The old saying an apple per day keeps the doctor away should be modified in the light of the very recent scientific results. Indeed, the researchers of the Pennsylvania State University have observed that an avocado per day is able to reduce the oxidized LDL cholesterol and at the same time to increase the values of antioxidants in blood. The research was published in The Journal of Nutrition (Wang et al, J Nutr, Oct 2019).
The scientists started from the consideration that the oxidation processes in the body are the cause of cancers and heart diseases. In particular, when the bad LDL cholesterol oxidizes starts a chain reaction that brings to atherosclerosis. For this reason, oxidation in the body should be counteracted, also with diet. A previous study demonstrated that avocado is able to reduce the LDL cholesterol levels, well, scientists were curious about whether avocado could reduce also oxidized LDL cholesterol. To understand this, 45 persons aged 21-70 with overweight and high values of LDL were recruited. The participants were divided into three groups, the first should follow a low fat diet, the second a diet with a moderate intake of fat guaranteed by plant based oils rich in oleic acid, the third a diet that included an avocado per day. After 5 weeks the third group, namely the avocado diet group, showed significantly lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol than the other groups. Moreover, the people of the third groups had also in blood higher values of lutein, an antioxidant.
This research is at its beginning, the studied group is in fact very small, just 45 people, and a lot remains to do to understand the role played by the different nutrients in avocado, for example fatty acids and carotenoids, on health. However, for sure this research is really promising and add an important piece in this quite new scientific field that studies the connection between diet and health.