Consuming one avocado per day for half a year reduces an individual’s total cholesterol by 2.9 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and LDL cholesterol by 2.5 mg/dL, academics have said.
A team of established researchers also detected better eating habits amongst people who frequently eat avocados compared to those with a low intake of the fruit.
However, an individual’s avocado intake did not impact their waist circumference, liver fat or belly fat, the findings have demonstrated.
Senior author, Professor Penny Kris-Etherton said: “While the avocados did not affect belly fat or weight gain, the study still provides evidence that avocados can be a beneficial addition to a well-balanced diet.
“Incorporating an avocado per day in this study did not cause weight gain and also caused a slight decrease in LDL cholesterol, which are all important findings for better health.”
According to fellow researcher Kristina Petersen, the diets of people with a daily intake of avocados improved by eight per cent.
She said: “Adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is generally poor in the U.S., and our findings suggest that eating an avocado per day can substantially increase overall diet quality.
“This is important because we know a higher diet quality is associated with lower risk of several diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”
More than 1,000 people took part in the study, all of whom were either overweight or classified as obese.
During the six-month long experiment, 50 per cent of the group ate an avocado every day, while the other half followed their normal diets and were instructed to eat no more than two avocados per month.
The researchers examined the participant’s abdominal fat by using MRI, both at the start and end of the experiment.
“While one avocado a day did not lead to clinically significant improvements in abdominal fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors, consuming one avocado a day did not result in body weight gain,” said co-author Professor Joan Sabaté.
He added: “This is positive because eating extra calories from avocados doesn’t impact body weight or abdominal fat, and its slightly decreases total and LDL-cholesterol.”
The study has been published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.