Sure, avocados can be seen gracing the packaging of moisturizers and shampoos. But while those mushy green facials are awfully tempting, this tasty little fruit goes more than skin deep. But guacamole is just the beginning…

Bravo to the Avocado — Why It’s Super

The avocado has many nutritional benefits, ranging from cholesterol management and high fiber content to alleviating arthritis and potentially lessening the side effects of chemotherapyA potential role for avocado-and soybean-based nutritional supplements in the management of osteoarthritis: a review. Dinubile, N.A. The Physician and Sports Medicine 2010; 38(2): 71-81.Avocado fruit (Persea americana Mill) exhibits chemo-preventative potentiality against cyclophosphamide induced genotoxicity in human lymphocyte culture. Paul, R., Kulkarni, P., Ganesh, N. Department of Research, Jawaharlal Nehru Cancer Hospital and Research Center, India. Journal of Experimental Therapeutics and Oncology, 2011;9(3):221-230. Here are a few key reasons avocado is the way to go:

Beyond Guac — Your Action Plan

The first step of adding avocado to a healthy diet (and perhaps the most daunting one) is knowing which fruit to pick. A good rule of thumb is to buy the fruit when it’s firm, and let it ripen for a few days before eating. To know when the avocado is ready to eat, squeeze it lightly. It should still be somewhat firm, but with enough give that a knife could smoothly cut through it. Thanks to its versatility, avocado can easily be used on a sandwich, as a dip or salsa, in chilled soup, in a salad, in sushi, with an omelet, or even as a gelato. Or just scoop it right out of its skin! And even though we know that avocado can be so much more, don’t forget the guacamole (yummy, yummy guacamole). Just keep in mind that there can be too much of a good thing. Due to the fruit’s high-fat content (roughly 85% of the avocado’s calories come from fat), most experts recommend consuming no more than roughly half of a whole fruit per day. Not into eating them at all? If an avocado is purchased too ripe or forgotten on the kitchen counter, don’t let it go to waste! It’s easy to turn an abandoned avocado into a homemade face mask or hair treatment. Check out some of our favorite avocado recipes from around the web:

Breakfast: Egg and Avocado via Lunch: Avocado Chickpea Salad with Vegan Pesto via Avocado Pesto Lunch: Broccoli Cauliflower Avocado Soup via Family Fresh Cooking Dinner: Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa via Martha Stewart Dessert: Sweet Avocado Ice Pops via Food Republic

Originally posted April 2011. Updated August 2012 by Laura Newcomer.