Category Archives: Avocados

Another super benefit from a favorite superfood: avocado may improve cholesterol levels for the overweight and obese

Avocado on whiteAvocado is often referred to as a superfood. Packed with nutrition, avocados provide the healthy fats our bodies need as well as a long list of beneficial vitamins and minerals. They also add great taste and texture to a variety of dishes and are quite flavorful all by themselves. Avocados already put the “super” into “superfoods” … but today it got even better.

Eating one avocado a day as part of a heart healthy, cholesterol-lowering moderate-fat diet can help improve bad cholesterol levels in overweight and obese individuals, according to new research published in theJournal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers evaluated the effect avocados had on traditional and novel cardiovascular risk factors by replacing saturated fatty acids from an average American diet with unsaturated fatty acids from avocados.

Forty-five healthy, overweight or obese patients between the ages of 21 and 70 were put on three different cholesterol-lowering diets. Participants consumed an average American diet (consisting of 34 percent of calories from fat, 51 percent carbohydrates, and 16 percent protein) for two weeks prior to starting one of the following cholesterol lowering diets: lower fat diet without avocado, moderate-fat diet without avocado, and moderate-fat diet with one avocado per day. The two moderate fat diets both provided 34 percent of calories as fat (17 percent of calories from monounsaturated fatty acids/MUFAs), whereas the lower fat diet provided 24 percent of calories as fat (11 percent from MUFAs). Each participant consumed each of the three test diet for five weeks. Participants were randomly sequenced through each of the three diets.

Researchers found:
Compared to the baseline average American diet, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) — the so called ‘bad cholesterol’ — was 13.5 mg/dL lower after consuming the moderate fat diet that included an avocado. LDL was also lower on the moderate fat diet without the avocado (8.3 mg/dL lower) and the lower fat diet (7.4 mg/dL lower), though the results were not as striking as the avocado diet.

Several additional blood measurements were also more favorable after the avocado diet versus the other two cholesterol-lowering diets as well: total cholesterol, triglycerides, small dense LDL, non-HDL cholesterol, and others.

These measurements are all considered to be cardio-metabolic risk factors in ways that are independent of the heart-healthy fatty acid effects, said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., senior study author and Chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park, Pennsylvania.

“This was a controlled feeding study, but that is not the real-world — so it is a proof-of-concept investigation. We need to focus on getting people to eat a heart-healthy diet that includes avocados and other nutrient-rich food sources of better fats,” Kris-Etherton said.

“In the United States avocados are not a mainstream food yet, and they can be expensive, especially at certain times of the year. Also, most people do not really know how to incorporate them in their diet except for making guacamole. But guacamole is typically eaten with corn chips, which are high in calories and sodium. Avocados, however, can also be eaten with salads, vegetables, sandwiches, lean protein foods (like chicken or fish) or even whole.”

For the study researchers used Hass avocados, the ones with bumpy green skin. In addition to MUFAs, avocados also provided other bioactive components that could have contributed to the findings such as fiber, phytosterols, and other compounds.

According to researchers, many heart-healthy diets recommend replacing saturated fatty acids with MUFAs or polyunsaturated fatty acids to reduce the risk of heart disease. This is because saturated fats can increase bad cholesterol levels and raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Mediterranean diet, includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids–like extra-virgin olive oil and nuts. Like avocados, some research indicates that these not only contain better fats but also certain micronutrients and bioactive components that may play an important role in reducing risk of heart disease. loves avocados. There is always a new way to add them to your diet. Mashed avocado is a great replacement for mayonnaise in tuna and chicken salad. Avocado vinaigrette is a wonderful – and easy to prepare – salad dressing. Sliced avocado is a great addition to sandwiches. You can mix avocado into mashed potatoes or cauliflower. We could go on. And so can you … These impressive new findings give us even more motivation to continue to incorporate this incredibly flavorful superfood into our healthy lifestyle!

Avocados can help between meal hunger

Good fats from lean proteins, vegetables and legumes add a lot to our health and our diets. But we have to admit, some are even tastier than others — and present numerous interesting possibilities to add flavor to our meals. At, we’re big fans of avocados for those very reasons.

Technically a fruit, avocados can substitute easily for sandwich spreads, or added to salads or stuffed with tuna or chicken. They can be incorporated into salad dressings, added to home made salsa or combined with with vegetables for new and different flavors. We’ve always appreciated how this good-for-you food can be enjoyed in so many ways.

Now it appears that the addition of avocado to your meals can help you curb between meal hunger.

Research published in the November issue of the Nutrition Journal showed that overweight people who ate half of a fresh avocado with their lunch were more likely feel full and not want to snack more after their meal.

According to the study’s authors, this might help with weight management and may even reduce risk for disease, like Type 2 diabetes.

“Satiety is an important factor in weight management, because people who feel satisfied are less likely to snack between meals,” lead researcher Dr. Joan Sabate, chair of the department of nutrition at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, Calif., said in a press release. “We also noted that though adding avocados increased participants’ calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch, there was no increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed after eating the standard lunch. This leads us to believe that avocados potential role in blood sugar management is worth further investigation.”

The study involved 26 overweight but otherwise healthy adults who were asked to include avocados in their lunch either by replacing an item they would have eaten with the fruit, or eating avocado in addition to their regular meal.

Those that added half of an avocado were found to be 40 percent less likely to want to snack after lunch over a three-hour period, and 28 percent less likely to munch on something else up to five hours after the meal, compared to when they didn’t eat the avocado.

Avocado-eaters also were found to report more meal satisfaction, about 26 percent higher up to three hours after the meal, compared to after eating a standard lunch.

The researchers said that more studies need to be conducted to be able to say for sure that the results would be applicable to the average person,. They want to look deeper at avocados’ effects at glucose and insulin levels, which are markers for diabetes.

This is a great idea for those of us who find ourselves looking for a little something extra between lunch and dinner. Try adding avocados to your lunch. You’ll not only be adding high levels of antioxidants, folate and fiber to your meal. You may just find yourself feeling fuller, longer!