You've Been Peeling Avocados Wrong Your Entire Life

Avocados are a versatile fruit that have tons of culinary uses and are loaded with vitamins, potassium, fiber, and healthy fats (via Did you know, though, that the way you prepare an avocado can impact just how healthy it is? The American Chemical Society (via Health) revealed that there is some important nutritional content hiding just beneath the skin of an avocado, meaning that if you've been dutifully scooping the flesh out with a spoon every morning, you've been doing it wrong. Here's why.

Carotenoids are pigments found in various plants that give them their bright colors, such as reds, yellows, and oranges (via LiveScience). They are a type of phytonutrient that helps the plant utilize light energy for photosynthesis, and they also have an antioxidant effect in the human body. This means they can help deactivate single oxygen atoms known as free radicals, which are thought to be a factor in cancer development.

In the avocado, the flesh that is directly in contact with the skin has the highest concentration of carotenoids. If you, like many people, use a spoon to scoop out the good stuff, it's likely that you're leaving some of those carotenoids behind, particularly if you're in a hurry or don't want to meticulously scrape every last bit from the inside of the peel. 

Your best nutritional bet, then, is instead of scraping each half out with a spoon, just cut the avocado up into slices, skin and all. Then, simply peel the skin off, and you not only have beautiful little avocado slices, but you have all of the complete nutrition an avocado has to offer.

A word of warning, though — use your cutting board and definitely do not hold the avocado in your hand while slicing it up. Estimates say that nearly 9,000 people go to the ER every year because they accidentally slash their hands or fingers during avocado prep. So keep your fruit on the board, keep the sharp edge of the knife away from your hands, and peel the skin off each slice instead of scraping the flesh out with your spoon and you'll be in good shape.