Avocado, is the magic green yellowish fruit. It is super healthy, contains a lot of good fats and other nutrients which are very important for our daily diet.

Thanks to its health benefits and good nutritions you can find it in almost every diet from KETO to vegan or vegetarian.

Many people cannot imagine the day without having an avo toast for breakfast or nachos with guacamole for dinner. The global avocado madness went so far, that today you can find many restaurants that serve dishes made only with avocados.

On the other hand side, the growing consumption means higher production. And the higher production, unfortunately, has a negative impact on the environment. Also, the production of the avocado might not be so transparent and legal as you would think. There might be blood on them.

So the question is, should you be eating avocados or not? Let’s find it out.

Avocado, the healthy fruit with a dangerous impact on our environment. Should you stop eating it right away?

What is avocado and what are it’s heath benefits?

According to Wikipedia, avocados are a fruit, and more precisely a berry with a single large seed. The avocado is probably coming from Mexico.

A typical 100g avocado contains few B vitamins, vitamin K, C, E, and potassium. Actually, it contains more potassium than a banana. Almost 75% of the avocado itself are monounsaturated fats and oleic acids.

The proven health benefits of avocado are:

  1. Avocados are full of good fiber
  2. They are good for lowering your cholesterol
  3. Can prevent you from heart diseases
  4. They are packed with antioxidants
  5. Eating avocados may help you to lose weight
  6. The avocados can improve your brain health and memory
  7. Also, they can lover the liver damage
  8. Last but not least, the can lower the risk of depression

Who are the largest avocado producers?

Avocado is produced in many countries around the world. But it only grows in the environment which is warm, without frost and low in the wind.

The wind can dehydrate the flowers and therefore the plant can drop the fruits. Also, the frost can damage the flower and stop them from blooming and actually have a fruit.

The largest producers globally are Mexico, Dominican Republic, Peru, Indonesia, Colombia, Brazil, and Kenya. The largest European producer is Spain followed by Turky and France.

Three main negative impacts of avocado cultivation on the environment.

As I said at the beginning of this article the growing popularity of avocados also has a very negative impact on the environment.

Many people, including me (and probably you as well) is not thinking about the details of how is avocado grown. Or what does it require to grow it or who has grown it in general and where.

I would say that there are 3 main problems that have a very negative impact on the environment. Thanks to them the rapid growth of both consumption and production is not sustainable at all.

1. The “forest” problem.

The first big environmental issue is the forest problem. Only in Mexico, the production of avocado has grown from 1,889,354 tonnes in 2016 to 2,029,886 in 2017. This is a growth of 140 000 tonnes in just a year.

Higher production means that more space is needed and also dedicated to cultivation. Many farmers seeing the business opportunity simply decided to chop down their trees and swap them for avocado plantation.

For many of them, the avocado cultivation is simply a way to survive and feed their families. Therefore it is more important for them to make money than to take care of the environment and wildlife.

2. The “water” problem.

Do you know how much water is needed to grow one avocado?

In research from the Water Footprint Network and WHO to grow one single piece of avocado 70 liters of water are required.

If you are not sure if this number is high or low I will give you a comparison. To grow one tomato you need approximately 5 liters of water and to grow one orange you need approximately 22 liters of water.

In my opinion, this number is quite high. Also, the majority of the largest avocado producers are countries where a lack of freshwater is a general problem. So to grow 5,9 million tonnes of avocados per year there is a lot of water needed.

Avocado, the healthy fruit with a dangerous impact on our environment. Should you stop eating it right away?

3. The “crime” problem.

In the poorest areas of Mexico (and maybe other regions too) there is a significant growth of organised crime connected to the avocado cultivation.

Many gangs, cartels, and individual criminals seeing the growing avocado business simply started to take the money and blackmail the local farmers. The amount of money in such a business can reach even 150 million dollars per region.

Avocados grown in such conditions are usually called “blood avocados”.

In UK and Ireland there are already few restaurants ditching the avocados from their tables, as the origin of the fruit is not known.

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Dear customers, we have some news for you. As of today, we will no longer be serving avocado in the yurt. This.is.not.a.joke. ? Controversial? Absolutely…We’re as acquainted as the next person to our weekly intake of smashed avocado toast but this is something we have thought long and hard about. Let us explain… ?? 1. Seasonality. Locally sourced ingredients have been woven into our identity from day one. Whether it’s our home grown courgettes, apples or pumpkins, our menu flexes with the seasons as we let the produce of the Chilterns and surrounding areas inspire and inform our recipes. All our meat is sourced within 25 miles, we use local yoghurt, eggs, Chiltern rapeseed oil, to name but a few. There will always be exceptions, we do not claim never to use a pinch of an Indian spice, a drizzle of Italian olive oil, or a crumble of Greek feta. These are all beautiful things and arguably there is not a local alternative, nor would we want one. Our cooking is inspired by many of the cuisines of the world and it would be contrite to think it should be any other way. However, the sheer quantity in which avos were being consumed was making us feel uneasy as they were so at odds with our local ethos. We believe in this and want to truly practise what we preach. ??? 2. Food miles. it doesn’t take a genius to work out that food tastes better when it hasn’t been flown 5000 miles. But more importantly, at a time when climate change concerns have never been more real, transporting ingredients in fuel guzzling planes from Central and South America, Africa and beyond just to satisfy our whim for the latest food trend, when we have a plentiful supply of perfectly delicious, nutritious food on our doorstep is just plain wrong. ???? 3. Sustainability. The Western world’s obsession with avocado has been placing unprecedented demand on avocado farmers, pushing up prices to the point where there are even reports of Mexican drug cartels controlling lucrative exports. Forests are being thinned out to make way for avocado plantations. Intensive farming on this scale contributes to greenhouse emmisions by its very nature & places pressure on local water supplies.

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Conclusion

Now you might think if you should ditch avocado too. My answer is to do what is best for you.

I will join the non-avocado side and start to look for substitutes. To be very honest, avocados were never meant to be eaten in Poland anyway, so I will for sure survive and find something else.

If you decide to buy avocados then be it. But make sure you eat it and it will not go to waste. Also, before you buy it, at least check the origin and try to buy ones that are produced close to your home country or region.

The further the avocados travel the bigger the environmental footprint is.


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