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What Is the Connection between Avocado and Cholesterol?

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  • Written By: Helena Reimer
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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Research has shown that there is a positive connection between avocado and cholesterol. This is largely due to the monounsaturated fats that avocado contains. Unlike many saturated fats that increase cholesterol levels, the avocado fats have the ability to naturally lower the levels. Another connection between avocado and cholesterol is beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol that interferes with the absorption of cholesterol in the intestinal tract.

There are basically two types of cholesterol within the bloodstream. One is known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol that is associated with many health problems. The other is known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol that balances the LDL. There is another type of blood fat known as very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), which is primarily made up of triglycerides. The LDL, HDL, and VLDL are all summed up into the total cholesterol count.

Avocados are rich with oleic acid and also contain moderate amounts of omega-3. Many studies that have been done on avocado and cholesterol have shown that the healthy avocado fat is effective for lowering LDL levels. One way that these fats are able to do this is by increasing the HDL levels so that they can begin to work at eliminating LDL cholesterol.

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Studies show that avocados can help to lower triglyceride levels as well. Triglycerides are stored in fat cells and are essential for good health because they are able to supply the body with a constant flow of energy. In excess amounts, however, they can contribute to a high total cholesterol count by raising the VLDL.

Another way that avocados help in lowering cholesterol levels is by interfering with the absorption of cholesterol from the food. This interference is due to beta-sitosterol, which is the plant version of cholesterol. When it is present in the small intestine, it reduces the absorption of LDL cholesterol in this area. This reduced absorption directly links the avocado and cholesterol together because it helps to prevent LDL levels from rising to high.

Other health benefits of avocado include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. This is partially due to the beneficial connection between avocado and cholesterol as high cholesterol levels increase the risk for plaque buildup and other problems surrounding the heart. Avocados also contain folate, which helps to maintain normal levels of homocysteine within the bloodstream. It is an important amino acid that promotes good health when present in moderate amounts. In high amounts, however, it can be damaging to the heart.

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anon355377
Post 8

It is not very helpful to read an article that begins, " Research has shown..." and then see no cite to the "research."

Moderator's reply: The study referred to in this article is the "Effect of a Moderate Fat Diet With and Without Avocados on Lipoprotein Particle Number, Size and Subclasses in Overweight and Obese Adults" published by the Journal of the American Heart Association (2015).

calabama71
Post 7

Avocados are great in guacamole dip. However, if you are like me, you dip that greasy Mexican tortilla chip in it and eat them up! I have started buying the tortilla shells and making homemade chips by baking them instead of deep frying them.

By doing that, it seems a little less of a "food sin" to eat something healthy with something unhealthy. It's kind of like people who order diet coke and then get a greasy burger to go with it. I'm not talking about the diabetics, but you know what I mean.

Mykol
Post 6

I like to read magazine articles and watch TV shows on health and nutrition. I seems like I have heard and read a lot of benefits that come with eating avocados.

The only way I ever used to eat avocados was when I went to a Mexican restaurant and would get guacamole with something I ordered.

Once I realized how nutritious they are, I decided to eat them more often. Now I try to include a couple of avocados a week in my diet.

My cousin who is a commercial beekeeper in California uses his honeybees to pollinate the avocados. He says he can pick them up off the ground and eats one a day. I don't know how low his cholesterol, but he sure stays skinny.

myharley
Post 5

I always enjoy reading articles that talk about the benefits of eating avocados. I didn't always like the taste of avocados, but have acquired a taste for them and find myself craving them sometimes now.

When I had some blood work done a year ago, I was told my cholesterol was too high, and I needed to get it lowered. I didn't want to start on medication if I could lower it by diet and exercise.

I started looking for healthy, low cholesterol foods that I could eat. During my research I kept reading about all the benefits that avocados had. Even though it is not considered a low cholesterol food, it helps lower the cholesterol in your body.

It makes sense that eating whole, natural foods like avocados are so good for our bodies, and can help keep our cholesterol at reasonable levels.

MissDaphne
Post 4

The avocado is just one food that got a bad rap because of "cholesterol." I think it was Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food) who coined the phrase "the lipid hypothesis."

The lipid hypothesis is basically the idea that eating fat, especially saturated fat and cholesterol, is bad for you. But it turns out more and more that that's not the whole picture. Eating margarine instead of butter will, indeed result in less cholesterol in your diet, but it's packed with trans fat - which is quite deadly.

I try to live by Michael Pollan's food rules: Eat food. (Meaning real, whole foods, stuff that your great-grandmother would recognize as food, as opposed to, say, Cheez Whiz.) Not too much. Mostly plants, especially leaves.

serenesurface
Post 3

I believe that a healthy diet and eating foods moderately is key to being healthy.

I found out one year ago that my bad cholesterol was through the roof. I wan't really too surprised considering years of unhealthy snacking and eating lunch out while working. I retired last year and decided that it was high time that I got back to my health.

I started exercising regularly and eating more whole foods, fruits and vegetables. I still eat foods that are generally known to affect cholesterol in a bad way, like avocados, eggs and red meat. But I eat them in moderation. It's great to know that avocados are being recognized to be good for us. Recently, eggs

have been shown to not increase bad cholesterol as well.

But I still think that overdoing it could be bad. I eat red meat once or twice a week and in small portions. I eat eggs once or twice a week and about 2-3 avocados a week. My cholesterol levels are back to normal!

nextcorrea
Post 2

How great to read this article and see the lovely avocado released from its position as the pariah of the fruit world. I think there must have been some bunk study in the 80s which basically blamed avocados for all the nations heart problems. I don't think I saw guacamole at a party for 5 years after that. But as this article points out, and we all should have known all along, fruits and vegetables are good for you. There is no McDonalds that is produced in nature.

whiteplane
Post 1

I know so many people that avoid eating avocados because they consider them to be a fatty and unhealthy food. And while I know that avocados have a higher fat content than lots of fruits and vegetables, it is not drastically higher and as this article mentions there are a number of health benefits related to avocados.

A health diet is all about variety. Eat as many different things as often as you possibly can. For that reason it always kind of bothers me when people refuse to eat something, especially for arbitrary reasons. Just give it a try, it won't kill you. And its a lot better for you than those french fries you always eat.

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