An avo a day keeps the doctor away

By: Information Source - Science Daily

The other day my doctor informed me that I had high cholesterol. As someone who prides herself in eating a healthy diet I felt like I'd failed an exam, however further blood tests revealed the cholesterol reading was high because my levels of HDL cholesterol - the good stuff - were high.

Phew! Had the reading of LDL cholesterol been high it would have been cause for concern. According to the researchers, LDL cholesterol can refer small, dense LDL particles, and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Neither are good. The small dense LDL particles are particularly bad in contributing to the build-up of plaque in the arteries and the oxidation of the particles causes a chain reaction leading to further build up: The result is heart disease.

Now research has discovered a simple way to reduce both these types of bad cholesterol and that's by eating one whole avocado a day. It's a pretty simple fix that also solves the problem of what to do with the cut avocado to prevent it becoming brown.

Researchers recruited 45 overweight or obese adults who for the first 2 weeks ate a typical American diet. For the following 5 weeks the group was divided into three; Group one ate a low-fat diet, group two a moderate fat diet and group 3, a moderate fat diet which included one avocado a day. Importantly, group two on the moderate fat diet were supplemented with extra healthy fats to match the amount of monounsaturated fatty acids that would be obtained from the avocados.

After five weeks, participants in group 3 on the avocado diet, had significantly lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol compared to their levels at the start of the study, and those of the other two groups who completed the low- and moderate-fat diets. Those on the avocado diet also had higher levels of the antioxidant lutein which researchers believe may be the bioactive ingredient that protects the LDL from being oxidized.

"A lot of research points to oxidation being the basis for conditions like cancer and heart disease," researcher 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. "

The researchers also noted that because the moderate-fat diet without avocados included the same monounsaturated fatty acids found in avocados, it is likely that the fruit has additional bio-actives that contributed to the benefits of the avocado diet.

And so, despite this being a small study there are clear benefits to adding an avocado to your daily diet. It's a great source of heart-protecting fat with many delicious benefits beyond.

Penn State. "One avocado a day helps lower 'bad' cholesterol for heart healthy benefits." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2019. .


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