Add An Avocado Lower Your Cholesterol
Just an avocado a day can significantly lower your cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, a new study shows.
Avocados are rich in so-called healthy fats and other nutrients and the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, shows the creamy fruit can work within weeks to lower cholesterol.
Just like olive oil and nuts, avocados have plaque-busting monounsaturated fatty acids, and the effects seem similar to all the benefits from a Mediterranean diet, the researchers said.
And its one more piece of evidence in favor of adding good fats to the diet.
In the past, we used to substitute carbohydrate for saturated fat, and that would result in a low-fat diet, said Penny Kris-Etherton, chair of the American Heart Associations Nutrition Committee and distinguished professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University.
Now we’re seeing that it’s better for people to have good fats in their diet at the expense of saturated fat. And so the current message is to replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat, and in so doing, consume a moderate-fat diet, not too much, and also not too little, Kris-Etherton told NBC News.
Kris-Etherton and colleagues did an intensive study with 45 typical Americans all overweight or obese, but with healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Everyone spent five weeks on each diet. No one lost weight, but their low-density lipoprotein levels changed.
Erika Edwards contributed to this story
Healthy Eating Tips To Lower Cholesterol
As well as sticking to a varied and healthy diet, try these tips to help you manage your cholesterol:
- Limit takeaway foods to once a week .
- Limit salty, fatty and sugary snack foods to once a week .
- Eat plenty of vegetables aim for 5 serves of vegetables every day. .
- Choose wholegrain breads, cereal, pasta, rice and noodles.
- Snack on plain, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit .
- Include legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, split peas), beans into at least two meals a week. Check food labels and choose the lowest sodium products.
- Use spreads and margarines made from healthy unsaturated fats instead of those made with saturated fat .
- Use healthy oils for cooking some include canola, sunflower, soybean, olive , sesame and peanut oils.
- Use salad dressings and mayonnaise made from oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean, olive , sesame and peanut oils.
- Include 2 or 3 serves of plant-sterol-enriched foods every day .
- Have 2 to 3 portions of oily fish every week. Fish may be fresh, frozen or canned.
- Include up to 7 eggs every week.
- Select lean meat and limit unprocessed red meat to less than 350g per week.
- Choose reduced fat, no added sugar milk, yoghurt, or calcium-added non-dairy food and drinks.
- Limit or avoid processed meats including sausages and deli meats .
If you are having trouble with your cholesterol levels, a dietitian can help you to eat healthily for your specific needs.
Do Avocados Have Cholesterol
People might choose not to eat avocados due to a mistaken assumption that they contain a lot of cholesterol. In fact, while they have a high fat content, avocados do not contain any dietary cholesterol whatsoever. While a one-third serving of a medium avocado has 80 calories, including 8 grams of fat, there is no cholesterol at all. Even though the high fat content might seem disconcerting, most of the fats in avocados can be considered “good fats.” They contribute 6g of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat per serving.
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The Avocado Effect On High Cholesterol
Where do avocados come in? A small study in the Journal of the American Heart Association provides evidence of potent cholesterol-lowering benefits from avocados. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, healthy fats that have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol associated with coronary atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Could eating avocados be part of a cholesterol-lowering strategy in people with high cholesterol and at risk for heart disease?
Researchers studied 45 people who were considered overweight to obese and had high cholesterol. The participants were treated with three diets thought to be helpful in reducing cholesterol:
- A general low-fat diet containing 24 percent of calories from fat.
- A moderate-fat diet of 34 percent fat that included one fresh avocado per day .
- A moderate-fat diet with 34 percent fat, but that used high-oleic acid oils to match that fatty acids provided by the avocado like olives, for example.
The researchers used the second moderate-fat diet to determine whether a supplement that contains an extract of what we believe makes avocado heart-healthy would be as effective as avocado itself. Participants were on each diet for five weeks. They would then go back to their usual routine for two weeks before starting the next diet. The order in which they tried each diet was randomized.
The effect of the diets on different types of cholesterol were quite interesting and encouraging:
Avocados Help Lower Cholesterol In Some People
Eating one per day as part of a certain heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering diet can help improve “bad” LDLcholesterol levelsin people who are overweight or obese, according to a small study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Cholesterol is a type of fat made by the body. Itâs key for good health. But high levels, often caused by an unhealthy diet, can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke. Being overweight raises your risk of having high LDL levels.
