Are avocado and vanilla going extinct?
That’s a scary thought. There are more than 120 different varieties of these fruits. Avocados are native to Central and South America, and they are grown in large plantations for their delicious nutty flavor. In fact, it’s the nut’s popularity that’s bringing it here to the United States and to grocery stores here to try to make a return.
But along with the demand for more avocado, comes the risk of the wild crops too becoming extinct. Avocados are native to Central and South America. If demand catches up with farmers, then farmers may not be able to keep up with the high demand and sell off their crops to the grocery store. This will have a devastating effect on the environment as natural resources, which are limited, will be destroyed.
As the avocado is so useful in South America, especially for stews and salads, the loss of this crop would mean an end to these staple diets. It is estimated that more than 400 million people rely on avocados for their daily nutrition. The avocado is a major ingredient in popular dishes such as guacamole, tortilla chips, and even ice cream.
So, what makes the avocado so special? Its nutrients and vitamins are much higher in fat and therefore higher calorie. A pure avocado is only 42 calories per serving, which is less than many nuts and seeds. This low calorie and nutrient-rich food are packed with the nutrients you need to maintain good health. In fact, it contains twice the amount of potassium found in banana. Avocados have loads of fiber and protein, as well as iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and Vitamin E. Avocados have one of the highest levels of polyphenols among all fruits.
The avocado has actually been around since the 1700’s when it was discovered by a French expeditionary. These early explorers relied on the fruit for a source of energy, protection from the sun, and even for protection against illness. Since then, the avocado has expanded its global reach, becoming a vital part of nutrition globally, and especially in South America where it is grown primarily for its fruit.
Unfortunately, because of deforestation, and other challenges, the avocado is no longer as abundant as it once was. One can argue that farmers don’t have the right to grow the crops that they do, if they aren’t being supported by the higher ups. This, along with other threats such as pests, and other weather conditions, make the avocado’s future uncertain. While some companies have begun hybridizing different types of avocados to create a resistance to these problems, others have already stopped producing the crop entirely. Other countries, such as the United States, have a conflict with the planting of the crop altogether. If these efforts are unsuccessful, and the demand for this very beneficial food decreases, the avocado industry could be in serious trouble.
For the avocado, what comes next is truly in the hands of Mother Nature. Since the day the avocado was first discovered, nature has provided abundant fruits, nuts, and vegetables, including the avocado. This plant is not going to go extinct, as long as people continue to care for it. In fact, studies have shown that if more people started eating more healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, the avocado industry would feel the effect. In other words, if everyone switched to a diet that consisted mostly of fruits, nuts, and vegetables, the avocado could most likely vanish in the next few decades.
While there is no guarantee that the avocado will never disappear entirely, by making responsible decisions and buying healthy foods, the avocado industry has shown that it can be resilient. It is important for people to become educated about this incredible fruit, so that they may avoid its loss to the ever-elusive disappearance. Today, more people than ever before are eating healthily, including those with special health conditions. The avocado industry needs to make a strong effort to market healthy foods to people who have such lifestyles now, and in the future.
Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.