Eating a heart-healthy diet that includes avocados may lower so-called bad cholesterol among otherwise healthy overweight and obese people, according to a new study.
The findings don’t mean people should simply add avocados to their daily diets. Instead, the study’s senior researcher said, the results show that avocados incorporated into healthy diets reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
“They shouldn’t just add an avocado to their diet, but it would be good if they incorporated an avocado into a healthy diet,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, who chairs the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and is a nutrition expert at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.
People should be eating a heart-healthy diet to lower the risk of heart disease, write Kris-Etherton and her colleagues in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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.
One earlier trial found that a so-called Mediterranean diet, with monounsaturated fatty acids from extra-virgin olive oil or mixed nuts, cut the risk of major cardiovascular problems like strokes and heart attacks by about 30 percent over five years among older people at an increased risk for those problems, the researchers note.
Avocados are another source of monounsaturated fatty acids, but they also have several other beneficial components, such as vitamins, minerals and fiber, the researchers point out.