf blade is simple, variable in shape, narrowly elliptic, elliptic, ovate, or obovate, 8–20 × 5–12 cm, usually somewhat glaucous lower surface, deep green above, leathery, sparsely yellowish brown pubescent above but very densely so below when mature, midrib conspicuously raised below, lateral veins 5–7 pairs, distinctly raised below, slightly elevated above, base cuneate or acute to sub rounded, apex acute, margin entire. The leaves are high in oils and slow to compost and may collect in mounds beneath trees.
Hass Avocado Flowers
Avocado flowers appear in January – March before the first seasonal growth, in terminal panicles of 200 – 300 small yellow-green blooms. Flowers are yellow-greenish; 5–6 mm on 6 mm densely yellowish brown pubescent pedicels. Each panicle will produce only one to three fruits. The flowers are perfect, but are either receptive to pollen in the morning or shed pollen the following afternoon (type A), or are receptive to pollen in the afternoon, and shed pollen the following morning (type B). About 5% of flowers are defective in form and sterile. Production is best with cross-pollination between types A and B. The flowers attract bees and hoverflies and pollination usually good except during cool weather. Off-season blooms may appear during the year and often set fruit. Some cultivars bloom and set fruit in alternate years.
Hass Avocado Fruits
Fruit is normally yellow-green, deep-green or very dark-green, reddish-purple, or so dark a purple as to appear almost black, and is occasionally speckled with tiny yellow dots, it may be smooth or pebbled, glossy or dull, thin or leathery and up to 6 mm thick, pliable or granular and brittle, large, usually pear-shaped, sometimes ovoid or globose, 8–18 cm; exocarp corky; mesocarp, bright-green fleshy, but generally entirely pale to rich-yellow, buttery and bland or nutlike in flavor. The flesh of avocados is deep green near the skin, becoming yellowish nearer the single large, inedible ovoid seed. The flesh is hard when harvested but softens to a buttery texture. Off-season fruit should not be harvested with the main crop, but left on the tree to mature.
The single seed is oblate, round, conical or ovoid, large, 5–6.4 cm long, hard and heavy, ivory in color but enclosed in two brown, thin, papery seed coats often adhering to the flesh cavity, while the seed slips out readily.
Nutritional Value of Hass Avocado
Apart from their buttery and bland or nutlike taste, avocado is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 30 gram of avocado offers 4.62 g of Total Fat, 0.439 mg of Vitamin B5, 27 µg of Vitamin B9, 0.086 mg of Vitamin B6, 0.051 mg of Copper, 2 g of Total dietary Fiber, 6.3 µg of Vitamin K, 0.59 mg of Vitamin E, 0.574 mg of Vitamin B3 and 0.043 mg of Vitamin B2. Moreover many Amino acids 0.007 g of Tryptophan, 0.022 g of Threonine, 0.025 g of Isoleucin, 0.042 g of Leucine, 0.039 g of Lysine, 0.011 g of Methionine and 0.008 g of Cystine are also found in 30 gram of avocado.
Health benefits of Hass Avocado
Avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals including potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C, B vitamins, and folic acid. They are rich sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber with roughly 50 calories per 1-ounce serving. The high fat content of avocados promotes satiety; helps regulate blood sugar, aids in hormone regulation, and in the absorption of essential fat-soluble vitamins.
In addition to monounsaturated fat, avocados also contain phytosterols, plant sterols that compete with cholesterol for absorption, thus helping reduce blood cholesterol levels. What’s more, research suggests that avocados may reduce markers of inflammation associated with heart disease.
Numerous studies show that it has powerful beneficial effects on health. Here are some of the health benefits of avocado that are supported by scientific research.
1. Help Prevent Cancer
There is limited proof that avocado may be beneficial in preventing cancer. One research showed that it may help reduce side effects of chemotherapy in human lymphocytes. Avocado extract has also been shown to prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells. However, keep in mind that these researches were done in isolated cells and don’t really prove anything about what happens in a living, breathing human.
2. Protects Your Eyesight
Not only does avocado help you with antioxidant absorption from other foods, but the fruit is also rich in antioxidants itself. Some of the antioxidants found in avocado are Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are vital for eye health and eyesight. Some researches have come up with the results where these antioxidants are associated with the reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, particularly common in the elderly. As a result, consuming sufficient amount of avocado will provide your body with benefits for your eyes over the long term.
3. Provides Dental Care
Consumption of avocado will bring back the freshness in your breath. Many people struggle with bad breath due to indigestion or an upset stomach. Halitosis is the main cause of bad breath, but it can be removed by improving digestive health.
The antibacterial and antioxidant properties of flavonoids found in avocado help you get rid of bad breath because they have the ability to kill the bacteria in your mouth. Additionally, avocado has been related with preventing oral cancers.
