Consumer Reports: Are Avocados really healthy for you?

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- 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?

Technically, an avocado is a fruit. Half of a medium avocado has about 114 calories, and 10 grams of fat.

"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.

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 brighter green.

But any avocado is a good choice.

Avocados are also chocked full of vitamins, including folate, B6, C, E, and K and they're rich in blood-pressure lowering potassium and fiber.

Half an avocado contains almost 5 grams of fiber, roughly 15 to 20 percent of what 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," said Calderone.

Even more beneficial - fat helps the body better absorb the antioxidants - not just from the avocado itself, but fromn other fruits and vegetables.

So tossing avocado chunks into a salad, smoothie, or pairing guacamole with fresh veggies are good dietary strategies.

And if you're wondering how to choose the perfect avocado, experts at Consumer Reports suggest that you choose one 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.

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