Avocado-lovers rejoice, as new research finds that eating an avocado per day may help cut LDL (the bad kind of cholesterol).
At the start of a new year, we usually take a look at our lifestyles and (hopefully) complete an inventory on what can be improved and what’s not working so well. And luckily, the remedies and changes don’t always have to be drastic or unpleasant.
For example, NPR reports on new research which has found that eating an avocado per day, as part of a healthy diet, may actually help cut down the bad kind of cholesterol, known as LDL. Recently, researchers at Pennsylvania State University tested three different types of cholesterol-lowering diets on 45 overweight participants aged between 21 and 70 .
One was a low-fat diet that included lots of fruits, low-fat dairy, poultry, whole grains and small amounts of red meat. The other two diets were moderately high in fat, with about 34 percent 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.
In one sample meal plan, lunch was chicken salad with half an avocado, and dinner included turkey tacos with another half an avocado. These two diets were very similar with the only difference between the two being the humble avocado. At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the eating plan that contained the avocados led to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol, compared with the other two diets. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and the final result was a 13.5 mg/dL drop in LDL cholesterol which is significant. In addition to monounsaturated fatty acids, avocados also provide fiber, phytosterols, and other compounds that may have had something to do with the results.
“This was a controlled feeding study, but that is not the real-world – so it is a proof-of-concept investigation,” said senior study author Penny M. Kris-Etherton. “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.”
However, the researcher was not expecting the results. “I was surprised to see the added benefit [of the avocado],” says Kris-Etherton. “It’s something in the avocado” other than just the fat composition, she says.
Either way, we’re definitely not complaining, as the avocado is a delicious addition to any meal. And now that we know it’s also a cholesterol-lowering force of nature, we won’t feel any guilt ordering a side of avocado with everything.
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