It’s true, avocados are high in calories, but their fat is primarily monounsaturated – the good kind that actually helps to lower bad cholesterol and inhibits your blood from clumping. These beneficial fats also aid in the absorption of the carotenoid pigments: alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene, which are important for eye health and cancer protection.

Avocados also offer plenty of phytochemicals to help keep cancer at bay and preserve the youthful beauty of your skin. They also provide vitamins C and E, calcium, iron, and a lot of fiber. They are a significant source of phytosterols, which lower cholesterol, and a good source of folate – which can prevent birth defects and lessen the risk of heart attacks – something that both men and women should be concerned about.

If you have the time to wait for them, it’s best to purchase unripe avocadoes and allow them to ripen at home. Avocados will ripen naturally in 2 to 3 days when left on the countertop and placing them next to bananas will speed the process. Refrigeration will retard the ripening process so put them in the fridge only once they have ripened.