Daily avocados may lower cholesterol

New research suggests a cholesterol reducing diet may cut “bad” cholesterol and improve other heart health indicators.

At last, something rich and creamy has been found to help lower cholesterol. Eating one avocado a day may help improve bad cholesterol in overweight and obese people, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and noted on sciencedaily.com.

This is just the latest healthy power found under the avocado’s black and bumpy skin. Last year, a study suggested avocados enhanced our bodies’ absorption of nutrients in other vegetables when eaten simultaneously. They’ve also been found to possibly thwart the growth of prostate cancer cells.

For this latest study, 45 healthy but overweight or obese patients between the ages 21 and 70 were put on three different cholesterol-lowering diets. Participants ate an average American diet (consisting of 34 percent of calories from fat, 51 percent from carbohydrates, and 16 percent from protein) for two weeks, then were put on one of three cholesterol-lowering diets for five weeks. One was a lower fat diet without avocado, one was a moderate fat diet without avocado and the third was a moderate fat diet with one avocado each day.

The low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad cholesterol” dropped by 13.5 mg/dL for people on the avocado diet, a much more striking reduction than experienced by subjects on the other two diets. The diet seemed to prompt other positive changes as well, including improved total cholesterol, triglycerides, small dense LDL, non-HDL cholesterol and others, according to a release from the American Heart Association.

“This was a controlled feeding study, but that is not the real-world—so it is a proof-of-concept investigation. We need to focus on getting people to eat a heart-healthy diet that includes avocados and other nutrient-rich food sources of better fats,” said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., senior study author and chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania, in the release. She did, however, warn people away from the fattening, salty, corn chips that are so often partnered with avocados.

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