The secret to better health may lie within a small, scaly green fruit. Also called alligator pears, avocados aren’t just delicious, but offer numerous health advantages. Let’s take a closer look at why avocados should earn a spot at the top of your shopping list.

From the Inside Out

 ripe avocado cut in half on a wooden tableServed up with a side of chips or as a burger topping, avocado is a delicious treat. But this rich, creamy indulgence is one you can actually feel good about.

Why? Because the versatile avocado is a “superfood,” meaning it’s chock-full of nutrients, including healthy fats, protein, and fiber. In fact, a single, medium-sized avocado contains just under half of your daily recommended minimum fiber intake! All of that, and its sugar content is relatively low when compared to other fruits.

Research indicates that eating avocados can help lower bad cholesterol levels while promoting healthy body weight. Antioxidant-rich avocados may even reduce your risk of diabetes, stroke, coronary artery disease, and cancer.

From the Outside In

Green Avacado Mask On Awoman's Hands

But avocados aren’t just good for you on a plate. Known for their magnificent moisturizing properties, they can also be used as topical treatments for hair and skin.

If you’re suffering from dull, dry skin, combine half of a mashed avocado with a teaspoon each of raw honey and yogurt or milk to create a natural face mask that moisturizes, clarifies and refreshes. Apply to your face, hands or décolletage for more youthful, radiant skin.

Avocados also offer powerful hair repair — particularly for dry, brittle hair damaged by chemical processing, sun, chlorine and other environmental factors. Simply mash together one avocado with a tablespoon of safflower oil. Apply to your hair in place of conditioner after shampooing. Cover with plastic wrap and let set for 10 minutes. Rinse well and voila! Softer, shinier looking hair.

So go ahead and reach for that guacamole. But don’t forget that avocados also offer the perfect opportunity to “play” with your food…and enjoy many beautiful benefits in the process!