There is a common misconception among people regarding fats and cholesterol – the mistaken belief is that all foods that are high in fat content will increase your cholesterol levels and cause health problems in the long run. One must understand that there is such a thing as good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). The body needs HDL cholesterol for healthy functioning, but the LDL cholesterol, when oxidized, can clog the arteries, leading to heart problems – so this type of cholesterol is harmful. Fats do produce cholesterol, some aid in improving the HDL count while some end up hiking the LDL levels.
Eating fat rich foods like avocados helps lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) while hiking the good cholesterol (HDL), so that’s like a double bonus. Let’s look in to the details of how Avocadoes helps lower cholesterol (LDL) levels.
Function of Cholesterol in a Human Body
First of all one must understand that cholesterol is an essential compound in the human body and it serves some very vital purposes such as fat metabolism, protecting cell membrane of arteries, enhances brain functioning, strengthening muscles, synthesizing bile acids and aiding bone health. Cholesterol is essential for body vitality, healthy libido and fertility.
Both HDL and LDL cholesterol are efficient at performing the above functions, the only problem is that the LDL variety of cholesterol is more susceptible to oxidation, and once oxidized they end up clogging the artery walls. Oxidation of LDL is similar to rust formation on iron. LDL when oxidized becomes plaque, and sticks to the artery walls. HDL does not get oxidized due to its high density structure, and hence HDL is a safe cholesterol to have in your blood stream.
Avocado Increases Your HDL Cholesterol Levels
A medium sized avocado contains close to 22g of fat, but close 85% of it is mono-unsaturated fat (the healthy variety of fat). These mono-unsaturated fats are converted into high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and released into the blood stream. Avocado are a rich source of essential fatty acids which produce good cholesterol in your body, and help improve the health of your arteries, liver, brain, muscles and bone.
Eating one avocado a day is enough to provide you with sufficient essential fatty acids (EFAs) and you can see improved HDL cholesterol count (by 10% or more) within a few weeks. So if you have been diagnosed with a low HDL count it’s important that you include Avocados, soya beans and walnuts into your diets, as these foods help in increasing your HDL count.
How Does Avocado Lower Bad Cholesterol (LDL) Count?
The secret to avocados lowering your bad cholesterol levels lies in the presence of compounds called “beta-sitosterol”, the beneficial plant fats. Studies have proven that beta-sitosterol is directly responsible for reducing the absorption of cholesterol from foods rich in saturated fats (which create bad cholesterol). It has an apparent ability to block the absorption of LDL in the intestines and hence these bad cholesterol packages are not released into the blood stream. That’s how beta-sitosterols help negate bad cholesterol formation in the body.
Add to it that these compounds don’t block the HDL cholesterol, and the mono-unsaturated fats in the Avocado are actually converted to the HDL variety of cholestrol, which directly improves the ratio of HDL to LDL in your blood. You can see a significant lowering of your LDL count (by 10% or more) within a month of eating an avocado every day.
So eating Avocadoes will lower cholesterol, but only the bad kind, and in turn they increase the good cholesterol levels. It’s important that more and more people are enlightened about the benefits of eating foods that improve your good cholesterol levels, like Avocados, Soya beans, Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios and Green vegetables and avoid eating foods that hike the bad cholesterol count.