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Consumer Reports: Are avocados healthy?

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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. (WLS)

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.

Technically, an avocado is a fruit. Half of a medium avocado has about 114 calories and 10 grams of fat. So, can it really be called healthy?

"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," said Julia Calderone, Consumer Reports Health Editor.

If you choose Hass avocados, the small, dark ones with the pebbly surface, you get slightly more fat than 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 also are rich in blood-pressure lowering potassium.

Plus, fiber. Half an avocado contains almost 5 grams of fiber. Roughly 15 percent 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," Calderone said.

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 that you choose an avocado that is firm and leave it out in the sun or in a paper bag with a banana. It should ripen in three to four days.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2018 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org
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