One avocado in your daily diet can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, as avocados are known to be a nutrient-dense food, high in monounsaturated fatty acids, claims a new study.
Previous studies have suggested that avocados are a cholesterol-lowering food, but this is the first study - to the researchers' knowledge - to look at health implications of avocados beyond monounsaturated fatty acids.
Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition said that one avocado each day as part of a moderate-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet compared to a comparable moderate-fat diet without an avocado provides additional LDL (low-density lipoproteins) lowering affects, which benefit CVD risk.
Kris-Etherton and colleagues tested three different diets, all designed to lower cholesterol: a lower-fat diet, consisting of 24 percent fat, and two moderate fat diets, with 34 percent fat.
The researchers tested the diets with 45 healthy, overweight adults between the ages of 21 and 70. Compared to the participants' baseline measurements, all three diets significantly lowered LDL -- also known as bad cholesterol -- as well as total cholesterol. However, participants experienced an even greater reduction in LDL and total cholesterol while on the avocado diet, compared to the other two diets, the researchers report today (Jan. 7) in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The avocado diet decreased bad cholesterol by 13.5 mg/dL, while LDL was decreased by 8.3 mg/dL on the moderate-fat diet and by 7.4 mg/dL on the low-fat diet.
Kris-Etherton said using avocados as a condiment was a great way to incorporate avocados into meals - for instance, putting a slice or two on a sandwich or using chopped avocado in a salad or to season vegetables.
The researchers noted that further research will need to be conducted with a larger and more diverse study sample and to explore further how high-density lipoproteins - good cholesterol - might be affected by a diet that includes avocados.