High cholesterol: Daily portion of a 79p food could lower your levels – ‘Important’
High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol describes a waxy substance that can build up in your arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow. Characterised by a lack of warning signs, high cholesterol can lead to heart diseases and strokes. Fortunately, what you eat could help retrieve your levels from the red zone.
One potent food that could help lower your cholesterol levels is avocado, according to research, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The study shares that while eating an avocado a day might have no effect on your belly fat, liver fat or waist circumference, it could provide aid for cholesterol.
What’s more, the small food can be bought for as little as 79p in some stores.
The specific type of cholesterol the fruit can lower is so-called LDL low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
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Although not all cholesterol is harmful, the type known as LDL or “bad” cholesterol is the culprit responsible for hiking your risk of heart diseases and strokes.
You might be surprised but your body does need some cholesterol to build healthy cells. This is where “good” cholesterol steps in.
The research findings
While previous smaller studies established a link between avocados and lower body weight, BMI, and waist circumferences, this new study represents the largest, most extensive research on the health effects of avocados.
Penny Kris-Etherton said: “While the avocados did not affect belly fat or weight gain, the study still provides evidence that avocados can be a beneficial addition to a well-balanced diet.
“Incorporating an avocado per day in this study did not cause weight gain and also caused a slight decrease in LDL cholesterol, which are all important findings for better health.”
What’s more, the researchers also found that eating avocados daily can improve the overall quality of the participants’ diets by eight points on a 100-point scale.
Kristina Petersen said: “Adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is generally poor in the US, and our findings suggest that eating an avocado per day can substantially increase overall diet quality.
“This is important because we know a higher diet quality is associated with lower risk of several diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”
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Looking at more than 1,000 overweight or obese participants, the researchers conducted a six-month experiment.
Half of these subjects were told to eat avocado daily while the others followed their usual diet and limited consumption of the fruit.
The research team found that avocados were able to lower total cholesterol by 2.9 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) and LDL cholesterol by 2.5 mg/dL.
Now, the researchers plan to continue analysing the data, possibly pinning down an effective way to include avocados in a diet.
Avocados are a potent source of nutrients as well as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs).
The general rule for a cholesterol-busting regime is to cut back on saturated fats while including unsaturated fats in your diet.
Saturated fats can raise your bad cholesterol – think sausages, biscuits and cheese.
However, unsaturated fats found in the likes of avocado, oily fish and nuts contain a healthier type of fat.
And indeed, the fruit packed with unsaturated fat was able to slightly lower your cholesterol levels.
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