Avocados are a source of monounsaturated fat, which is good for you when eaten in moderation. They’re also rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, compounds that block cholesterol absorption in the body , and antioxidants that can play a role in preventing cancer and heart disease .
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One Avocado A Day Helps Lower ‘bad’ Cholesterol For Heart Healthy Benefits
- Penn State
- New research suggests that eating one avocado a day may help keep ‘bad cholesterol’ at bay. According to the researchers, bad cholesterol can refer to both oxidized low-density lipoprotein and small, dense LDL particles.
Move over, apples — new research from Penn State suggests that eating one avocado a day may help keep “bad cholesterol” at bay.
According to the researchers, bad cholesterol can refer to both oxidized low-density lipoprotein and small, dense LDL particles.
In a randomized, controlled feeding study, the researchers found that eating one avocado a day was associated with lower levels of LDL and oxidized 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 for 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.”
Specifically, the study found that avocados helped reduce LDL particles that had been oxidized. 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.
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Myth #: Cholesterol Is Cholesterol
While cholesterol is an actual molecule, what it is bound to, while it’s floating through your blood is what’s more important – than just how much of it there is overall. In fact, depending on what it’s combined with can have opposite effects on your arteries and heart. Yes, opposite!
So cholesterol is just one component of a compound that floats around your blood. These compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called lipoproteins.
They’re grouped into two main categories:
- HDL: High Density Lipoprotein that cleans up some of those infamous arterial plaques and transports cholesterol back to the liver.
- LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein that transports cholesterol from the liver .
And yes, it is even more complicated than this. Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test.
So cholesterol isn’t simply cholesterol because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecules it’s bound to in your blood, as well as their size and type and what it is actually doing there.
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Does The Avocado Have Any Other Heart Benefits
Absolutely. Note that the avocado contains a lot of fat, but its good fat. Thats important to understand. It contains a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, found in olive oil as well, which is an excellent anti-inflammatory. Fighting inflammation in your heart or anywhere else in your body is an important component of good health.
Avocados can also lower triglyceride levels, another risk factor for heart disease and stroke along with high cholesterol.
They also contain a host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help fight off free radicals, precursors to a variety of health conditions. They can help give you a sense of fullness, which minimizes your risk of being overweightthis in turn benefits your heart as it doesnt have to work as hard.
Specific nutrients like potassium and lutein can help stabilize blood pressure, helping you avoid hypertension, another precursor to heart disease.
How To Choose A Good Avocado
On to the guacamole and the first job: picking the perfect avocados at the grocery store. Some people find this task somewhat daunting. Avocados tend to have a short period of time where they are perfect suited for eating . . . that stage between overripe and unripe. But honestly, its not as hard as it seems.
Choose avocados that are firm, but yield to gentle pressure. They shouldnt be too soft or too hard. And they should still have the belly button, the stem end, intact. Look for those a little darker in color, but not too dark. And think of your timing. When are you going to use the avocado? If its not for a few days, pick one thats more on the green, or unripe side. If youre using it that day, find one thats already ripe. Most of all, practice makes perfect. After youve shopped for them a few times, youll know what youre looking for.
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Food Supplements That Do Not Help With Cholesterol
Many extracts and supplements have been promoted for their overall health benefits and lipid-lowering effects, but do they work?
We reviewed the available scientific research and found that the following supplements had no good evidence to support those claims:
Selenium: Supplements may help lower cholesterol in people with low levels of selenium, but not in people with normal levels of selenium. There is not enough scientific evidence to say that selenium protects against cardiovascular disease.
Calcium: Results here are mixed, but the bottom line is calcium supplementation does not improve cholesterol levels.
Garlic supplements: Raw, powdered, and aged garlic supplements had no effect on cholesterol levels.
Policosanol: This substance, which is extracted from sugar cane wax, did not improve cholesterol.
Coconut oil supplements: There is mixed evidence about the cardiovascular benefits or harm of coconut oil. It is not an evidence-based alternative treatment for high cholesterol levels.
