NatashaPhoto/ShutterstockIf you still haven’t gotten on the avocado bandwagon, you’re missing out. Not only does the fruit (yes, fruit) add delicious creaminess to a meal, but it’s also jam-packed with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals to support every system in your body, plus “good” monounsaturated fats to lower your cholesterol and risk of heart disease. That’s especially important if you’re showing these signs you don’t eat enough healthy fats.
But if you keep skipping one important step when you’re preparing an avocado, you could be adding a health risk to an otherwise nutritious food. (And no, it’s not forgetting you can ripen an avocado in less than 10 minutes.)
As your fruit goes from farm to supermarket to your grocery basket, it goes through a good number of hands. Think about how many people in your produce section alone probably gave your avocado a squeeze to see how ripe it was. Now you’re bringing all those germs home with you.
Chances are, when you go to slice that avocado (assuming you’ve used this hack to keep it fresh), you just grab it from the counter or fridge and dig right in. Without washing it, though, you could be eating bacteria. (Find out why you should rinse pre-washed lettuce, too.)
We know what you’re thinking: You’d never eat an avocado’s skin, so what’s the point in washing it? Well, glad you asked. As you cut into the fruit, you need to bring your knife through the skin before you can get to the flesh. While you slice, the blade could carry bacteria through the shell and into the edible area, according to the University of California, Berkeley. (Learn why you keep throwing away the healthiest part of an avocado.)
Don’t believe you could get sick from a rind? In 2011, an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to cantaloupes killed 33 people and hospitalized 143. We’re willing to bet none of those affected were munching on the rind. That’s why you should wash every piece of produce before you cut into it, whether it’s a watermelon or an onion.
While no one is saying you’ll get sick every time you eat an unwashed avocado, we like to take the better-safe-than-sorry approach. According to the CDC, you should scrub firm vegetables (like avocado) with a clean produce brush. Now you can enjoy your guacamole worry-free.
Looking for more fun facts about avocados? You’ll never guess the dirty origin of the word “avocado.”