Researchers found that people who consumed an avocado daily had fewer small, dense LDL particles in their system.

By Kelly Vaughan
October 29, 2019

While avocados have long been touted for their healthy fats and high levels of potassium, new research from Penn State University is giving you another reason to order avocado toast, guacamole, and green smoothies. Turns out that eating one avocado a day may help to lower levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and small, dense LDL particles, according to ScienceDaily. Small LDL particles are associated with promoting buildup in the arteries, which can lead to cardiovascular issues.

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"We were able to show that when people incorporated one avocado a day into their diet, they had fewer small, dense LDL particles than before the diet," explained Penny Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Penn State, to ScienceDaily. Studies have previously shown that there is a positive correlation between avocados and lower LDL cholesterol, but Kris-Etherton and her team were particularly interested in whether or not avocados could also help lower oxidized LDL particles.

Related: Is It Possible to Eat Too Much Avocado?

The study was made up of 45 adult participants who were considered to be overweight or obese; they completed five weeks of three different diets—a low-fat diet, moderate-fat diet, and a moderate-fat diet that included one avocado a day. After finishing the moderate-fat avocado diet, participants had lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol than before the study, and the lowest levels of LDL particles compared to the other two diets.

"When you think about bad cholesterol, it comes packaged in LDL particles, which vary in size," Kris-Etherton told ScienceDaily. "All LDL is bad, but small, dense LDL is particularly bad. A key finding was that people on the avocado diet had fewer oxidized LDL particles. They also had more lutein, which may be the bioactive that's protecting the LDL from being oxidized."

Kris-Etherton noted that nutritional research on avocados is a new area of study and she believes that there is more to uncover in terms of their health benefits. She recommends incorporating more avocados into a daily diet by spreading it on whole-wheat toast or used to make a vegetable dip.

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