4. Contain More Potassium than Bananas
Potassium is a nutrient that most people aren’t getting enough of. This nutrient helps maintain electrical gradients in the body’s cells and serves various important functions. Avocados are actually very high in potassium… with a 100 gram (3.5 ounce) serving containing 14% of the RDA, compared to 10% in bananas, which are a typical high potassium food. Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is related to reduced blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
5. Beneficial for Pregnant Women
One research concluded that, avocado is a great choice for pregnant women because it contains a great amount of folic acid, which is significant for preventing birth defects such as spina bifida and neural tube. The B vitamin is essential and this is the reason why doctors recommend high amounts of avocado intake before and during pregnancy. Avocado contains around 45 mcg of folate per half-cup; more than any other fruit. Vitamin K is yet another valuable nutrient for pregnant women.
Luckily for moms-to-be, it is also found in high concentration in avocado. Deficiency in vitamin K causes bleeding, or VKDB, which is a condition where newborn babies cannot stop bleeding because their blood does not contain enough Vitamin K. Consuming vitamin K rich fruits during pregnancy help you pass more of it to your unborn child.
6. Good for Constipation
Despite their creamy texture, avocados are actually a high fiber food, with 8 grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber per cup of the fresh fruit.
This fiber is beneficial for improving digestion, encouraging regular bowel movements and well known to help prevent constipation. In fact, avocados are often recommended as a mild laxative for people having trouble going to the toilet. If you’ve been having problems with elimination, whether constipation or diarrhea, then getting more fiber-rich foods like avocados can definitely help keep you regular.
The fiber in avocados isn’t just good for constipation either, it also helps lower your risk of colon cancer and can even assist in losing weight by making you feel more full and wanting to eat less.
7. Can Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world. It is known that several blood markers are linked to an increased risk. This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure and various others. The effect of avocado on some of these risk factors has been studied in 8 human controlled trials. These are studies where people are split into groups… one group is instructed to eat avocados, while the other is not. Then researchers see what happens to their blood markers over time.
Researches have shown that avocados can:
- Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly.
- Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%.
- Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%.
- Increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by up to 11%.
One of the studies showed that including avocado in a low-fat vegetarian diet led to improvements in the cholesterol profile. Unfortunately, all of the human studies were small (13-37 subjects) and short-term (1-4 weeks), but the results were impressive however.
8. Protects Liver from Disease
Avocado is very good when it comes to reducing liver damage because of its organic compounds that improve liver health. The main cause of liver damage is usually Hepatitis C. A recent research suggests that avocado plays an important role in protecting the liver from a wide spectrum of conditions.
9. Kidney Health
Your diet plays a very important role in maintaining the balance of minerals and fluids in those who suffer from chronic kidney disorders. Potassium is one of the minerals that help in maintaining a normal heart rate. Avocados are a good source of potassium and their inclusion in your diet provide other benefits too. It is important to make sure that potassium levels are not too high as that can also be dangerous for the heart. Potassium is a key aspect of maintaining fluid balance through chemical channels for cells and organs. This balance of fluid is also vital for the functioning of the kidney, which handles the movement of fluid and toxins through the body.
10. Encourages Longevity
Avocado is one of the fruits related with healthy aging and longevity because of its effective compounds that regenerate your body. One of these potent compounds is xanthophyll, which is a powerful antioxidant. According to one research study, an intake of xanthophyll is likely to decrease signs of the aging process on different parts of your body.
11. Morning Sickness
During pregnancy, morning sickness is very common. Avocados help to overcome nausea and queasiness during pregnancy since it contains vitamin B6, which is commonly linked to reducing nausea and vomiting.
12. Reduces Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis has become one of the most common diseases in Western countries. It is considered by progressive deterioration of the joint cartilage. Since it is progressive, it can also be progressively treated. Some of the treatments are supplements made from avocado and soybean oils. Avocado oil (33%) and soybean oil (66%) are mostly used to suppress and finally treat symptoms in people suffering from Arthritis. According to numerous researches, these supplements have been reported to reduce symptoms of arthritis, especially in the knee and hip area.
Consuming avocados is associated with healthy aging. It contains compounds such as xanthophyll, which have antioxidant properties. Research studies suggest that an intake of xanthophyll may decrease signs of the aging process on various parts of your body.
14. Incredibly Nutritious
Avocado is the fruit of the avocado tree, called Persea Americana. This fruit is valued for its high nutrient value and is added to all sorts of dishes due to its good flavor and rich texture. It is the main ingredient in guacamole. Avocado has become an incredibly popular food among health conscious individuals. It is often referred to as a super food… which is not surprising given its health properties. It is quite nutritious and is beneficial for all those health conscious people.
