Each of the new diets improved participants' LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), likely because all three were significantly lower in saturated fat than the average American diet. But the avocado eaters fared the best: Their LDL cholesterol dropped 13 points, compared to around 8 points for people on the low-fat or avocado-free moderate-fat diets.
Why? All sources of monounsaturated fat—including avocado—contain fatty acids that can help lower cholesterol and boost heart health. But according to the researchers, the guacamole staple seems to have additional cholesterol-lowering properties, like fiber and plant sterols, plus a type of sugar that might increase satiety.
Related: The 10 Commandments Of Cholesterol Control
Even so, a medium avocado packs around 320 calories and 30 g of fat—and eating a whole one every single day doesn't exactly seem realistic. Replacing some less-nutritious foods with half an avocado per day is more doable—and still beneficial. "Eating that amount has still been shown to reduce total cholesterol and LDL levels,” says registered dietician Tina Ruggiero. Think mashed avocado instead of mayo in your sandwich, diced avocado instead of sour cream or cheese on your black bean soup, or half an avocado with lime juice and sea salt instead of a granola bar for an afternoon snack. Sounds pretty darn delicious to us.
This article was originally published on Prevention.