In the beginning, the avocado was deemed an aphrodisiac for its appearance. The Aztecs, the first documented avocado eaters, dubbed the avocado tree ahuacuatl, or testicle tree. If you’ve ever seen avocados growing, you know that the fruits dangle low, often in pairs (testicles)!
This reputation carried through time and cultures. In the 1920’s, an American avocado advertising campaign denied the aphrodisiac properties with the hope of tempting people to indulge in the forbidden fruit. The reverse psychology worked and Americans began nibbling the fruits of temptation in stealth.
In 2001 the California Avocado Commission conducted a survey to investigate the folkloric history of the avocado’s aphrodisiac reputation. Findings released stated that 63% of those polled believed in the avocado’s aphrodisiac reputation.
Avocado for health
Although the Aztecs may not have been equipped to explain it, modern science has given us insight into the fruit’s aphrodisiac reputation. We now know that avocado nutrition delivers a punch of nutrients essential to sexual health, including beta carotene, magnesium and vitamin E, (which is sometimes called the “sex vitamin”). Also, an avocado delivers more potassium than a raw banana. It even offers 2.4 grams of protein for every 1/2 cup of fruit, an essential ingredient for a successful late night tango.
Avocado is also excellent as a part of an all-natural beauty regime. According to the January 2001 issue of Prevention magazine, when it is applied topically, it adds shine to hair. In addition, the oil can be applied as a treatment for dry and irritated skin. In South Africa, it is mashed and mixed with honey and lime as a face mask and soothing after-sun treatment.
How to select the best avocados
Avocados grow on trees but do not begin to ripen until picked. When selecting an avocado at the store, feel for heavy fruits with unbroken skin. Allow the fruit to ripen at room temperature and then store ripe fruit in the refrigerator.
Avocados are most often served raw. The fruit contains tannins, which can make it taste bitter when cooked. With their smooth texture and richness, they are best used as a garnish for salads, soups, grilled meats and as a base for dips and spreads. In some cultures, avocados are used in desserts, folded into ice cream, baked in batter or served with sugar and milk.