What a difference an avocado can make.
Recently published research has shown that bad cholesterol levels can be reduced by adding an avocado a day to a heart-healthy diet.
A study, published in the January 2015 issue of the journal Circulation, found that a heart-healthy diet – including low-saturated and high-monounsaturated fats – plus one avocado a day lowered LDL, or bad cholesterol, and other cardiovascular risk factors more than a similar diet without avocado.
What’s more, avocados are delicious, says Geeta Sikand, a registered dietitian nutritionist and director of nutrition for the UC Irvine Health Preventive Cardiology Program.
Sikand recommends the following recipe to boost avocado consumption. To keep calories lower, she says, skip the traditional tortilla chips and enjoy some leafy greens.
- 2 avocados (mashed coarsely)
- ½ tomato, finely chopped
- ¼ onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno (optional)
- 2 teaspoon chopped cilantro
Combine all ingredients.
Store, tightly covered, in refrigerator.
Serve on a bed of mixed greens (arugula, spinach and romaine).
- Calories 197
- Protein 3 g
- Fat 19 g
- Carbohydrates 8 g
- Monounsaturated fat 13 g
- Polyunsaturated fat 2.7 g
- Cholesterol 0
- Fiber 9 g
- Viscous fiber 3 gm
Source: The Living Heart Diet Book by Debakey, Gotto, Scott and Foreyt
The mighty avocado
What accounts for avocados’ superhero powers?
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and legumes (such as beans and lentils) have high levels of flavonoids, antioxidants and fiber, which help to lower inflammation and help to protect the heart, research has shown. Although avocados are high in fat and calories, they have good, healthy fat, similar to olive and canola oils and nuts.
“Consuming one avocado per day as part of a dietary pattern that’s rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, beans and lentils may give you additional heart health benefits,” says Sikand. “That avocado can help to decrease LDL or bad cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors, including inflammation.”
But she cautions: “Like nuts, avocados are a high-calorie food, so account for them in the overall number of calories you consume for a healthy weight. And to personalize your heart-healthy dietary pattern, see a registered dietitian nutritionist.”