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.
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.