Avocados Help Control Cholesterol

Eating avocados instead of cheese, butter or other high-fat foods may help reduce cholesterol and improve your lipid profile.Avocados Help Control Cholesterol4.6- 23 ratingsHOME REMEDIESTerry GraedonMarch 15, 202115 Comments

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Would you like to find an easy, tasty way to lower your cholesterol and benefit your heart health? Many readers would be enthusiastic about this prospect. A few readers have offered their experience consuming avocados to get cholesterol down.

Should You Really Avoid Avocado?

Q. My cholesterol is elevated, and my doctor has given me a list of foods to avoid. One of them is avocado, which I love.

Some friends have told me avocados are fine even if you have high cholesterol. Who is right?

A. We are going to side with your friends. Researchers noted that avocados lower LDL cholesterol and studied “whether a healthy diet with 1 avocado daily” would reduce dangerous oxidized LDL cholesterol (Journal of Nutrition, Feb. 1, 2020).  They invited 45 overweight men and women to follow three different diets for five weeks each: a low-fat diet, a moderate fat diet and a diet containing one avocado daily. The avocado diet lowered oxidated LDL better than the other diets and reduced small, dense LDL particles. This sounds like a win.

Food Instead of Statins:

Q. I have had high cholesterol for many years, mostly around 335. Statin drugs to lower it produced unpleasant side effects.

I read about avocados lowering cholesterol in your column and I love them! So for two months I ate one every week.

When I had my blood work done, the doctor even called me at home in the evening to give me the report. He was amazed at how well I am doing.

My cholesterol count is now 215. The doctor says to keep it up.

A. Seven months ago we heard from a reader that eating an avocado every week helped lower his cholesterol from over 200 to 176. We are pleased to learn that this also worked for you.

The Science on Avocados for Cholesterol:

Research in rats has shown that adding this fruit to the diet can improve desirable HDL cholesterol (Archivos de Cardiologia de Mexico, Mar. 2007). An early clinical trial in humans suggested that an avocado-enriched diet could help lower total and LDL cholesterol while it raised HDL cholesterol (Archives of Medical Research, Winter 1996).

A meta-analysis found that avocados raise HDL but don’t lower LDL or total cholesterol (Mahmassani et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 1, 2018). On the other hand, a different analysis determined that eating avocado instead of other fatty foods lowered total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides significantly (Peou et al, Journal of Clinical Lipidology, Jan-Feb. 2016). 

Avocados are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, the same type found in olive oil. You seem to have found a delicious way to control your cholesterol. For other ideas, see our Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health.