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by [Link Removed] 

The avocado has been misunderstood in the past because of its high fat content, but avocados provide more than 25 essential nutrients. A serving of avocado, which is one-eighth of the fruit, has only 5 grams of fat per serving, but that fat is the monounsaturated kind, which is heart-healthy and may help to lower cholesterol. Avocados are also rich in omega-3s, another heart-healthy ingredient. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the avocado is the potassium content. Compared to bananas, avocados have 60 percent more potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. Adequate intake of potassium can help to guard against circulatory diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure or stroke. Remember, though, everything in moderation. A whole avocado has 520 calories and 40 grams of fat. Even though it’s “good” fat, it can still add up to weight gain.  

According to the California Avocado Commission, the avocado (Persea americana) originated in south-central Mexico, sometime between 7,000 and 5,000 B.C. But it was several millennia before this wild variety was cultivated. Archaeologists in Peru have found domesticated avocado seeds buried with Incan mummies dating back to 750 B.C. and there is evidence that avocados were cultivated in Mexico as early as 500 B.C. Find out more about avocados at the California Avocado Commission ( [Link Removed]).  

Here are some creative ways to enjoy avocado:  

1. Instead of slathering mayo on your sandwich, why not mash up some avocado and spread it on your sandwich? One tablespoon of mayonnaise has about 110 calories of pure fat. One-fifth of a medium California avocado has 50 calories, with 35 calories from fat, but remember – it's the "good" fat.

2. In a food processor, mash one half of an avocado with a half cup of organic cottage cheese, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on top, sprinkle with black pepper and use it as a dip with cut vegetables for a protein-rich, tasty, healthy meal or snack.

3. Make an avocado boba drink. Boba drinks usually contain soft, chewy tapioca balls in the bottom of a drink such as tea or coffee, but here's a creative twist: Using a small melon scoop, make avocado balls and add them into tomato or vegetable juice for a new, healthy spin on boba.

4. Cut up avocado chunks and put them on top of gazpacho, the cold Spanish tomato soup, for a filling snack that's veggie-licious.

5. Add avocado on top of any omelet for a burst of extra flavor.

Jackie Silver is the founder and president of [Link Removed] 

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