The Benefits of Avocado, Explained (2:29)
Avocados are everywhere. They're on top of your toast, served with your eggs, blended into your smoothies, even hidden in brownies. But a lot of people are intimidated to buy avocados because they don't know how to tell if they're good. While you can knock on watermelon to see if it sounds hollow or sniff a cantaloupe to tell if they're ripe, avocados are a little more complicated. Do you smell it? Touch it? Squeeze it? If you've been asking yourself in the produce section "Is my avocado ripe?" then this guide is for you.
If avocados haven't made it onto your shopping list already, they probably will soon. It's no secret that this fruit is an incredibly trendy. And luckily, unlike other food trends like cake served on top of milkshakes and pizza slices bigger than your head, they're actually healthy for you too. According to The Dr. Oz Show correspondent and nutritionist, Kellyann Petrucci, avocados a great source of healthy fat and are loaded with fiber, which is good for your brain, your heart, and can even help prevent bloating.
They also are rich in vitamins as well magnesium, which, according to Well + Good, is helpful for easing stress and even helping with PMS symptoms and migraines. But did you know that if you look for certain qualitites in your avocado, you can actually get a better taste and nutritional value? Learn the best tips and tricks to ensure you're picking out the perfect avocado everytime.
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Does It Matter If an Avocado is Bumpy or Smooth?
Believe it or not, Petrucci says the answer is yes. While there are many different types of avocados out there, she says California avocados are usually bumpy and have dark skin, while Florida avocados are smooth and have a greener skin. According to Petrucci, smooth avocados have about 24 grams of fat, while bumpy avocados can have up to 38.5 grams of fat — that's why greener avocados are sometimes marketed as "lite" avocados in the supermarket.
While having the healthy fats avocados provide is beneficial, you don't want to have too much of a good thing. You should be eating avocados in moderation. The Cleveland Clinic advises not using all your healthy fats points in the day on an avocado. In fact, the actual serving size recommended by the FDA is smaller than you may think: 1/3 of a medium-sized avocado. So you might want to stick to the smooth ones to save yourself some fat and calories, or at least be mindful of portion sizes with bumpy ones.
How to Tell Whether an Avocado is Ripe or Not
If an avocado isn't ripe it can ruin your whole meal. No one wants to eat a hard, mealy, or slightly slimy slice. Petrucci says there are a couple of crucial tips to keep in mind when looking for a ripe avocado. First, you should feel the avocado, but whatever you do, do not squeeze it. It's important to be able to feel whether it's soft, but if you squeeze the avocado you can damage it. According to ABC News, squeezing an avocado can also leave brown and bruised flesh under the skin, which won't be pleasant when you slice it open later. Of course, you should avoid always avocados with noticeable blemishes.
Do the "Stem Test"
Petrucci says a fail-proof way to tell whether an avocado is ripe or not is to do the "stem test." First, take the stem out of the avocado and observe. Did it come out easily and have green underneath of it? If it did, that means your avocado is ripe and ready to eat. If that's not the case, put the avocado back down and select another one to buy. While you shouldn't do this at the grocery store and take all the stems off of avocados, it's a great way to test if the avocados you bought a few days ago are good to eat.
What About Avocado Products?
Avocado-based products are starting to populate the shelves at the supermarket, but are any of them good for you? Petrucci swears by avocado oil and avocado mayo, which she says typically have fewer calories than regular oil and mayo. However, she says to be careful when you're shopping because not all avocado-based products are better for you. Avocado chips, for example, can have almost 25 percent more salt than a regular bag of chips, so it's always a good rule of thumb to check the nutrition label before purchasing.