• Heart Health: An Avocado A Day Keeps The Heart Doctor Away

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    Haas Avocado Board

    Adding an avocado to your daily diet may help lower bad cholesterol, in turn reducing risk for heart disease, according to health researchers.

    Avocados are known to be a nutrient-dense food, high in monounsaturated fatty acids. Previous studies have suggested that avocados are a cholesterol-lowering food, but this is the first study — to the researchers' knowledge — to look at health implications of avocados beyond monounsaturated fatty acids.

    Eating one avocado a day as part of a heart healthy, cholesterol-lowering moderate-fat diet can help improve bad cholesterol levels in overweight and obese individuals, according to new research

    Researchers tried to find out what effect avocados had on several risk factors for cardiovascular disease by replacing saturated fatty acids from an average American diet with unsaturated fatty acids from avocados.

    For the study, 45 healthy, overweight or obese patients between the ages of 21 and 70. Participants consumed an average American diet (consisting of 34% of calories from fat, 51% carbohydrates, and 16% protein) for two weeks prior to starting one of three cholesterol lowering diets:a lower fat diet without avocado, moderate-fat diet without avocado, and moderate-fat diet with one avocado per day.

    The two moderate fat diets both provided 34% of calories as fat (17% of calories from monounsaturated fatty acids/MUFAs), whereas the lower fat diet provided 24 percent of calories …

    According to researchers, many heart-healthy diets recommend replacing saturated fatty acids with MUFAs or polyunsaturated fatty acids to reduce the risk of heart disease. This is because saturated fats can increase bad cholesterol levels and raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

    The Mediterranean diet, includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids–like extra-virgin olive oil and nuts. Like avocados, some research indicates that these not only contain better fats but also certain micronutrients and bioactive components that may play an important role in reducing risk of heart disease.

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