We know that avocado (or avocado) is a tasty fruit which, like walnuts, contains “healthy fats” and can help improve cholesterol and is beneficial for heart health.
New research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has found that eating an avocado a day, as part of a diet rich in healthy fats, can help lower our bad cholesterol – known as LDL.
How avocado lowers cholesterol
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University recruited 45 overweight participants between the ages of 21 and 70 who volunteered to try three different types of cholesterol-lowering diets.
One was a low-fat diet, which included lots of fruit, low-fat dairy, chicken, whole grains, and small portions of red meat, but no avocados.
The other two diets were moderately high in fat, with about 34% of total calories consumed per day coming from fat. The types of foods and meals were similar to the low-fat diet, but included more nuts and oils. The only difference between them is that one included an avocado a day, while the other did not.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that the only diet that included avocados led to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol, compared to the other two diets.
How big was the difference? Well, the avocado diet lowered blood cholesterol by about 14 milligrams per deciliter of blood, while the low-fat diet caused a drop of about 7 mg/dL, and the moderate-fat diet dropped about 8 mg/dL. In other words, a pretty big difference.
Avocados good for the heart
How can something so tasty and exquisite also be something so good for us at the same time?
The scientists offer possible explanations for the results, saying that avocados provide us with a unique combination of vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytosterols and other bioactives from the diet. Additionally, the avocado diet provides 35% more fiber than diets without it.
This means that “avocados may provide greater benefits to cardiovascular disease risk factors compared to a low-fat, calorie-matched diet,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., RD, lead author of the study.
It is important to note, however, that this study was funded by the Hass Avocado Council, and that this was a small study that cannot be generalized across populations. But it does provide more insight into the positive effect of the type of fat in the avocado on cholesterol and thus heart health.
The findings do not necessarily indicate that you should eat a lot of guacamole, since, as good as it is, it is still quite caloric if you eat it in exaggerated proportions.