avocado cholesterol
Eating avocado did not lead to weight gain but can lower bad cholesterol and increase the quality of the diet. 

Avocado a nutritional food that also has some unhealthy saturated fats, has made its way onto our plates and into our hearts, both figuratively and literally. But how good is it, actually? A new study found that eating one avocado a day for six months brings down unhealthy cholesterol levels and improved the overall quality of diets during the study period.

The Question is Why is avocado good for you?

Avocados may have a range of health benefits, including improving digestion, decreasing the risk of depression, and protecting against cancer.

A diet that contains a variety of fruits and vegetables can provide numerous health benefitsTrusted Source. It may, for example, reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and weight moderation.

Here are 12 reasons why avocados can contribute to a healthy diet:

1. Rich in nutrients
Avocados are a source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Avocados contain high levels of healthy, beneficial fats, which can help a person feel fullerTrusted Source between meals. Eating fat slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Roughly half an avocado, or 100 grams (g), containsTrusted Source:
  • 160 calories
  • 14.7 g of fat
  • 8.5 g of carbohydrates
  • 6.7 g of fiber
  • less than 1 g of sugar
Fat is essential for every single cell in the body. Eating healthy fats supports skin health, enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and even helps supportTrusted Source the immune system.

2. Healthy for the heart
In every 100 g of avocado there are 76 milligramsTrusted Source of a natural plant sterol called beta sitosterol. Regularly consuming beta sitosterol and other plant sterols may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, which are important for heart health.

3. Great for vision
Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthinTrusted Source, two phytochemicals present in eye tissue. They provide antioxidant protection to help minimize damage, including from UV light.

The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados also support the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta carotene. As a result, adding avocados to the diet may help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

4. May help prevent osteoporosis
Half an avocado provides approximately 18%Trusted Source of the daily value of vitamin K.

This nutrient is often overlooked but is essential for bone health. Taking in enough vitamin K can support bone health by increasing calcium absorption and reducing the urinary excretion of calcium.

5. Components may prevent cancer
Studies have not yet assessed a direct link between avocado consumption and a reduction in cancer risk. However, avocados do contain compounds that may help prevent the onset of some cancers.

ResearchTrusted Source has associated an optimal intake of folate with a reduced risk of developing colon, stomach, pancreatic, and cervical cancers. However, the mechanism behind this association remains unclear. Half of an avocado contains roughly 59 mcgTrusted Source of folate, 15% of the daily value.

Avocados also contain high levels of phytochemicals and carotenoids, which may have anticancer properties. StudiesTrusted Source have shown that carotenoids, specifically, may protect against cancer progression.

A 2013 reviewTrusted Source highlighted the potential benefits of avocado consumption in relation to breast, oral, and throat cancers. However, these associations are typically the result of test tube studies, not controlled human trials. Further research is necessary to confirm these associations.

6. Supporting fetal health
Folate is important for a healthy pregnancy. Adequate intake reduces the risk of miscarriage and neural tube abnormalities. Consume at least 600 micrograms (mcg)Trusted Source of folate per day when pregnant. One avocado may contain as much as 160 mcgTrusted Source.

Avocados also contain fatty acids that are integralTrusted Source to a healthy diet and fetal development.

7. Reducing depression risk
Avocados are a good source of folateTrusted Source, which plays an important role in overall dietary health. Studies have also found links between low folate levels and depression.

Folate helps prevent the buildup of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. Reviews of past researchTrusted Source have linked excess homocysteine with cognitive dysfunction, depression, and the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.

8. Improving digestion
Avocados are high in fiber, containing approximately 6–7 gTrusted Source per half fruit.

Eating foods with natural fiber can help prevent constipation, maintain digestive tract health, and lower the risk of colon cancer.

9. Natural detoxification
Adequate fiber promotes regular bowel movements, which are crucial for the excretion of toxins through the bile and stool.

