A diet containing a moderate amount of fat and one avocado may help lower “bad” cholesterol. This, in turn, could reduce the risk of heart disease, say researchers.
Avocados are known to be a nutrient-dense food, high in monounsaturated fatty acids. Previous studies have suggested that avocados are a cholesterol-lowering food, but this study looks at the health implications of avocados beyond monounsaturated fatty acids.
“Including one avocado each day as part of a moderate-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet compared to a comparable moderate-fat diet without an avocado provides additional LDL (low-density lipoproteins) lowering effects, which benefit CVD risk,” says Penny M. Kris-Etherton, professor of nutrition at Penn State.
Kris-Etherton and colleagues tested three different diets, all designed to lower cholesterol: a lower-fat diet, consisting of 24 percent fat, and two moderate fat diets, with 34 percent fat.
The moderate fat diets were nearly identical, however one diet incorporated one Hass avocado every day while the other used a comparable amount of high oleic acid oils—such as olive oil—to match the fatty acid content of one avocado.
The researchers tested the diets with 45 healthy, overweight adults between the ages of 21 and 70. Compared to the participants’ baseline measurements, all three diets significantly lowered LDL—also known as “bad” cholesterol—as well as total cholesterol.
However, participants experienced an even greater reduction in LDL and total cholesterol while on the avocado diet, compared to the other two diets, the researchers report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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