I recently had a patient tell me that she attended a health screening and was told to eat less olive oil and avocados. The idea, apparently, was that these are both high sources of fat, and that fat causes you to become fat and increases your risk for heart disease. This completely blew my mind, because it flies in the face of all the evidence on the subject. I wanted to comment on it here to be certain that no one believes advice like this!
Here are the facts:
Just adding avocados to the daily diet for 7 days provided the following results in people with high cholesterol:
- 17% reduction in total cholesterol
- 22% reduction in LDL cholesterol
- 22% reduction in triglycerides
- 11% increase in HDL cholesterol
These changes are better than any drug I know, and they taste great! If you've read my Cholesterol Article, you know that the 2 most important numbers in your cholesterol panel are your triglycerides and HDL's. You want relativley high HDL's and relatively low triglycerides. That makes avocados an ideal treatment for cholesterol imbalance! The researchers attributed the beneficial changes to the high monounsaturated fat content of avocados--the same type of fat found in olive oil. Olive oil is attributed with a host of benefits too long to list here including decreases in diabetes, heart disease, dementia, chronic pain, and improvements in cholesterol.
The authors of the study conclude: "High lipid (fat), high monounsaturated-avocado enriched diet can improve lipid profile in healthy and especially in mild hypercholesterolemic patients, even if hypertriglyceridemia (combined hyperlipidemia) is present." In other words, eating a diet rich in fats from avocados and olive oil helps your cholesterol levels--eat your olive oil and avocados!
Read the study here.