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This post comes to you from EMPOWER’s very own registered Dietician: Anna LaBarre, MS, RDN, LDN.
Research has shown that replacing saturated fat in our diets (found primarily in animal products) with monounsaturated fat (like that found in olive oil, canola oil and avocados) can lower our LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. But in case you didn’t hear the yummy-good news earlier this month– a recent study (published in the Journal of the American Heart Association) showed a moderate fat diet that included an avocado a day lowered overweight and obese study participants’ LDL (bad) cholesterol levels more than when they were consuming a moderate-fat diet or a lower-fat diet alone (without the avocado a day). Participants’ total cholesterol levels, small dense LDL and trigycerides were all lower as well on the moderate fat diet with avocado.
Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as fiber, phytosterols and antioxodants. Researchers say that these other factors may have contributed to the cholesterol-lowering effect of the avocado diet in addition to their monounsaturated fat; more research is needed to say for certain. However, the take-away is that avocados are a great food to incorporate into an overall healthy and cardio-protective way of eating.
Here are 5 ways to eat avocados (and replace saturated fat in your diet):
1) Spread ripe avocado on your sandwich to replace mayonnaise (and thicker slices to replace cheese).
2) Make a creamy dressing with avocado (like this Creamy Cilantro-Avocado Dressing from Eating Well)
3) Swap the cheese on your salad for avocado slices.
4) Add large chunks of avocado to shrimp or chicken kabobs and throw them on the grill (now there’s no need to bacon-wrap anything).
5) Chop an avocado and toss it with lime juice, a pinch of salt, pepper and chopped red onion and use it to top baked or grilled fish or chicken (step aside sauces and marinades).
Read more about the study on the American Heart Association website.
– Anna LaBarre, MS, RDN, LDN