Avocado Health Benefits: One a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

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I absolutely adore avocados. In fact, my breakfast usually consists of half an avocado on toast with olive oil and sea salt. It’s one of those foods that just feels healthy when you’re eating it, which is a good thing considering how many I eat. And new research shows that just adding an avocado to your diet each day can significantly reduce your cholesterol. Let’s look at avocado health benefits.

New research has found that just by eating one avocado per day you can reduce your low density protein (LDL) also known as bad cholesterol. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University, publishing in the Journal of the American Heart Association, followed 45 overweight participants who each agreed to try cholesterol lowering diets.

The participants were divided into three groups, each with a slightly different diet. The first group ate a low fat diet with fruits, low fat poultry, whole grains, and small amounts of red meat. The second group ate a similar diet but with more fats in the form of nuts and oils. And the third group ate a diet with similar macronutrients to the second group but with the addition of one avocado per day added at various meals, according to NPR.

At the end of the study, those eating a daily avocado had significantly reduced their LDL cholesterol when compared to the two other groups.

“I was surprised to see the added benefit [of the avocado],” Penny Kris-Etherton, a nutrition scientist at Penn State and the lead author of the study, said to NPR. “It’s something in the avocado” other than just the fat composition,

This study shows the cardiovascular benefits of avocados but there’s so much more to talk about when it comes to this miracle fruit. Avocado health benefits are wide ranging. Avocados also have 40 percent of your daily fiber, 35 percent RDA of vitamin K, 30 percent folate, 23 percent vitamin B6, 21 percent vitamin E, 21 percent potassium, and 20 percent vitamin C.

Avocados also help promote blood sugar regulation. This means that even though we consider them a higher fat food, they actually keep us from getting fat. They keep us fuller, longer and they keep cravings at bay. Not to mention their anti-cancer benefits especially of the mouth, skin, and prostate.

But don’t go digging into guacamole unless you’re going chip-free. Instead, add sliced avocado to your morning eggs as well as beans and rice, wraps, sandwiches, and so much more.

While the study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Hass, of the popular avocados by the same name, did provide a research grant. However, the study author contends that the results would have been published either way.

“Oh, absolutely!” she told NPR. The agreement was to publish no matter the results. And according to NPR, given the reduction in funds available for research, it’s become increasingly common for researchers to carry out these kinds of industry-supported studies.

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Image: Jennifer

Sara Novak
Sara Novak

Sara Novak is an independent journalist who reports on health, science, yoga, and travel. She was a writer for Discovery Communications from 2006-2013 and her work has been featured on Discovery Health, Popular Science, TLC, Animal Planet, What to Expect, TreeHugger, and many more. She’s also a certified yoga teacher. When she's not churning away on her laptop, she can be found atop her yoga mat or walking the beach with her husband, baby boy, and two lovable cocker spaniels.