Photo: Fresh Avacado

by Manjari Fergusson

Good news: not only are avocados a tasty addition to mealtimes, but new studies indicate the green fruit packs a powerful nutritional punch, particularly for your cardiovascular health. 

In a study by the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee1, 45 Americans who were overweight and obese, but had healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, followed a controlled diet. The team put together three different diets: low-fat without avocado, moderate-fat without avocado, and moderate-fat with one avocado per day. After five weeks, the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) fat, or the “bad cholesterol”, levels got lower for all the diet groups, but especially in the diet with the added avocado. Those on the avocado diet saw their levels drop 13 points or more.

Chock full of good fats that are similar to nuts and olive oil, avocados are high in monounsaturated fatty acids. In addition, avocados contain plenty of fiber, polyphenols and phytosterols, which can aid in lowering cholesterol levels. Natural sugars found in avocados can also help regulate blood sugar levels. Avocados have fiber and minerals like magnesium and potassium, important nutrients that are beneficial for heart and cardiovascular health.

While it’s true that avocados are high in calories, their fat is the good kind, and can help you have a healthier diet by replacing the bad fats. Simple ways to incorporate “avo” into your diet include:

  • Add to sandwiches
  • Mash or sliver as a spread on toast
  • Make into guacamole and other dips
  • Slice them into salads
  • Blend into smoothies
  • Mix or blend into dressings in lieu of mayonnaise.
  • Plain- simply cut an avocado in half, sprinkle it with your favorite seasoning, or lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, chili flakes, or a dash of salt and pepper.

However you choose to eat your avocados, add it to your diet as a way of replacing less-healthy fats.

Footnotes: 

1 “An avocado a day may help keep bad cholesterol at bay,” American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report. http://heartinsight.heart.org/Fall-2015/An-Avocado-a-Day-may-Help-Keep-B...