Eating an avocado a day can lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, a new study has claimed.
One avocado a day as part of a heart healthy, cholesterol-lowering moderate-fat diet can help improve bad cholesterol levels in overweight and obese individuals, researchers said.
Researchers evaluated the effect avocados had on traditional and novel cardiovascular risk factors by replacing saturated fatty acids from an average American diet with unsaturated fatty acids from avocados.
Forty-five healthy, overweight or obese patients between the ages of 21 and 70 were put on three different cholesterol-lowering diets.
Participants consumed an average American diet (consisting of 34 per cent of calories from fat, 51 per cent carbohydrates, and 16 per cent protein) for two weeks prior to starting one of the following cholesterol lowering diets: lower fat diet without avocado, moderate-fat diet without avocado, and moderate-fat diet with one avocado per day.
The two moderate fat diets both provided 34 per cent of calories as fat (17 per cent of calories from monounsaturated fatty acids/MUFAs), whereas the lower fat diet provided 24 per cent of calories as fat (11 per cent from MUFAs).
Each participant consumed each of the three test diet for five weeks. Participants were randomly sequenced through each of the three diets.
Compared to the baseline average American diet, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – the so called ‘bad cholesterol’ – was 13.5 mg/dL lower after consuming the moderate fat diet that included an avocado.
LDL was also lower on the moderate fat diet without the avocado (8.3 mg/dL lower) and the lower fat diet (7.4 mg/dL lower), though the results were not as striking as the avocado diet.
Several additional blood measurements were also more favourable after the avocado diet versus the other two cholesterol-lowering diets as well: total cholesterol, triglycerides, small dense LDL, non-HDL cholesterol and others.
These measurements are all considered to be cardio-metabolic risk factors in ways that are independent of the heart-healthy fatty acid effects, said Penny M Kris-Etherton, senior study author and Professor of Nutrition at Pennsylvania State University.
The research was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.