15. Good for Your Bones
Avocado contains carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and lutein. These are linked to a reduced risk of cartilage defects – the symptom of osteoarthritis. Consumption of foods such as avocado, soy, or both may help in lowering the risk of osteoarthritis. Research investigating avocado and its effects on osteoarthritis suggest that 300 mg of avocado or soy supplements appear to be beneficial for patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis. Additionally, the levels of essential minerals in avocados are substantial; they include phosphorus, copper, zinc, and trace amounts of selenium and calcium. Because of these compounds, the risk of osteoporosis is reduced and improvements in bone mineral density come as a natural consequence.
16. Causes Satiety and Weight Loss
There is a misconception about avocados when it comes to weight loss programs and diets. Some people think that avocados should be avoided in calorie-restricted diets because of the fact they are high in fats. On the contrary, eating and incorporating avocados into your diet is not going to prevent you from losing weight. In fact, including avocados to your meals will help you feel more satiated, which will eventually reduce your desire to eat more and eat more often. It’s been proven that similar meals without avocados do not cause as much satiety. It is clear that avocados may be an excellent supplement to an effective weight loss diet. Plus, what makes avocado a weight-loss friendly food is the fact it is high in fiber, low in carbs, and does not raise blood sugar levels
17. Protect the Eyes
Not only avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves. This includes nutrients called Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are extremely important for eye health. Researches show that these nutrients are linked to a considerably reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in the elderly. Thus, eating avocados should have benefits for eye health over the long term.
18. Loaded With Fiber
Fiber is another nutrient found in relatively large amounts in avocado. Fiber is indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many diseases. A difference is often made between soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is known to be able to feed the friendly gut bacteria in the intestine, which are very important for the optimal function of our bodies. A 100 gram (3.5 ounce) serving of avocado contains 7 grams of fiber, which is 27% of the recommended daily amount. About 25% of the fiber in avocado is soluble, while 75% is insoluble.
19. Wound-Healing Activities
Being an excellent source of enrichment for dry, chapped, or damaged skin, avocado can also heal wounds all over your body. According to a study, avocado has been recommended to heal wounds in rats. Namely, the rats were divided into four groups of five and received either topical or oral treatment. As a result, complete healing was observed in the rats who received either treatment type.
20. Great for Your Skin
Avocados are high in fat, but these are the “good” polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that are healthy for your system, not the saturated fats that block your arteries and are bad for your circulation. The “good” fats in avocados can actually protect your skin. Polyunsaturated fats keep your skin protected from sun damage and inflammation.
Monounsaturated fats keep the top layer of skin moisturized so that it’s healthy and guarded from premature wrinkles. The Vitamin C and E in avocados also protect your skin cells by keeping your skin hydrated. Many people use mashed, raw avocado as a face mask since it contains so many good fats and oils for the skin. Ingesting these oils and vitamins by adding avocados to sandwiches and salads can also protect your skin and keep it looking radiant!
21. Improves Your Mood
Avocados are high in folate, which falls into the family of B vitamins. You may have heard that pregnant women should get enough folate in their diet, but this substance is good for everyone when it comes to regulating mood. Homocysteine naturally forms in the body, but too much of this substance will block the production of serotonin and dopamine; these chemicals regulate mood, as well as encouraging restful sleep at night.
Folate in avocados helps to prevent excessive amounts of homocysteine from forming in your body so that it can produce serotonin and dopamine. In turn, you’re at less risk from depression. Being able to sleep soundly and regularly can also mean a healthier, happier mood, as you’re less fatigued and will have more energy after a good night’s sleep. By eating more avocados, you may see that you sleep more soundly and feel more rested and energetic throughout the day, and have a better mood as well.
22. Lower risk of depression
Foods containing high levels of folate may help to decrease the risk of depression as folate helps to prevent the build-up of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. Excess homocysteine can also interfere with the production of the serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep and appetite.
The Medicinal Uses of Hass Avocado
The seeds, shoots, root bark and leaves of avocado are used for medicinal uses. The fruit extracts is used for skin care and cosmetic products to soften the dry skin.
The Leaves of Hass Avocado
The avocado leaves have antibiotic properties which helps to treat vermifuge, antihelminthics and dysentery. The pyorrhea can be treated if chewed. The wounds can be cured if leaves poultices are applied. The avocado leaves if decoction helps to cure sore throat, manage menstruation, stomachis, diarrhea and hemorrhage.
The Seeds of Hass Avocado
The avocado seeds have fungicidal, insecticidal and anti-microbial properties. The extracts of avocado seeds are used as ink and have colorant qualities. It also cures tooth ache and oral bacterial illnesses. Dandruff can be blocked by the use of powder seed. Skin outbreaks can be treated with the avocado oil extracts.