Mitchell L. Gaynor M.D.

Your Genetic Destiny

An Avocado A Day Keeps Bad Cholesterol at Bay

Do you like guacamole? Well, you're in luck.

Posted Feb 13, 2015

New research from Penn State University has found that eating one avocado a day (the main ingredient in guacamole) may help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol, which clogs up arteries and can trigger heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. The study also found that avocados improve total cholesterol and triglyceride numbers.

In the study, 45 overweight or obese adults tried three different types of diets to lower their cholesterol. One was a lower-fat diet, one was a moderate fat diet that did not contain avocados, and one was a moderate-fat diet that did contain avocados. The reduction in "bad" cholesterol was greatest on the moderate-fat diet that contained avocados.

If you suffer from high levels of "bad" cholesterol, you're certainly not alone. About 71 million Americans do. So serve up some avocados!

Avocados are great for your health, because they contain several nutrients, such as fiber (which helps keep your hunger in check), potassium, vitamins, and antioxidants. They also have a lot of unsaturated fat, which is known as "good" fat, and they detoxify the liver. They're rich in the amino acid carnitine, which is important for heart and muscle function. They also assist in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, which are critical for healthy muscle function and carbohydrate utilization. (Just be careful not to go overboard with avocados, because each one contains roughly 300 calories.)

Here are 10 fun and simple ways to add more avocados to your diet:

1. Whole grain or black bean tortilla chips and guacamole 

2. Diced avocado on a salad

3. Add pieces of avocado to any smoothie for extra flavor and thickness

4. Put slices onto toast, along with cucumber and fresh lime juice

5. Add to a sandwich with lettuce and tomato

6. Make dinner using brown rice, grilled chicken, black beans, corn, mango, and avocado

7. Put avocado in whole grain tacos with grilled shrimp and cilantro

8. Many types of sushi contain avocado

9. Make an omelet with avocado, tomato and a shredded organic cheese mix

10. Make a tasty green soup with avocado and cucumber.

In my upcoming book, The Gene Therapy Plan (with a foreword by Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.), I discuss how eating healthy foods, such as avocados, can positively affect gene expression and help prevent all sorts of serious conditions, including obesity, cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. I also include tons of delicious and healthy recipes in the book, such as an avocado-kale smoothie, avocado salad, turkey-avocado wrap, and an avocado and cheese spread.

References:

1. Wang L, Bordi P, Fleming J, Hill A, Kris-Etherton P. Effect of a Moderate Fat Diet With and Without Avocados on Lipprotein Particle Number, Size and Subclasses in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2014.