Avocados and cholesterol…a very popular topic these days, yet it’s one of the most misunderstood fruits out there.
Is it high in cholesterol? Is it low? Can it help reduce LDL? Will it make my high cholesterol even worse? I just don’t know if I should be eating avocados every day or throwing them out the window. Please help me figure it all out!
We created this article to tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about avocados and cholesterol, so you can tell your friends about it and eventually, everyone will be an avocado expert and we can all go on with our lives. So let’s get started shall we?
Avocados and Cholesterol – An Introduction
Let’s start off with something you might not have been aware of. The avocado is actually a fruit, not a vegetable as many people mistake it for. Want to hear something even more surprising? It’s a berry! Yes, you read that right, an avocado is a berry, which is defined as a fleshy fruit that is produced from a single ovary. Crazy huh? Now when you see avocado as an option in your smoothie, it might make more sense!
This berry is also one of the healthiest fruits around, just packed with important nutrients including fiber, a variety of essential vitamins, potassium, pantothenic acid and copper. It’s also sugar and sodium free. Which brings us to our first question…
Does Avocado Have Cholesterol or No?
Despite what you might have read, there are ZERO mg of cholesterol in an avocado. I repeat, the avocado has no cholesterol. So when someone ask you how much cholesterol in avocado, now you know the answer definitively.
As a side note, even if it did contain a high level of cholesterol, like the shrimp for example, it doesn’t mean it will cause your levels to go up at all. It doesn’t work like that. But that’s another story.
So even if you are trying to avoid foods high in cholesterol, which it doesn’t really make too much sense to do, you don’t have to worry about eating avocados.
Can Avocados Lower Cholesterol Then?
This is another popular question, and kind of the opposite of what we discussed above. Here people are recognizing the health benefits of avocado, and wanting to know if it can actually help to lower LDL or raise HDL. Let’s take a closer look at that…
As it turns out, according to WebMd, avocados can actually help lower your cholesterol.
In fact, there was a small study conducted with three different test groups, one on a low fat diet with no avocado, one with a moderate fat diet and no avocado and one with a moderate fat diet with an avocado each day.
Guess which group has the lowest cholesterol levels after five weeks? Yes, you’ve guessed it…group number three on the moderate diet with avocado.
Although this study only included 45 individuals, and there could have been other factors at play, it’s safe to assume that the avocado is good for cholesterol. This is likely due to the fact that it has not only a high concentration of heart-friendly monounsaturated fats, not to be confused with trans fats, but also important compounds called phytosterols, beta-sitosterol in particular.
This one-two punch of monounsaturated fat and beta-sitosterol can help raise HDL and lower LDL, and also reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed from the food that you eat. It’s interesting to note that there are cholesterol medications that do this as well, i.e lower the production of LDL as well as limit the absorption, but the downside is all of the potential side effects that come with it.
Does the Avocado Have Any Other Heart Benefits?
Absolutely. Note that the avocado contains a lot of fat, but it’s good fat. That’s important to understand. It contains a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, found in olive oil as well, which is an excellent anti-inflammatory. Fighting inflammation in your heart or anywhere else in your body is an important component of good health.
Avocados can also lower triglyceride levels, another risk factor for heart disease and stroke along with high cholesterol.
They also contain a host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help fight off free radicals, precursors to a variety of health conditions. They can help give you a sense of fullness, which minimizes your risk of being overweight…this in turn benefits your heart as it doesn’t have to work as hard.
Specific nutrients like potassium and lutein can help stabilize blood pressure, helping you avoid hypertension, another precursor to heart disease.
Benefits Extend Beyond Cholesterol and the Heart
The avocado is considered a superfood, just like salmon, acai, kale, flaxseeds, sweet potatoes, raw milk and raw honey. What does that mean? That they are just packed with important nutrients that are good for your health.
These foods are not only good for your heart, they’re good for your entire body. They lower inflammation, fight off cancers and other diseases, help boost your energy, speed up your metabolism, keep your weight in check, improve your eyesight, skin, nails, hair…the benefits are just endless.
Are there any negatives to avocados? Not really. As you’ve read they don’t have any cholesterol, their high fat content is good fat that your body needs, they’re tasty, their easily digested…what’s not to like? Add that to the fact that they can lower your LDL, raise your HDL, reduce your triglyceride levels and improve your heart health and you’ve got yourself a real winner.
So the next time you’re at the salad or smoothie bar, drop a couple of pieces of fresh avocado in for good measure…your heart, and the rest of your body, will thank you for it!