By Marge Perry
Updated April 07, 2011
Once shunned for their high fat content, avocados are regaining favor because the fat they harbor is mostly the heart-healthy monounsaturated kind. Researchers find that nutrients and phytochemicals in avocados inhibit growth of oral and prostate cancer cells in the lab. Nutrition bonus: Add avocados to meals and their fat makes it easier to absorb disease-fighting compounds from other veggies.What they offer you: One quarter of an avocado wraps up protein, assorted antioxidants, fiber (3 grams), and heart-healthy fat into one 75-calorie bite.Recipe:Avocados with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
| Credit: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto

If your avocado is rock hard when you bring it home, put it in a paper bag and let it sit out on your counter for 2-5 days. To speed ripening even more, add a ripe banana to the bag. The banana gives off additional ethylene, which is fruit's natural ripening gas.

Once your avocado is ripe, see Superfood: Avocados for some great recipes.