Researchers at Penn State University in Pennsylvania studied the effect of one avocado per day on cholesterol levels. This randomized controlled study involved 45 men and women aged 21 to 70 who were overweight or obese. Participants already adopted a low-fat diet without avocado. They were given a new diet plan, to which an avocado was added daily to see if this had a positive effect on their cholesterol levels.
Avocado lowered cholesterol after five weeks
After five weeks, it turned out that eating one avocado per day had the greatest effect on LDL cholesterol levels. As a result, cholesterol levels dropped significantly: oxLDL (-7.0 U/L, 8.8%, P=0.0004), the researchers reported.
According to the scientists, it is the oxLDL particles (the particles that oxidize, meaning that they react with oxygen) that cause the deposit of plaque in the arteries. Plaque is a local thickening of the vascular wall. Less blood can flow through such a site can lead to cardiovascular disease in the long run. Thus, eating an avocado daily reduces the risk of such diseases.
Avocado: full of vitamins, minerals and glutathione
The avocado belongs to the berries and grows on the avocado tree, a laurel plant. The fruit has a smooth or rough peel. The creamy flesh is greenish, white or light yellow and tastes slightly nutty.
In the middle of the avocado is a large, non-edible core. The name of the fruit comes from the language of the Mexican natives (Aztecs, Tolteks and Nahua). There, the word meant “testicles.”
In addition to healthy fats and fiber, the avocado is also rich in vitamins and minerals. Avocado is a good source of potassium and magnesium as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E and folic acid (B11). The mineral content is very high: almost three times as much as in most other fruits. Glutathione is also found in the avocado.
The tripeptide and antioxidant glutathione is one of the most important substances that the body can use to protect cells. Three very important functions of glutathione are its detoxifying and immune-boosting properties as well as its antioxidant function. Glutathione is the most important and powerful antioxidant in the human body. It is also called the mother or master of all antioxidants. Every cell in the body is protected by this substance. Glutathione also fights oxidative stress through free radicals and thus protects against aging.
People who are sensitive to FODMAPs may experience discomfort after eating avocado.
Oleic acid: increases HDL cholesterol
Avocado contains a lot of fat, but relatively little saturated fat, which is also called “bad” fat because of its unfavorable effect on cholesterol levels. The fat in the avocado consists mainly of oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid. Oleic acid or olein is an unsaturated fat and fits well into a healthy diet.
Omega-9 (oleic acid) is mainly found in plant-based foods such as oils and nuts, but is also produced by the body itself. Oleic acid has a positive influence on blood cholesterol levels. Sufficient cholesterol in the body, however, is necessary for good health. It has an important function in the construction of body cells and in the production of hormones.
Cholesterol can be divided into two types: HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The HDL is also referred to as the good and the LDL as the bad cholesterol. If the LDL is too high, this can be harmful to the heart and blood vessels. HDL has a protective effect on the heart and blood vessels. It is therefore important to keep HDL high and LDL low. Oleic acid increases HDL cholesterol, reducing bad LDL. This reduces the risk of heart disease.
Storage of avocado
Keep your avocados in a cool place, but not in the fridge, so they can stay good for a few days. Immature avocados ripen at room temperature in a few days. Make sure that the avocado is not overripe, otherwise the fruit will be brown inside. An avocado is ripe if you can squeeze it easily and it gives way slightly. Another way to recognize the ripeness of an avocado is to remove the stem and look at the color of the pulp. If the flesh is nice green and the skin is dark and feels soft, the avocado is ripe. If the flesh is brown under the stem base, the avocado is overripe. When you put the avocado in the fridge, its ripening process is stopped. To speed up maturation, you can put the avocado in a plastic bag with an apple, pear or banana. These fruits release ethylene gas, which promotes the ripening of avocado.
Preparation of avocado
Despite the amount of fat, the fiber-rich avocado consists of more than 70 percent water. You can use avocado pureed in soups and sauces, but also make to make delicious avocado vegetable spread for bread, toast or a raw food dip like guacamole. You can sprinkle the flesh with lemon juice so that it does not turn brown.