Coconut water: There is no high-quality data about coconut water improving cholesterol levels.
Resveratrol supplements: There is no evidence that these improve cholesterol levels in humans.
Soy isoflavones supplements: Taking supplements of soy isoflavones does not improve cholesterol levels.
Avocados Do Not Contain Cholesterol
The most important thing that you need to know about avocados is that they do not contain any cholesterol at all. Thats right, zilch, zero cholesterol. All cholesterol comes from food derived from animal sources and none from plant sources.
No plant-based food contains cholesterol, and that means that you may eat as much fruit and vegetables, including avocado, as you like and it will not increase your cholesterol levels, at least your bad cholesterol levels.
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Foods That Lower Cholesterol
A persons diet plays a crucial role in how healthy their cholesterol levels are. Eating foods that keep cholesterol within a healthy range can help prevent health issues, including a heart attack or stroke.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that travels through the bloodstream as a part of two different lipoproteins: low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein .
People sometimes refer to LDL cholesterol as bad cholesterol because it causes fatty deposits to build up in the blood vessels. These deposits can block blood flow and cause heart attacks or strokes.
HDL, or good, cholesterol helps remove cholesterol from the body through the liver. High levels of HDL cholesterol can reduce the risk of heart problems and strokes.
Cutting Back On Carbs Not Fat May Lead To More Weight Loss
In one sample meal plan, lunch was chicken salad with half an avocado, and dinner included turkey tacos with another half an avocado.
The diets were similar in terms of macronutrients and calories. The only difference between the two was the avocado the other diet had the same amount of fat from other sources.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that the avocado diet led to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol, compared with the other two diets.
To put the difference in perspective, the avocado diet decreased LDL cholesterol about 14 milligrams per deciliter of blood. Compare that with a decrease of about 7 mg/dL for the low-fat diet, and about a 8 mg/dl drop from the moderate-fat diet.
“I was surprised to see the added benefit ,” Penny Kris-Etherton, a nutrition scientist at Penn State and the lead author of the study, tells us.” It’s something in the avocado” other than just the fat composition, she says.
She says she’d like to do follow-up research to look at the bioactive compounds in avocados, which may explain the added reduction in LDL cholesterol in the study participants. It’s also possible that the fiber in avocados plays a role in the cholesterol-lowering effect, she says.
But one caveat for anyone who loves guacamole: When it’s served up with chips, the calories can add up. A mere half-cup of guacamole has about 200 calories all on its own.
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Cholesterol And Healthy Eating
What we eat has an impact on our cholesterol levels and can help reduce our risk of disease. Try to eat a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups. Not only does this help to maintain a healthy and interesting diet, but it provides essential nutrients to the body.
The Heart Foundation recommends:
- Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
- A variety of healthy protein sources , legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure it is lean and limit to 1-3 times a week.
- Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. Those with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
- Healthy fat choices nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
- Herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.
Also, be mindful on how much you are eating and whether you are filling up on unhealthy foods. Portion sizes have increased over time and many of us are eating more than we need which can lead to obesity and increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Ideally, a healthy plate would include servings of ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates and ½ vegetables.
Serving size can vary depending on age, gender and specific nutrition needs.
Avocados Have Many Vitamins And Antioxidants These
Avocados also have many enzymes and vitamins that are good for your health such as vitamin C and E, potassium, and many antioxidants. Also, they are very high in natural fiber with about 7% of their overall content being fiber. Fiber turns to a paste like material in the colon and acts as a sort of sponge to soak up excess cholesterol, and this is another way that avocados can help to lower your cholesterol.
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What Is Hdl Cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein is a protective form of cholesterol that carries bad cholesterol away from the arteries and into the liver where it can be broken down and eliminated from the body.
When your HDL is high60 milligrams per deciliter or higheryour risk of heart attack or heart disease is lower. When your HDL is lowfor women less than 50 mg/dl, for men less than 40 mg/dlyour chances of having a heart attack or heart disease are increased.
Here are several types of foods you should consider eating more often to raise your HDL and lower your LDL.
American Heart Association News Stories
American Heart Association News covers heart disease, stroke and related health issues. Not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association.
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