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Can Avocados Help The Heart?

April 13, 2020
Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen

It has been well documented that the latest obsession among millenials is avocado. From eating them straight up, to smushing it on toast and piling it with other gourmet toppings, to dumping them in smoothies, to using them as garnishes on salads and Mexican style dishes, avocados are the ultimate fruit found on the tables of millenials (and millennial-owned food establishments) across the globe.

 

But what is this obsession with avocados? And in this new era of healthy eating and wellness, does the avocado deserve such a prominent place in our grocery carts?

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Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet

Nutritionally, avocados contain a high amount of fat. The current school of thought is to stay away from high-fat foods. However, avocados are full of the good kinds of fat. Monounsaturated fats in particular are thought to help lower your levels of LDL, otherwise known as the “bad” kind of cholesterol. A study published by Penn State University found that when participants were given a diet where they routinely ate one avocado a day, levels of LDL were lowered more significantly than that of participants on other similarly healthy diets.

 

So how does this help your heart? Well, heart disease is the leading cause of death in most people, according to the CDC. It doesn’t discriminate between age, gender, or race either. And one of the things that puts you at risk for heart disease is high cholesterol levels. What happens when you have elevated LDL levels is that there is a buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries. This then blocks the oxygen and blood from getting to your heart that it needs to function. It is this blockage, along with lack of oxygen, that causes chest pains and heart attacks.

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Heart Attack Lifestyle Changes

As we can see, the avocado does indeed deserve the pedestal that it has been put on. Beyond being nutritionally dense, its high occurrence of monounsaturated fats can very well reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping high levels of LDL cholesterol at bay.

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