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Avocados have long held an (undeserved) reputation as being “fattening,” so I’m thrilled that they’ve recently exploded in popularity, not just as a hot culinary trend, but also as a health-protective superfood. Here are three reasons why adding guacamole to your meal is well worth the upcharge, and tips for incorporating more avocado into your meals a home.

AVOCADO IS A SUPERFOOD

1. AVOCADOS ARE BURSTING WITH NUTRIENTS

While technically fruits, avocados are typically categorized by nutritionists like me as a “good fat” – one that’s been shown to help reduce inflammation (a known trigger of premature aging and disease), lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol, and reduce blood pressure. They’re also packed with antioxidants, and nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals. One recent study found that regular avocado eaters have higher intakes of fiber, vitamins E and K, magnesium and potassium – all key nutrients most of us aren’t getting enough of.

2: AVOCADOS SUPPORT WEIGHT LOSS

The notion that eating fat makes you fat is outdated, especially when that fat comes from a plant-based food like avocado. The truth is including fat in a meal helps to delay the emptying of your stomach, which keeps you fuller longer and delays the return of hunger. In recent research volunteers rated their feelings of satisfaction and appetite after consuming meals with or without avocado. The avocado group reported a significant boost in satiety and a reduced desire to eat - for up to five hours. Avocados’ ability to fight inflammation may also be one of the reasons why one study showed that regular avocado eaters weigh less and have smaller waists - even when they don’t eat fewer calories.

3: AVOCADOS HELP YOU ABSORB MORE NUTRIENTS FROM OTHER HEALTHY FOODS

Including avocado or guacamole in a Sabrosa meal is a smart overall nutrition strategy, because they help boost your body’s absorption of beneficial antioxidants. One Ohio State study found that when men and women ate salads and salsa topped with just two and a half tablespoons of avocado, they absorbed up to 13 times more antioxidants known to fight heart disease and cancer. Another study found that pairing avocado with tomato sauce and carrots significantly upped the absorption of vitamin A, a key nutrient needed for immunity, healthy skin, and vision.

INCORPORATE AVOCADOS INTO YOUR DIET!

In addition to enjoying guacamole, there are numerous ways to incorporate avocados into your every day diet at home. Add sliced or minced avocado to omelets, garden salads, and soups, or enjoy them in sweet dishes. You can whip ripe avocado into a fruit smoothie or chocolaty pudding, or bake with them. In recipes for baked goods like brownies and cupcakes each tablespoon of butter can be swapped for half a tablespoon of avocado. Give it a try!