A new study suggests that eating one avocado per day as part of a healthy diet can help lower cholesterol.
Avocados are fruits that contain 60% more potassium than bananas; they are also sodium and cholesterol-free. An avocado has a higher fat content (5 grams per serving) than other fruit, but the fat is monounsaturated fat, which is considered healthy when consumed in moderation. Diets rich in monounsaturated fatty acids can reduce total cholesterol levels in the blood and increase the ratio of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, "good" cholesterol) to low-density lipoprotein (LDL, "bad" cholesterol).
In a recent study, researchers randomly assigned 45 overweight or obese people with high LDL cholesterol levels to one of three diets, including one lower fat diet and two moderate-fat diets. One moderate fat diet included one avocado daily and the other moderate fat diet was matched for macronutrients and fatty acids, mainly using oleic acid oils. Each diet was maintained for five weeks. After a 2 week wash-out period, participants then switched diets until all 3 diets were completed.
The researchers found that all three study diets resulted in lower LDL and total cholesterol levels when compared to cholesterol levels at the beginning of the study. However, the moderate fat diet including avocado resulted in significantly greater LDL and total cholesterol reductions than the other two diets. Furthermore, LDL/HDL ratios decreased significantly more on the avocado diet.
The authors concluded that eating one avocado per day decreases LDL cholesterol levels. Furthermore, the beneficial effects of eating avocados go beyond their fatty acid content and may provide additional cardiovascular benefits.
For information about avocados, please visit Natural Medicines’ Food, Herbs & Supplements Database.
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