Can Avocados Lower Your Lipid Levels?


Avocado (Persa americana) is a fruit that grows on avocado trees in areas such as Central America, Mexico, and the western United States. This fruit is famous for its flavor and creaminess and has gained a lot of popularity recently due to its health benefits. Avocados are high in several nutrients – including certain vitamins and minerals, fiber, phytosterols, and carotenoids. They are also high in monounsaturated fat, a type of “good” fat that has been previously shown in studies to lower your risk of heart disease. There is also some evidence that including avocados in your diet can help you to reduce your lipid levels.

Can Avocados Lower Your Lipids?

There are a few studies that look at the avocado’s effectiveness on cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, these studies are small and some of the participants had other medical conditions that could also affect lipid levels – such as diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.

In these studies, participants consumed anywhere between a half and one and a half avocados daily for a period of time that ranged from 7 days to five weeks. A couple of studies did not note a significant difference in lipid levels in participants consuming a diet containing avocados. Other studies, however, did reveal a slight drop in total cholesterol levels up to 17%. In these studies, LDL and triglyceride levels were also lowered by up to 22%. HDL cholesterol was increased by anywhere between 9 and 11% in most of these studies.

It is not known exactly how avocados lower lipid levels. Most studies contribute their lipid-lowering ability to the monounsaturated fatty acids in the fruit. It is thought that the monounsaturated fatty acids found in avocados and other foods may modify how quickly VLDL is produced or cleared in the body. Another possible mechanism is that monounsaturated fats slow down the conversion of IDL to LDL or that LDL is cleared out of the body more quickly. Some studies also suggest other nutrients found in avocado, such as fiber and phytosterols, also help lower LDL by preventing cholesterol from being absorbed into the body from the digestive tract.

The Bottom Line

Even though studies looking at the effect of avocado consumption on cholesterol and triglyceride levels appear to be promising, more studies are needed to further investigate this. Because they are high in heart-healthy fiber, phytosterols, and monounsaturated fat, avocados would qualify as a good food to include in your lipid-lowering meal plan.

In the past, avocado consumption was discouraged because of their high fat content. One study investigated the impact of avocado consumption on weight gain, and it was found that replacing other high-fat foods in the diet with avocados did not result in significant weight gain. However, because avocados are higher in calories compared to other fruits, adding them to a diet already high in fat and calories may result in weight gain, so you should plan your diet wisely if you plan on adding avocados to your meals.

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