Healthy diets that included 1 Hass avocado daily decreased circulating oxidized low density lipoproteins (oxLDL) in adults, according to a new study, led by Pennsylvania State University researchers and published in a recent edition of The Journal of Nutrition

Avocados are a nutrient-dense source of monounsaturated fatty acids and are rich in antioxidants. The LDL cholesterol lowering effect of avocados goes beyond that observed when their monounsaturated fatty acids are substituted for saturated fatty acids. More specifically, avocados help to decrease levels of small, dense LDL particles, which are susceptible to oxidation, and thus associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

This randomized, crossover-controlled feeding trial included 45 men and women, aged 21-70 y, that were overweight or obese and exhibited elevated LDL cholesterol. Three cholesterol-lowering diets were provided, each for 5 wk, in random order: a lower-fat diet and 2 moderate-fat diets. One moderate fat avocado diet included 1 Hass avocado per day while the other used high oleic acid oils to match the fatty acid profile of 1 avocado.

The high monounsaturated fatty acid moderate-fat diet that included 1 avocado per day for 5 wk decreased plasma oxLDL by nearly 9% compared with baseline.  The change in oxLDL was correlated with a change in number of small LDL particles, which are particularly atherogenic since they penetrate the walls of blood vessels more easily than larger LDL particles.   “To our knowledge, this is the first randomized controlled feeding trial to evaluate the effects of avocado consumption on biomarkers of oxidative status,” according to lead author Penny M Kris-Etherton.

Avocados have a unique nutrient and bioactive profile that appears to play an important role in reducing LDL oxidation, hence decreasing LDL atherogenicity.  Additional long-term prospective, intervention studies are needed to evaluate the effect of avocado consumption on clinical cardiovascular outcomes. This will help determine the role that avocados may play in the cardiovascular disease prevention.

Reference Want L, Tao L, Hao L, Stanley TH, Huang KH, Lambert JD, Kris-Etherton PM. A Moderate-Fat Diet with One Avocado per Day Increases Plasma Antioxidants and Decreases the Oxidation of Small, Dense LDL in Adults with Overweight and Obesity: A randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of  Nutrition, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz231.

Images credit: canva.com

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