Are Avocados Good for Your Heart?
Find out why eating an avocado a day may help to keep the cardiologist away.
Did you know that avocados are a fruit? And that they contain lots of healthy fats, which can be good for your heart?
Avocados are high in total fat, which may lead you to think that they should be avoided if you're concerned about your heart health. But the majority of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated fat, which may help lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol. They also contain lots of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which also help to keep your heart healthier.
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that eating an avocado a day as part of a diet rich in healthy fats significantly helped lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol. The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, involved 45 overweight participants who rotated through three cholesterol-lowering diets in a random order for 5 weeks each, with a 2-week break between each diet.
- One group ate a lower-fat diet (24% fat) that included fruits, low-fat dairy, poultry, whole grains and small amounts of red meat.
- One group ate a moderate-fat diet (34% fat) that included mostly the same types of foods as the lower-fat group, but also included high oleic acid oils, like olive oil, to increase the percentage of fat in the diet.
- One group ate a moderate-fat diet (34% fat) but instead of the olive oil, the group consumed a daily avocado.
The researchers found that all three diets significantly lowered LDL, as well as total cholesterol. But those in the group eating an avocado a day had a greater reduction in LDL than the other two groups. The avocado-a-day group reduced LDL by 13.5 mg/dL, while the other moderate-fat group reduced LDL by 8.3 mg/dL and the lower-fat group reduced LDL by 7.4mg.
This was just a small-scale study and more research needs to be done, but there's no doubt that avocados contain lots of things that are good for your health. So add some avocados to your shopping list for a healthier heart.
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Date Last Reviewed: January 19, 2021
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN