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Healthy Eating

Avocado is the best fruit to eat daily for lower cholesterol

You might want to eat an avocado every single day given that the tasty and versatile food can lower your cholesterol level, according to new research.

There are plenty of reasons to add blueberries, bananas, and tangerines to your diet, but that’s not the only fruit you should be eating on a regular basis. In fact, you might want to eat an avocado every single day given that the tasty and versatile food can lower your cholesterol level, according to new research.

1. Avocado nutrition facts

One-half of an avocado (100g) provides 160 calories, 2g of protein, 8.5g of carbohydrates, and 14.7g of fat. Avocados are an excellent nutritional source of magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. The following nutrition information is for half of an avocado and is provided by the USDA.

Calories: 160
Fat: 14.7g
Sodium: 7mg
Carbohydrates: 8.5g
Fiber: 6.7g
Sugars: 0.7g
Protein: 2g
Magnesium: 29mg
Potassium: 485mg
Vitamin C: 10mg
Vitamin E: 2.1mg
Vitamin K: 21mcg

Carbs: Most of the carbohydrates in an avocado come from fiber. A whole avocado provides about 17 grams of carbohydrate and 13.4 grams of fiber. There is very little sugar in an avocado (less than one gram) and the rest of the carbohydrate in the fruit comes from starch. The glycemic index for avocado is estimated to be around zero, making it a low-glycemic food.

Fats: A whole avocado provides roughly 30 grams of fat, 4.2 grams of saturated fat, almost 20 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 3.6 grams of polyunsaturated fat. So, while most of the calories in an avocado come from fat, they are mostly in the form of healthier monounsaturated fat.

Monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs come from plant sources and may be helpful in lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol. For this reason, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that choosing foods with monounsaturated fats instead of saturated fat.

Protein: Half an avocado provides about 2 grams of protein. While it’s not a high-protein food, it can still help you meet your desired protein intake.

Vitamins and minerals: If you consume a few slices of avocado, it won’t provide substantial vitamins or minerals because the serving size is so small. But a whole avocado is a good source of vitamins K, E, and C.

Avocado also contains folate, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Minerals in avocado include magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and magnesium.

Calories: The number of calories in an avocado will depend on its size. The avocado nutrition facts shown are for half of a medium-sized avocado, but many avocados are smaller and some can be much larger (up to 300 grams or more).

According to the USDA Nutrient Database, there are 322 calories in a larger (200 gram) avocado. In general, an average avocado ranges from 200 to 300 calories, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

If you spread a thin layer of avocado on your sandwich or add a small amount to your healthy taco, you are probably consuming roughly 30 grams or about two tablespoons of fruit.

Avocado is the best fruit to eat daily for lower cholesterol

2. The #1 Fruit to eat daily for lower cholesterol

In a study that was recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, 500 participants were asked to eat a large avocado every day while another 500 participants were not asked to do so. In addition, the 500 who weren’t making the fruit a regular part of their diet were asked to eat fewer than two avocados each month. When the six-month timeframe was over, it was found that participants who were regularly consuming the popular fruit were eating a healthier diet overall and ended up with cholesterol levels that had gone down.

“Overall, this is a good study because it was randomized and controlled with a large number of people,” Sarah Glasser, RD, CDCES, tells Eat This, Not That! while noting that “the participants in each group also had similar baseline diets, scoring about a ‘50%’ on the Healthy Eating Index.”

On the other hand, Glasser says that “one significant drawback to this study was that they did not collect data on medication use, this includes supplements and statins during the 6-month trial.” At the same time, “their baseline data also uses 24-hour food recall to gather data about usual diet,” which “is not as good as a food frequency questionnaire” as “one day isn’t truly representative of someone’s usual diet.” Glasser explains, “While their food intake data looks good, it probably isn’t capturing things like that milkshake you had last Friday or the pizza you have every Friday.”

As for how avocados lower cholesterol levels, Glasser says that they “increase how fast triglyceride-rich lipoproteins are broken down and by stopping the liver from producing more VLDL (one level worse than LDL!),” which “means there is less LDL in your bloodstream overall.”

Finally, Glasser points out that “it is very common for people to quickly eliminate foods such as red meat, cheese, and too many desserts when they are diagnosed with high cholesterol.” However, she’d “like to see more people focus on healthy foods to add to their diet because this is where the nutrition magic really happens for disease prevention.”

3. Health benefits of eating avocado

May aid in diabetes management

Avocados may provide benefits for people with diabetes. Although they have carbohydrates, their low glycemic index rating of almost zero means that they have little effect on blood sugar. The glycemic index is a scale from 1 to 100, with high numbers indicating foods that raise your blood sugar faster.

That means avocados are a healthy choice for those with diabetes, especially when they replace higher-glycemic foods.8 Some studies have shown that avocado consumption improved glycemic control in subjects with type 2 diabetes.

In addition, there is considerable evidence to suggest that high-MUFA diets can also improve metabolic health among people with type 2 diabetes.

Protect your eyes

Avocados have lutein and zeaxanthin, which absorb light waves that can harm your vision. People who eat lots of foods rich in these antioxidants are less likely to have age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults. Most of an avocado’s antioxidants are found in the darker green flesh that’s closest to the peel.

Good for your heart

Speaking of your blood vessels, the American Heart Association recommends that the majority of the fat you eat be unsaturated, like you’ll find in avocados, rather than the saturated fats in foods like red meats and whole-milk dairy foods. Early research now shows that avocados in particular can also help lower “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.

May help you lose weight

A half-cup of guacamole has about 6 grams, almost 1/4, of your daily fiber needs. Fiber helps you feel full, so you’re less likely to overeat. And although avocados are high in fat, it’s mainly healthy monounsaturated fat. Research has found that this type of fat in your diet can help trim your waistline. Instead of chicken salad with mayo, try chickpeas with mashed avocado.

May lower metabolic syndrome risk

After looking at the results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers concluded that avocado consumption was associated with lower metabolic syndrome risk.10 They also noted a connection between eating avocados and better overall diet quality.

Boost your mood

In a cup of avocado slices, you’ll get about 118 micrograms of folate, which is almost a third of what most adults need daily. People who don’t get enough of this B vitamin could be more prone to depression — and less likely to respond well to antidepressants. Folate also plays a role in preventing birth defects, so expectant and new mothers are encouraged to get more.

Source: eatthis/webmd/verywellfit!

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