The Journal of the American Heart Association has published research showing that eating a daily avocado may help lower LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
The fruit is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids which help to reduce the build up of LDLs thus helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.
45 overweight patients were given three different diets: meals were either low fat with no avocado, moderate fat with no avocado or moderate fat with an added avocado every day.
Although none of the participants lost any weight they all experienced reduced cholesterol levels with those eating the daily avocado reducing their LDLs by 13 points as opposed to an average of 5 points with the other diets.
Penny Kris-Etherton, chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee said, “In the past, we used to substitute carbohydrate for saturated fat, and that would result in a low-fat diet,”
“Now we’re seeing that it’s better for people to have good fats in their diet at the expense of saturated fat. And so the current message is to replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat, and in so doing, consume a moderate-fat diet, not too much, and also not too little”.
In previous studies, avocadoes were shown to increase HDL (high density lipoproteins) which helps to transport LDL back to the liver for further processing and guard against atherosclerosis – damage to the artery wall.
Packed full of goodness
Avocados contain the beneficial fats oleic acid, palmitotleic acid as well as the omega 6 essential fatty acid linoleic acid. These ‘good’ fats help to keep you feeling fuller and satisfied for longer when added into the diet.
They are very rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals and packed with plant nutrients – phytosterols and polyphenols which have antioxidant benefits.
They are a source of Vitamins A, E and K and provide the minerals iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. They are also a rich source of potassium which helps to regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
I am always happy to eat an avocado on its own because I love the subtle flavour and texture but if you need to jazz it up a bit then the Mexican dip guacamole is a great way of doing so.
There are lots of different recipes for this but I like the Hairy Bikers one which is found on the www.bbc.co.uk/food:
- 4 mild chillies finely chopped
- bunc coriander chopped
- 2 tomatoes finely chopped
- salt to taste
- 1 onion finely chopped
- ½ lime juice only
- 3 ripe avocadoes
- In a pestle and mortar, pound the chillies, coriander, tomatoes, salt and onion to a fine paste.
- Add a little water and lime juice to make a looser mixture. Mash in the avocados. Serve.