Taylor A Ritz
We’ve talked about how avocados are great for lowering blood sugar and helping manage diabetes, but did you know they’re good for your heart too?
A new study released last month by Penn State suggests that eating one avocado each day may help lower “bad cholesterol.”
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol isn’t all bad. This organic molecule is a waxy substance your body needs to build cells. Cholesterol is a lipid made in all animal cells and is used to create steroid hormones, bile acid, and vitamin D.
Problems occur when your body has too much cholesterol. Your body makes its own cholesterol, but it is also present in fatty foods. When you ingest cholesterol, your body makes less to attempt to bring your levels back into balance.
Major dietary sources of cholesterol include red meats, eggs, fish oil, and butter.
Bad vs. Good Cholesterol
Cholesterol travels through the blood via proteins called lipoproteins. There are 2 types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol through your body.
High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)
HDL is also known as “good” cholesterol. This molecule absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then flushes the cholesterol from the body. High levels of HDL can lower your risk of heart disease and other health issues.
Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
LDL is known as the “bad” cholesterol. It makes up most of the cholesterol in your body. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk of heart disease and even stroke.
When your body has too much LDL, the cholesterol can build up in your body, specifically in the walls of your blood vessels. This buildup is called “plaque” and causes your blood vessels to narrow over time. The narrower blood vessels block blood flow through your body, especially to your heart and other organs. When blood flow to the heart becomes blocked, it leads to angina, or chest pain, and ultimately a heart attack.
Managing Cholesterol With Avocados
The new research released last month by Penn State indicates that eating one avocado a day may help keep cholesterol levels in check.
Random, overweight test subjects were fed one avocado per day for 5 weeks and found that their levels of LDL particles had decreased. The avocados acted as a method to reduce the oxidized LDL particles. Oxidation in the body can cause other health issues such as cancer.
Though there is still more research to be done, the healthy fats in avocados, along with the carotenoids and other nutrients the superfruit contains, make this food an ideal addition to your daily diet.