Avocados are known for their unique taste and health benefits but there appears to be a downside to eating this fruit. It comes with a potential hazard for people who do not know how to properly prepare and slice this guacamole ingredient.
Doctors and surgeons in the United Kingdom have reported a spike in the number of people who cut their own hands while slicing through avocados. The increased incidents of avocado-related injury shows potential dangers for those who do not know how to handle the fruit.
“Avocado hand” has become so common that on Saturday afternoons, some doctors prepare themselves for “post-brunch” increase in injuries linked to slicing avocados. Simon Eccles, a surgeon in London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, claims that he deals with an average of four avocado hands weekly.
Not Just Minor Cuts: Avocado Hand May Lead To Nerve Damage
Among the reasons for the injury include people not knowing that the avocados they bought were very ripe and not knowing how to properly handle the fruit.
Doctors do not just deal with minor cuts either because some people cut their hands bad enough to require surgery. In some instances, the injury has led to serious nerve damage.
“Most come about when someone is preparing guacamole, and [the cuts] can be deep,” emergency room physician John Torres said. “Avocado-related injuries are more common than most people think, and the resulting lacerations to the hand can be nerve-damaging.”
Avoiding Avocado-Related Injuries
People do not have to necessarily part with avocados though. For one, the fruit is good for the body. Avocados are rich in nutrients and monounsaturated fatty acids. Eating one avocado per day may help reduce bad cholesterol level, which can be helpful for people looking for ways to reduce their level of low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol. Studies also showed the fruit can help satiate hunger. Molecules of the fruit likewise showed promise for treating leukemia.
Warning labels could be an effective way to help prevent avocado-related injuries. Doctors also urge people to learn how to better handle the green fruit. The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons calls for placing warning labels on the skin of the fruit to give instructions for slicing avocados.
“We don’t want to put people off the fruit, but I think warning labels are an effective way of dealing with this. It needs to be recognizable,” Eccles said. “Perhaps we could have a cartoon picture of an avocado with a knife, and a big red cross going through it?”
Since accidents tend to happen when people slice very ripe avocados, knowing how to assess the ripeness of the fruit may also help. A simple color chart posted on Reddit has shown three varying shades of an avocado that can help indicate the levels of its ripeness. Overripe avocados tend to turn from a pleasant green color to brown.
Another way to assess the ripeness of the fruit is to softly press it. If there is too much give, the fruit is most possibly overripe.