New research finds that eating an avocado per day, as part of an overall diet rich in healthy fats, may help cut the bad kind cholesterol, known as LDL.
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University recruited 45 overweight participants who agreed to try three different types of cholesterol-lowering diets. Their study was published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
One was a low-fat diet that included lots of fruits, low-fat dairy, poultry, whole grains and small amounts of red meat.
The other two diets were moderately high in fat, with about 34 percent of total calories consumed per day coming from fat. The types of foods and meals were similar to the low-fat diet, but included more nuts and oils.
One of the moderately high-fat diets included a daily serving of one avocado.
In one sample meal plan, lunch was chicken salad with half an avocado, and dinner included turkey tacos with another half an avocado.
The diets were similar in terms of macronutrients (like protein and fats) and calories. The only difference between the two was the avocado — the other diet had the same amount of fat from other sources.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that the avocado diet led to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol, compared with the other two diets.