Reap the heart-healthy benefits of this nutrient-packed, melt-in-your-mouth marvel

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Avocados are revered for their buttery taste and texture, a quality that stems from the “good” monounsaturated fats they contain. It is also these fats that make avocados champions for heart health. Studies have found that oleic acid, one of the monounsaturated fats in the smooth green flesh of the fruit, helps to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels significantly. Also rich in potassium, fiber, folate, and vitamin K, the luscious fruit of guacamole fame is surprisingly versatile: Brazilians use it to make ice cream, and in the Philippines it’s blended into a creamy avocado shake. 

Choose It & Use It 

When ripe, avocados yield to gentle pressure. Select firm ones for later use. Hard fruit will ripen faster if stored in a paper bag along with an apple. Mash Hass avocados for guacamole; slice firmer varieties, such as Fuerte and Bacon, for salads or sandwiches. Add diced avocado to soups or replace eggs and butter with it in baked desserts. The simplest use: cut an avocado in half, salt it, and eat from the nubby exterior—it makes a handy serving bowl.