Doctors often tell their patients to keep bad cholesterol levels down by exercising and eating fruits and vegetables. But a new study shows that what might help the most is the consumption of avocados.
Reuters reports on the new study.
The new data shows that eating avocados could substantially help you in bringing down your LDL (bad cholesterol). But this does not mean that one should stop eating healthily, rather it means that incorporating avocados into a healthy diet was the most helpful way to reduce LDL levels.
Dr. Etherton, chairman of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, authored the study.
She said, “Only 5 to 6 percent of calories should come from saturated fatty acids, which are found in foods like butter, fatty meat and cheese. Instead of saturated fats, people should substitute polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.”
Another type of diet, the Mediterranean diet, is also said to be helpful. Researchers said this diet is full of monounsaturated fatty acids from extra-virgin olive oil or mixed nuts. They found that it truncated the risk of major cardiovascular problems like strokes and heart attacks by around 30 percent over five years among older people at an increased risk for those problems.
Avocados are also helpful, because they are a source of monounsaturated fatty acids. The researchers point out that in addition to this they also have several other beneficial components, such as vitamins, minerals and fiber.
How was the new study conducted?
Reuters explains, “For the new study, they assigned 45 otherwise healthy overweight and obese people between ages 21 and 70 to one of three diets aimed at reducing cholesterol, which can collect in the arteries as plaque. Participants ate a regular American diet for the two weeks before starting the cholesterol-lowering diets. Then they followed either a low-fat diet without avocado, a moderate-fat diet without avocado or a moderate-fat diet with one avocado added every day.”
What were the results?
The researchers found that after two weeks on an American diet, the average LDL cholesterol, which is the type that collects in the arteries, was around 128 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The U.S. National Institutes of Health say an LDL level below 100 mg/dL is actually perfect. After five weeks of the assigned diets, average LDL levels had fallen by 7.4 mg/dL in the low-fat without avocado group and 8.3 mg/dL in the moderate-fat without avocado group.
But the control group that ate avocados did far better. Participants on the moderate-fat diet with avocado had the greatest change in bad cholesterol. The researchers found that their LDL level fell by 13.5 mg/dL.
Dr. Etherton said, “A 13.5 mg/dL reduction in LDL cholesterol may be enough keep people from going on cholesterol-lowering medications. The reduction isn’t nearly as large as what people would see with modern drugs for cholesterol, however. A healthy diet works, but there are some added benefits from including the avocado.”
CBS news also reported on the study.
“The CDC, lowering your cholesterol can reduce your risk of having a heart attack, needing heart bypass surgery or angioplasty, and dying of heart disease. About 71 million American adults have high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad, cholesterol,” according to CBS.
The researchers are suggesting that people take a good look at their diets and see where they can make changes. They are also advising that people add fruits and nuts to their regular diets as these have properties similar to avocadoes.