Studies Trusted Source have shown that dietary fiber also promotes good gut health and microbial diversity. This helps the body maintain a healthy bacterial balance. This can reduce inflammation and aggravation of the digestive tract.

10. Osteoarthritis relief
Avocados, soy, and some other plant foods contain saponins. These substances may have a positive effect on knee and hip osteoarthritis symptoms. However, researchers have not yet confirmed the long-term effects of saponins in people with osteoarthritis.

11. Antimicrobial action
Avocados and avocado oil contain substances that have antimicrobial properties. Research shows that avocado seed extracts can help defend the body against both Streptococcus agalactiae and Staphylococcus aureus infections, for example.

12. Protection from chronic disease
The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados may be beneficial in preventing chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease.

Meanwhile, researchTrusted Source suggests that an optimal intake of fiber may reduce the risk of stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases, and avocados are rich in fiber.

The right fiber intake can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance weight loss for people with obesity.

Cholesterol and Avocados’ Nutritional Value

People can get cholesterol from food, but the body also makes cholesterol. There are two main typesTrusted Source of cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). It is essential to keep cholesterol levels, in particular LDL (sometimes called “bad” cholesterol) levels, below a certain amount to prevent adverse health outcomes like stroke or coronary artery disease.

Benefits of an Avocado a Day

The study in question was a randomized trial and examined the health benefits of eating one avocado daily over six months. 

Researchers wanted to see if eating a daily avocado helped people to reduce visceral adiposity in participants with an elevated waist circumference (“a waist circumference of ≥35 inches for women and ≥40 inches for men”).

They also looked at the impact on several other health outcomes, including cholesterol levels, body weight, body mass index, and health-related quality of life.

To be included in the study, participants had to have an elevated waist circumference and regular consumption of two or fewer avocados per month. 

The intervention group (505 participants) consumed one avocado daily, while the control group (503 participants) continued their typical diet. 

Researchers collected data about dietary intake at the start of the study and at 8, 16, and 26 weeks and used MRI scans to look at levels of visceral adipose tissue or the body fat that lines abdominal organs.

Researchers found that there weren’t many significant differences between the control and intervention groups. The exception was in cholesterol levels. The intervention group had lower total cholesterol levels and lower “bad” cholesterol levels.

There were also slight differences in diet between the two groups, with the intervention group having higher healthy eating index scores. The intervention group took in higher levels of fiber and fat and lower levels of carbohydrates and protein.

In addition, researchers also found no significant differences between the groups regarding weight gain, indicating that incorporating a daily avocado did not contribute to weight gain.

It’s fair to say that avocados have become a growingly popular food, with people slicing it to layer on top of toast or blending the creamy fruit in smoothies. 

It has become a true staple in kitchens around the world — and for good reason. Avocados bring a wide range of health benefits and are also a versatile ingredient when cooking.

A 100-gram serving of avocado has 485 milligrams of potassium and about seven grams of fiber. Foods with more fiber keep us satiated longer than low-fiber foods, making avocados a good choice for people who are watching their weight. Avocado is also rich in folate, a B vitamin important for brain function and healthy pregnancies.

For this new study, researchers at Penn State did a six-month experiment involving over 1,000 participants experiencing overweight or obesity. 

Half were told to eat an avocado every day while the other half kept their usual diet, limiting avocado consumption to less than two a month. Fat in the abdomen was measured before and after the study.

The study found that eating avocados daily improved the overall quality of the participants’ diets by eight points on a 100-point scale. Additionally, the study showed daily avocados resulted in total cholesterol-lowering 2.9 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and LDL cholesterol (known as the “bad” cholesterol) decreasing 2.5 mg/dL.

For the researchers, there’s still a lot more to learn about avocados and diets. 

For example, participants weren’t told how to eat their avocados each day, and future studies could look at how participants incorporated the avocados into their diets and whether differences in the results are seen based on how the avocados were eaten.

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