Lower Bad Cholesterol by Eating an Avocado a Day, New Study Suggests

By Sumit Passary | Jan 08, 2015 09:18 AM EST

Eating an avocado a day reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, reveals a new study.

Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at the Pennsylvania State University, who is also the senior author of the study, suggests that nutritionists have come to agree that avocados are rich in nutrients and monounsaturated fatty acids. An avocado-rich diet can come to the rescue of overweight and obese people who want to get rid of bad cholesterol from their body.

The study involved testing three diets that were meant to reduce cholesterol levels in the body: a lower-fat diet, which consisted of 24 percent fat, and two moderate fat diets that included 34 percent fat.

Both the moderate fat diets were very similar but one diet included a Hass avocado each day, while the other diet incorporated a comparable amount of high oleic acid oils like olive oil. Hass avocados are believed to be richer in nutrients compared to Florida avocados.

The study included 45 healthy but overweight participants between 21 and 70 years old. All the participants ate the three diets each for a period of five weeks. They had a break of two weeks in between the diets. The researchers collected blood samples once at the start and another after each diet regime was completed.

All the three diets reduced LDL and total cholesterol in the participants. However, the participants who consumed the avocado diet were reported to have greater decrease in LDL and overall cholesterol in comparison to participants who were on other diets.

Kris-Etherton believes that the finding of the latest study does not mean that including an avocado in the daily diet reduced bad cholesterol. The study highlights that incorporating an avocado per day in healthy diet will help people reduce bad cholesterol.

"We need to focus on getting people to eat a healthy diet that includes avocados and other food sources of better fats," said Kris-Etherton.

The study also points out that in the U.S., avocados are not a mainstream food yet. The fruit can also be expensive at certain times of the year. Many people also do not know how to include an avocado in their daily diet except in the preparation of guacamole. Guacamole, however, is usually consumed along with corn chips that have high sodium and calorie levels. The researchers suggest that avocado can be used in salads, sandwiches, or together with lean protein food, such as fish and chicken. It can even be eaten as whole.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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