An avocado a day could lower your bad cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a daily avocado could lower your levels of bad cholesterol, according to a new study by Penn State University.
The new study may be music to millennials’ ears, allowing us to justify our excessive avo consumption for the sake of our health.
There are two types of cholesterol: HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which is good, and LDL (low-density lipoprotein), which is bad.
Having high levels of HDL is linked to reduced risk of various diseases, and it actually helps remove LDL from your blood, according to the Mayo Clinic.
LDL is harmful because if it builds up, it can narrow the blood’s passageways, cause clots, and ultimately lead to heart attacks or stroke, the site explains.
An avocado a day could keep LDL at bay
In the new study, researchers found that consuming one avocado daily was linked to lower LDL levels.
It’s worth noting that the sample size was small — the conclusion was drawn following a randomized, controlled trial of 45 overweight and obese people.
For two weeks, they all followed a similar diet designed to reflect that of the average American.
The participants were then randomly split into three groups for five weeks: A third would eat a low-fat diet, a further third would consume a moderate-fat diet, and the final third would follow a moderate-fat diet which incorporated a daily avocado.
The fat levels of those in the middle third was then compared to the level in the daily avocado group.
The researchers found that not only did those who ate the daily avocado have lower LDL levels than before the study, they also had lower levels than the rest of the participants.
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“We were able to show that when people incorporated one avocado a day into their diet, they had fewer small, dense LDL particles than before the diet,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition, as per Science Daily.
“Consequently, people should consider adding avocados to their diet in a healthy way, like on whole-wheat toast or as a veggie dip.”
Specifically, the researchers found that avocados may help reduce oxidized LDL particles, which is important as the researchers say oxidation is linked to further serious conditions.
“A lot of research points to oxidation being the basis for conditions like cancer and heart disease,” Kris-Etherton said.
“We know that when LDL particles become oxidized, that starts a chain reaction that can promote atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of plaque in the artery wall. Oxidation is not good, so if you can help protect the body through the foods that you eat, that could be very beneficial.”
More research needs to be done into the fruit
The researchers note that more work needs to be done in the area.
“Nutrition research on avocados is a relatively new area of study, so I think we’re at the tip of the iceberg for learning about their health benefits,” Kris-Etherton said.
“Avocados are really high in healthy fats, carotenoids — which are important for eye health — and other nutrients. They are such a nutrient-dense package, and I think we’re just beginning to learn about how they can improve health.”