An avocado a day could keep bad cholesterol away, study shows

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6 Health Benefits of Avocados

‘People should consider adding avocados to their diet,’ researcher says

An avocado a day may in fact help keep the doctor away. Or, at least help keep cholesterol levels in check, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by researchers at Penn State, found that people who incorporated an avocado into their daily diets had fewer “bad cholesterol” particles.

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According to the researchers, bad cholesterol can refer to either oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and small, dense LDL particles.

Researcher Penny Kris-Etherton said that avocados specifically helped reduce LDL particles that were oxidized. Oxidation in the body has been linked to conditions like cancer and heart disease.

"Consequently, people should consider adding avocados to their diet in a healthy way, like on whole-wheat toast or as a veggie dip,” said researcher Penny Kris-Etherton.

In the study, researchers looked at the diets of 45 adults who are overweight or obese. For the first two weeks, the participants maintained a “run-in” diet, or a diet comparable to an average American.

Then, for five weeks each, participants rotated three treatment diets in a random order: low-fat diet, moderate-fat diet and a moderate-fat diet, plus an avocado a day.

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The study concluded that, “after five weeks on the avocado diet, participants had significantly lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol than before the study began or after completing the low- and moderate-fat diets.”

“We were able to show that when people incorporated one avocado a day into their diet, they had fewer small, dense LDL particles than before the diet," Kris-Etherton said.

Those on the daily avocado regimen not only had fewer oxidized LDL particles, but also had more lutein, which can help prevent LDL particles from becoming oxidized.

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Kris-Etherton said the study is a positive step forward, but noted that there is more work to be done.

"Nutrition research on avocados is a relatively new area of study, so I think we're at the tip of the iceberg for learning about their health benefits," Kris-Etherton said. "Avocados are really high in healthy fats, carotenoids ⁠— which are important for eye health ⁠— and other nutrients. They are such a nutrient-dense package, and I think we're just beginning to learn about how they can improve health."

So, go ahead and order the avocado toast next time you’re at brunch. It could help your health.