It feels like avocados are on menus everywhere. Mashed on fancy whole grain breads at breakfast, topping sandwiches at lunch and, as the main ingredient in guacamole. Avocados are delicious but also very high in fat. Which may leave you wondering, can they also be healthy? The nutrition team at Consumer Reports helps us decipher avocado fact from fiction.
Avocados are high in fat. So you should eat them in moderation. But it’s the good kind of fat. It’s monounsaturated fat, which can reduce your bad, LDL cholesterol and that can actually reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
If you choose Hass avocados -- the small, dark ones with the pebbly surface –– you get slightly more fat than say, Florida avocados, which are larger and a brighter green.
But any avocado is a good choice.
Avocados are also chock full vitamins, including folate, B6, C, E and K. They are rich in blood-pressure-lowering potassium and fiber. Half an avocado contains almost 5 grams of fiber. Roughly 15 to 20 percent of the amount you need every day.
They also contain nutrients that have been shown to be important for eye health, such as lutein. That can help protect against things like age-related macular degeneration or cataracts. Even more beneficial? Fat helps the body better absorb antioxidants. Not just from the avocado itself, but from other fruits and vegetables. So tossing avocado chunks into a salad or a smoothie –– or pairing, guacamole with fresh veggies are good dietary strategies.
Wondering how to choose the perfect avocado? Experts at Consumer Reports suggest choosing an avocado that is firm and leaving it out in the sun ––or in a paper bag with a banana. It should ripen in three to four days.
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