Find out the connection between avocado & cholesterol. The Avocado cholesterol diet is beneficial for lowering cholesterol, despite avocado fat content and carbohydrate. The reason is that avocado is a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
Avocado fat is a type of fat that may actually help to raise levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol) which actually protects arteries while lowering levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol).
In case you are not familiar, HDL or the good cholesterol is the one that cleanses the arteries from the LDL or bad cholesterol build-up. So, it flows naturally that when you increase HDL/good cholesterol you also lower LDL/bad cholesterol.
Types of fat and avocado fat.
You need not worry about the avocado content of fat, as this fat is not harmful nor does it increase your cholesterol levels. To distinguish the types of fat, including avocado fat, you need to understand saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Saturated fats are those types of fat that are harmful and increase cholesterol levels. However, monounsaturated fats(avocado fat is of this type) and polyunsaturated fats, are not harmful and do not increase cholesterol levels. On the contrary monounsaturated fat and avocado fat help lower cholesterol.
Avocado cholesterol-lowering effect.
A study in Brisbane, Australia (1) reported that eating avocados daily for three weeks improved blood cholesterol in middle-aged women better than a high complex carbohydrate diet did.
The avocado diet reduced total cholesterol by 8 percent compared with 5 percent for a carbohydrate diet. Most important, avocados did not lower HDL levels which need to be high, but the carbohydrate diet lowered HDL by 14%.
This last fact alone shows that while avocado is effective overall for cholesterol, carbohydrates are not, since lowering HDL, lowers the cholesterol ratio.
And cholesterol ratio is the better predictor of heart disease and heart attack. The lower the ratio the better it is.
The daily amount of avocado ranged from 1/2 avocado for small women to 1 1/2 for large women. Expected outcome: By eating avocados, heart patients could cut their risk of a heart attack by 10-20 percent and death rates by 4-8 percent in 3-5 years.
Why avocado fat lowers cholesterol?
As mentioned above, avocado fat content is the reason to lower cholesterol since it is monounsaturated fat.
Another reason is that avocado packs more cholesterol-smashing beta-sitosterol (a beneficial plant-based fat) than any other fruit. Beta-sitosterol reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. So the combination of beta-sitosterol and monounsaturated fat makes the avocado an excellent cholesterol buster.
Beta-Sitosterol has an apparent ability to block the bad LDL cholesterol absorption from the intestine, resulting in lower blood cholesterol levels. The Australian study not only reported that eating either half or a whole avocado fruit per day for a month succeeded in lowering cholesterol levels, but at the same time most people in the study lost weight.
What is beta-sitosterol?
A phytosterol or plant alcohol is literally in every vegetable we eat. We already eat this every day but we just don’t get enough of it. The typical American is estimated to eat only 200-400 mg a day while vegetarians probably eat about twice this much. This is surely one of the many reasons vegetarians are healthier and live longer.
There are over 50 published medical and clinical studies done on humans and animals since the 1950s with beta-sitosterol. All of these were stringent scientific studies published in international scientific journals.
These studies establish that beta-sitosterol substantially lowers blood serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels with few or no changes in diet or exercise. Reductions of up to 50% have been reported.
Just to give you one example. A very interesting study was done at the Center for Human Nutrition in France (2) in that healthy people with normal cholesterol levels were given beta-sitosterol to see if their normal levels could be lowered even further. We always think of studies as using unhealthy people with pathological cholesterol levels given supplements to make them normal again.
Amazingly enough, healthy people lowered their normal cholesterol levels even more with no change in diet or exercise. In fact, they were a full 10% lower in only a month. This kind of effect is really fascinating.
They said, “The present results may be of great interest in the prevention of high cholesterol diet-associated risks, especially in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Since beta-sitosterol was so effective for people who didn’t even need it, think about what it will do for those people who do need to lower their blood lipids.
They concluded, “These findings suggest that a significant lowering of plasma total and LDL cholesterol can be affected by a modest dietary intake of soybean phytosterols.”