Will Avocado help lower your Cholesterol?

01/08/2015 - Kendra Hooks

A new study published by the American Heart Association suggests that eating a heart-healthy diet that includes Avocado can provide great health benefits, specifically in terms of cholesterol.  When discussing cholesterol, you may have heard your physician mention your HDL and LDL levels.  HDLs, high-density lipoproteins, carry cholesterol from tissues throughout the body to the liver so that it can be eliminated in the bile.  Because they help to get the cholesterol out of the body, they are considered to be the “good-cholesterol”.  On the other hand, LDLs, low-density lipoproteins, transport cholesterol from the liver to the tissues of the body.  High amounts of LDL tend to deposit into the walls of the arteries, leading to plaque growth and atherosclerosis, giving it the nickname “bad-cholesterol”.  When choosing a cholesterol-friendly diet, you want to choose foods that will increase the HDL and decrease the level of LDLs within your blood. 

The study took 45 overweight and obese people between the ages 21 and 70 and assigned them one of three diets aimed at reducing cholesterol:  A low-fat diet (no avocado), a moderate-fat diet (no avocado), and a moderate-fat diet with one avocado added per day.  Prior to beginning the diet change, LDL levels among the participants were averaged to be about 128mg/dL.  According to the National Institutes of Health, the ideal LDL level is below 100mg/dL, so there was plenty of room for improvement.  After five weeks into the assigned diets, LDL levels had fallen by 7.4mg/dL in the low-fat without avocado group, 8.3mg/dL in the moderate-fat without avocado group, and a surprising 13.5mg/dL decrease was seen in the group with a moderate-fat with avocado group. 

What does this mean?  When avocado is added into a healthy diet, it has the potential to lower your cholesterol.  This does not mean that you should go on an avocado-only diet for 30 days because it will not help.  It is important to realize that avocado’s have a large amount of fat.  Luckily, a majority of the fats found in avocados are monounsaturated fatty acids and they also contain other beneficial components such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  While the benefits are evident, you must be careful in the way you consume avocado.  While tortilla chips and guacamole may now seem like the ideal snack, you must take into consideration the high amount of calories and sodium within those chips.  This is a great opportunity to learn new light recipes that use avocado as a prominent ingredient.  For different recipe ideas refer to the “Recipes” tab on this site or take a look at the following links:

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/healthy_low_cholesterol_recipes

http://www.bhg.com/recipes/healthy/low-cholesterol/recipes-that-help-lower-cholesterol/

To view the full story:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287626.php

Information provided by Medical News Today and the American Heart Association

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