ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- You’ve heard the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” but how about an avocado a day? Research has shown that the “good fat” absorbed from eating avocado can help lower your bad cholesterol and increase your heart health.
Whether you like them or hate them, research has shown that eating a whole avocado a day can actually decrease bad cholesterol by thirteen points!
Dr. Erica Hechler, from Florida Hospital, said avocados were a great source of unsaturated fat, the good fat found in plants.
“Unsaturated fats are good for cholesterol, they help with HDL, which is your good cholesterol,” Hechler told Ivanhoe.
Not sure how to incorporate avocado into your diet? Try this: instead of mayonnaise, blend an avocado for a homemade spread for sandwiches and wraps, or in place of cheese, slice it into salads and soups.
They were known to have about 300 calories and 30 grams of fat per fruit.
“They still do need to be controlled because they are a significant source of concentrated calories,” Hechler told Ivanhoe.
Hechler recommended using other sources of dietary fat sparingly.
“If we’re not removing things like butter, bacon and sour cream from our diet and we’re just adding more avocado, more fat, we’re adding more calories,” Hechler told Ivanhoe.
If you didn’t want an avocado that’s okay! Nutritionists said there were other ways to get the same nutrients. Incorporate more nuts, olives, canola and olive oil into your diet to receive the same heart healthy, cholesterol lowering benefits.
By the way, while you might be tempted to call the avocado a vegetable, it has been classified as a fruit.
BACKGROUND: Avocados are a type of fruit that grow on trees. They are green and pear-shaped with a rough, peelable skin. Avocados are native to Central America. Historians believe that humans first started eating avocados around 8000 to 7000 B.C. By around 1200 B.C., avocado seeds were used to control tree growth, causing the avocado to be a trade commodity among native groups in Central America. The Spanish Conquest in the 16th century led to the fruit being widely distributed in Europe. Though people have been enjoying this green fruit since the Aztecs, it wasn’t until the 20th century that the avocado gained its current popularity in America. In 1950, the fruit became popular as a salad item, and by 1995, 40 percent of American households consumed avocados. There are more than 400 different types of avocados, and California accounts for nearly 90 percent of all avocados grown in the U.S. (Source 1, Source 2)
EATING AVOCADOS: An avocado is ready to eat when it is slightly soft when pressure is applied, but not mushy. Typically they ripen 3 to 4 days after purchasing, depending on the firmness. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and twist the two halves apart, then remove the pit using the sharp end of a knife or a spoon. You can then scoop out the green flesh of the fruit and may dice it, slice it or mash it into guacamole. Once the fruit is cut open, it discolors quickly. (Source)
HEALTH BENEFITS: In addition to having a rich, nutty flavor, avocados also have plenty of health benefits. They have been shown to prevent or fight against prostate cancer, breast cancer and oral cancer. A Pennsylvania State University study published in the Journal of American Heart Association earlier this year showed that eating an avocado a day will help lower bad cholesterol, LDL. The researchers compared three different types of cholesterol-lowering diets. The diet that included an avocado a day was found to lower LDL cholesterol more than the low-fat diet featuring low-fat dairy and lots of fruits. Also, avocados are full of fiber and are a good source of vitamin E. They also contain more potassium than bananas. (Source 1, Souce 2, Source 3)