So many people have never even tried an avocado. Perhaps you are one of them. If you are, I promise you this: just one taste of a ripe and creamy avocado and you’ll be hooked!

The avocado is an often misunderstood fruit. For many years health experts urged consumers to steer clear of the avocado and choose less fatty fruits and vegetables. But while it is true that avocados do contain quite a bit of fat (about 22 grams for one cup serving), it is almost all monounsaturated fat.

According to the American Heart Association, monounsaturated fats do not raise your cholesterol level. In fact, studies show that they may even help lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) Levels and raise HDL (the good cholesterol) levels. Avocados are also a great source of potassium, which helps guard against high blood pressure, and beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. This makes them a great addition to a heart-healthy diet.

Dieter’s too should not dismiss the avocado. While high in calories opposed to other fruits and vegetables, the avocado is also packed with fiber. A one cup serving of avocado contains a whopping ten grams of fiber. High-fiber foods make you feel fuller longer so you’ll be less likely to snack after a short time.

But the Avocado Benefits go beyond the vitamins and minerals stored inside. Studies show that when eaten along with other foods, the avocado helps the body absorb more nutrients such as lycopene and beta-carotene. So consider adding some avocado slices to a salad with tomatoes and carrots to take full advantage of this phenomena.

When shopping for avocados, look for one that is soft to a gentle squeeze. If it is hard, the avocado is not yet ripe. Put unripe avocados in a paper bag and they will ripen up in no time.

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