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Mention avocado and guacamole may be the first thing that comes to mind, but there are so many uses for and health benefits of the avocado that it is time to see it as more than a dip for tortilla chips. Avocado is known to prevent inflammation, provides monounsaturated fat (heart-healthy), and may help regulate blood sugars.

The Basics:

Look for avocados that are slightly soft and have no noticeable bruises or cracks. Avocados that are firm can be ripened at home by placing them in a paper bag and leaving it on the countertop. Ripe avocados can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week. Peel the avocado just before using it to prevent browning (though sprinkling some lemon juice on the cut avocado will also help). To peel the avocado, cut the fruit in half around the thickest part and gently twist the two halves in opposite directions. Once it has pulled apart, remove the pit. The California Avocado Commission recommends peeling the fruit by slicing the fruit into quarters and peeling the skin the same way that you might peel a banana. Once peeled, it is ready to be eaten or prepared.

Try This:

Cubed avocado can be added to salads and tacos. Try sliced avocado on fried eggs. Chopped avocado is also a delicious addition to black bean soup.

The Facts:

One cup of avocado has approximately 230 calories and is a good source of fiber and vitamins K, C, and B6. It is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat.