A new study conducted by researchers from Penn State explored the health benefits associated with eating avocados on a regular basis. According to their findings, avocados are can help lower bad cholesterol levels and improve diet quality.
“Adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is generally poor in the U.S., and our findings suggest that eating an avocado per day can substantially increase overall diet quality,” said researcher Kristina Petersen. “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.”
Avocados can improve health long-term
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from over 1,000 participants who were either overweight or obese. One group of participants ate an avocado every day for six months; another group limited their avocado intake to two per month and continued eating as they normally would. The team measured their body weight, cholesterol, and fat in the abdomen at the start and end of the study.
The researchers learned that eating avocados every day was linked with important health improvements. One benefit of eating more avocados was lower cholesterol; LDL cholesterol decreased by 2.5 mg/dL and total cholesterol decreased by 2.9 mg/DL.
The team found that avocados didn’t play a significant role in the participants’ abdomen fat levels or other cardiometabolic risk factors. However, participants who ate avocados every day had better overall diet quality and didn’t gain weight.
“While one avocado a day did not lead to clinically significant improvements in abdominal fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors, consuming one avocado a day did not result in body weight gain,” said researcher Joan Sabaté. “This is positive because eating extra calories from avocados doesn’t impact body weight or abdominal fat, and it slightly decreases total and LDL-cholesterol.”
Moving forward, the researchers hope consumers consider the health benefits of incorporating more avocados into their diets.
“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,” said researcher Penny Kris-Etherton. “Incorporating an avocado a day 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.”