For too long, avocado was shunned for its high fat content. But the fruit's monounsaturated fats help reduce bad cholesterol. Plus, avocados contain protein, potassium, and vitamins B, E, and K, which fight gingivitis, skin disorders, diabetes, arthritis, and even prostate cancer. Here's how to go beyond the guac.

Avocado for...

Hair

Latin Americans have long used avocado on dull hair. Today, Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment moisturizes split ends and a dry scalp with proteins, amino acids, and vitamins A, C, and E.

Skin

Use Dr. Bronner's Magic Organic Balm with avocado and hempoils on extra-chapped lips or elbows. The nongreasy rub nourishes skin with essential vitamins and comes in patchouli, lime, peppermint, orange lavender, and unscented versions.

Cooking

Substitute avocado oil for olive oil. It has a higher smoking point (450 degrees) plus the same fatty acids as olive oil — in a fruitier package. Find Spectrum Avocado Oil in the condiments section of your natural products store.

Eating

Blend the flesh of one avocado with ½ cup milk, ½ cup ice, and 2 tablespoons sugar. This creamy shake adds calcium to avocado's already dense nutrient list.