By now, it’s no secret that the avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable. We also know it has tons of nutrients and healthy fats, contributing to its many health benefits. Yet much remains largely unknown about the ever-popular toast topping. Here are some of the lesser-known secrets that make this beautiful fruit even more attractive.

The Best Butter Alternative

Even if you’re not vegan, using avocados as butter provides a healthy alternative to a notoriously unhealthy food. You can do more than just use it on your toast; you can replace butter in pretty much every cake and muffin recipe, reducing the unhealthy fat content, calories, and cholesterol while adding protein. If you like the flavor of avocados, you probably won’t even mind the slight shift in taste.

Pair An Avocado With An Apple For A Great Surprise

Apples work a kind of magic on avocados—they can speed up their ripening process. It’s not just apples either. Place an avocado in a paper bag with an apple, banana, apricot, plum, or nectarine, and the ethylene gas they produce will get your avocados ripe pretty quickly. Sometimes, it only takes a day.

The Toxic Green Fruit

While avocados are not toxic to humans, they are to many animals: rabbits, cows, goats, horses, birds, sheep, and even rodents. That’s because avocados contain a fungicidal toxin called persin. Some claim dogs and cats are also affected by this poison, but so far there is no conclusive evidence to support this. Indicentally, persin has also been shown to be toxic to breast cancer cells.

Replace Your Rogaine

The array of vitamins, minerals, and fatty amino acids in an avocado make it an excellent moisturizer. It works on your skin and on your hair, too. In fact, putting mashed avocado on your hair and scalp can speed up hair growth, strengthen the strands, and prevent significant hair loss.

The Cartel Has Gotten Involved

The drug cartel of Mexico has expanded its sights beyond just marijuana and cocaine. In recent years, there have been reports of avocado farmers in the Michoacan region of Mexico being attacked by the cartel. The farmers’ lives have been threatened, their crops burned down, and they’ve been kidnapped and extorted. The multi-billion dollar avocado industry is booming, and the cartel wants a cut of the profits.