Eating Avocado Daily May Help Lower Bad Cholesterol: Study

Eating one avocado a day was associated with lower levels of LDL (specifically small, dense LDL particles) and oxidised LDL in adults with overweight or obesity.

Edited by Sushmita Sengupta (with inputs from ANI)  |  Updated: October 29, 2019 11:11 IST

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Eating Avocado Daily May Help Lower Bad Cholesterol: Study

Avocados are very high in healthy fats, carotenoids

Avocado is abound with many health benefits, it is especially considered to be very good for heart, and a latest study attests the same. In a randomised, controlled feeding study, it was observed that eating one avocado a day was associated with lower levels of LDL (specifically small, dense LDL particles) and oxidised LDL in adults with overweight or obesity.

"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, who added that small, dense LDL particles are particularly harmful to promoting plaque buildup in the arteries.

"Consequently, people should consider adding avocados to their diet in a healthy way like on whole-wheat toast or as a veggie dip," added Kris-Etherton. Specifically, the study found that avocados helped reduce LDL particles that had been oxidised. Similar to the way oxygen can damage food -- like a cut apple turning brown -- the researchers said oxidation is also bad for the human body.

"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," continued Kris-Etherton.

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While the fatty fruit can reportedly help lower LDL cholesterol, Kris-Etherton and her colleagues were curious about whether avocados could also help lower oxidised LDL particles.

For the study, the researchers recruited 45 adult participants with overweight or obesity for the study. All participants followed a two-week "run-in" diet at the beginning of the study. This diet mimicked an average American diet. The researchers ensured that the participants began the study on similar nutritional "footing".

Each participant completed five weeks of three different treatment diets in a randomised order. Diets included a low-fat diet, a moderate-fat diet, and a moderate-fat diet that included one avocado a day. Researchers supplemented the moderate-fat diet without avocados with extra healthy fats to match the amount of monounsaturated fatty acids that would be obtained from the avocados.

After five weeks on the avocado diet, it was revealed that the participants had significantly lower levels of oxidised LDL cholesterol than before the study began or after completing the low- and moderate-fat diets. Participants also had higher levels of lutein, an antioxidant, after the avocado diet. Researchers also observed a reduction in small, dense LDL cholesterol particles that had become oxidised.

"When you think about bad cholesterol, it comes packaged in LDL particles, which vary in size," Kris-Etherton said.

"All LDL is bad, but small, dense LDL is particularly bad. A key finding was that people on the avocado diet had fewer oxidised LDL particles. They also had more lutein, which may be bioactive that's protecting the LDL from being oxidised," added Kris-Etherton.

Since the moderate-fat diet without avocados included the same monounsaturated fatty acids found in avocados, it is likely that the fruit has additional bioactive that contributed to the benefits of the avocado diet, the scientists concluded.  The study was published in the -- Journal of Nutrition.

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 "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," Kris-Etherton.

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(This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.)

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