Green with Beauty
The sexy fruit. The Aztec once referred to the avocado as the fertility fruit, savored as the “fruit of the gods” since it was thought that consumption increased a man’s ability to father children. While there is no actual evidence to support this belief, the name avocado is derived from the Mexican-Spanish aguacate, which comes from the Nahuatl word ahuácatl, meaning scrotum—a risqué reference to the shape of the fruit.
The avocado tree is classified in the flowering plant family and produces an edible fruit that can weigh anywhere from eight ounces to three pounds. The English called the avocado the “alligator pear” because of its color and leather-textured skin. Avocados, first cultivated in Puebla, Mexico, can range from black, wrinkled skin varieties to large, smooth or bumpy green skin types. The flesh of this pear-shaped fruit is typically a yellowish-green color with a buttery texture. Usually sold unripe, they can be left at room temperature until the fruit gives a little when gently squeezed, a telltale sign that it is ripened and ready to eat. (To ripen avocados quickly, put them in a brown paper sack at room temperature.) Once cut, the flesh should be sprinkled with lime or lemon juice to prevent a brown discoloration. Ripened avocados should be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of up to five days.
An excellent source of potassium, vitamins B and E, monounsaturated fatty acids, and fiber, avocadoes also include beneficial oils that contain oleic and linoleic acids. Studies show that these oils may help to lower cholesterol levels. Like the banana, the density of the avocado’s actual fruit is filling and acts as a digestive, slow burning fuel, perfect for anyone from highly active athletes to young growing children.
Although the avocado can be found on all of the Hawaiian Islands, it is grown commercially on the Big Island. The ideal Sharwil avocado is the most prized amongst the hundreds of varieties grown and is available all year round. It is one of only two fruits, the other being olives, where oil is extracted from the flesh rather than the seed, therefore considered extra virgin oil. The health and nutritional benefits of avocado oil are equal to olive oil and many people prefer its taste. As for the fruit, the inner avocado flesh is hard when harvested and may take about six to nine days to soften to a buttery texture. Cooked avocado has a nutty flavor and creamy texture, but if overcooked, it may have a bitter taste. Many local restaurants experiment with this versatile fruit, using it to complement savory dishes like sushi to treating avocados as a sweet fruit, creating delectable smoothies, shakes and even avocado pies and mousses.
But aside from satisfying appetites, the avocado has found its way into the skincare market and is widely used as a natural cosmetic. Applying fruits like the avocado to the face and body is becoming more and more of a trend as we recognize the benefits—the fruit is proven to cool and nourish sensitive skin. Certain food-based products that are blended with other oils, vitamins and dairy products can maximize nourishment and allow for quicker absorption. Avocados straight from the orchard or from a local farmers market are high in antioxidants and vitamins to help improve your skin conditions. Good to the last sweet, creamy drop, avocados are an effective hydrating treatment.
For years, many women have been whipping up their own food-based products in the comfort of their kitchens. When making edible skin care recipes, be sure to use immediately or refrigerate and use within a few hours. Once the avocado fruit is picked from the tree, it shouldn’t be stored for a long period of time as many vital nutrients can be lost. Always do a patch test for allergies and dilute your ingredients to work up to a desired skin care result. The fresher the avocado, the better it will be for your skin.
Local avocados are not hard to find as they flourish in Hawaii’s tropical climates and farmers sell the fruit at many outdoor markets all around the island. Prices are very affordable and most of the fruits and veggies are picked that same day, direct from the growers. Also common are “honor stands,” usually found in many neighborhoods where residents will set up a small stand in front of their home where they place fruit or vegetables for sale with a box to collect money. Rather than going to the skin care isle for your beauty products, take a trip to the nearest farmers market or fruit stand for all natural and 100% local ingredients.
If you’re simply not the type to stir up your own skincare concoction, popular Hawaii resorts and day spas offer many unique and beneficial treatments from avocado, banana, coffee and coconut facials and body masks. From nature’s bounty, they can deliver desired healing properties and beautifying benefits from luxurious moisturizing to wrinkle treatment and skin conditioning—there’s an array of rejuvenating opportunities. The Anara Spa at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort uses ancient customs and fresh botanicals to combine and create contemporary rituals that cleanse, purify, soften and soothe with island based elements from both land and sea.
The avocado is a beauty food ingredient that will keep you healthy inside and out. Avocados are not new to most people, but there are many fresh ways to enjoy an avocado like including it in your beauty regiment. It is a super fruit that not only tastes great, but one that will also help you look your best.
Avocado Hydrating Mask
1/2 Ripe avocado
1 tsp. Honey
1 tbsp. Lemon juice
Remove the avocado skin and place aside. Remove the inner pit from the fruit and set aside with skin. Combine the fruit flesh, honey and lemon juice in a bowl and mash using a fork until ingredients form a smooth and creamy paste. Using just the inside of the avocado skin, gently exfoliate and massage the face and neck with clockwise circles. Apply the avocado paste to your face and neck, leaving on for approximately10 minutes. Before rinsing off, use the pit to massage the paste on the skin’s surface to stimulates circulation, lymphatic drainage, and pressure points. Gently remove the mask with cool water and pat dry with a clean towel.