Are avocados heart-healthy? If so, what sets them apart?
- 2 Minutes Read
Are avocados truly heart-healthy? Since heart disease continues to top the charts as the leading cause of death in the U.S., heart disease prevention is something we should all pay attention to! Read on to learn what sets the avocado apart when it comes to heart health and discover some tasty ways to incorporate avocados into your everyday meals.
Avocados are bursting with healthy fats! They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, the same fats found in olive oil. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to reduce LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood. Having lower levels of LDL translates into a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. And like all plant fats, there is no cholesterol in an avocado.
In addition, avocados are heart-healthy because they contain a compound called beta-sitosterol, a type of plant sterol. Plant sterols have been found to have cholesterol-lowering properties. The basic science shows that their molecular structure is similar to cholesterol, so they compete with dietary cholesterol for absorption in the body, thereby reducing cholesterol absorption, including LDL or "bad" cholesterol in the blood. Avocados contain 25 milligrams of beta-sitosterol in a 1-oz. serving.
If you eat an entire avocado (200g), you get a whopping 320 calories and 28 grams of total fat. Although the majority of that fat is heart-healthy, it is still highly caloric. If you are trying to lose weight, please remember that eating more calories than our body needs results in weight gain. Most of us tend to add avocado to our diet without decreasing other fats. A better strategy advises to simply replace some of our less healthy fats, such as animal fats, with avocado.
Butter is high in saturated fat, which can increase LDL or bad cholesterol. One tablespoon of butter contains 7.2g of saturated fat, while 1 tablespoon of avocado contains 0.3g of saturated fat. What a difference! That could be why avocado toast is gaining popularity. Instead of butter, try a little mashed up and spread on your favorite toast. Here's an easy and flavorful recipe for avocado toast that can be found in the MyNetDiary Premium recipe collection.
Instead of sitting down to eat a whole avocado at once, try to find ways to incorporate them into meals and snacks. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
As you can see, avocados are heart-healthy and easily incorporated into everyday meals. To improve overall heart health, substitute avocados for trans fats and saturated fats. These swaps will provide you with extra nutrients and improve your heart health.
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This blog was reviewed and updated by: Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist
Updated on June 24, 2020Foods & Recipes->Fruit & Vegetables Nutrients->Other Vitamins & Minerals