Does Eating Avocado Help Lower Cholesterol?

What you eat and drink has a direct impact on your cholesterol levels, but your lifestyle matters, too. For example, preventive cardiologist Stephen Kopecky told The Wall Street Journal that stress can increase cholesterol. When you're stressed, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones affect blood lipids, leading to higher LDL (the "bad") cholesterol levels.

America's Health Rankings explains that elevated cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. This fatty substance builds up in the artery walls and reduces blood flow to the brain. If left unaddressed, it can block your arteries and cause a heart attack. Also, high cholesterol has no symptoms. The only way to detect it is to get a blood test, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

On the positive side, there are steps you can take to bring your cholesterol levels down. Simple things, such as limiting fatty foods and squeezing more exercise into your schedule, can make all the difference. However, not all fats are created equal. Here's what you should know about avocado, one of the few high-fat fruits, and its impact on blood cholesterol. 

An avocado a day keeps heart disease away

Rich in fat and low in sugar, avocado is a staple of the ketogenic diet. One fruit provides 322 calories, 30 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and 17 grams of carbs, including 14 grams of fiber. It also delivers over 20% of the recommended daily vitamin C intake and large doses of zinc, iron, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin K, according to My Food Data. Despite its high fat content, avocado can be a healthy snack.

As it turns out, this exotic fruit may lower bad cholesterol levels and improve cardiovascular function, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers attribute these effects to its high content of monounsaturated fats. The experts at Winchester Hospital explain that monounsaturated fatty acids may help reduce triglycerides and increase good cholesterol. The dietary fiber in avocado can further lower bad cholesterol and keep your blood sugar levels in check.

A more recent study featured in The Journal of Nutrition found that avocados may improve gut health in overweight and obese individuals. What's more, people who consume this fruit regularly are less likely to gain weight. Obesity and heart disease go hand in hand, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Avocados can make it easier to maintain a normal weight and hence lower your risk of cardiovascular problems. Simply add a few slices to smoothies, diet-friendly desserts, salads, or sushi rolls to reap the benefits.