Avocados are a cholesterol-free & sugar-free food.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of the body and can be found in the foods you eat. Cholesterol travels through your bloodstream in small packages called lipoproteins. There are two kinds of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol throughout your body: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Having healthy levels of both types of lipoproteins is important. LDL cholesterol sometimes is called “bad” cholesterol as high levels of this type of cholesterol can cause a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries, which is a risk factor for coronary heart disease.
Plant sterols or phytosterols are a group of compounds or phytochemicals found in plants.
Did you know
Scientific evidence has documented the cholesterol-lowering effects of plant sterols.
Avocados are a fruit source of phytosterols and contain 38 milligrams of beta-sitosterol per 50g serving.
Avocados not only are a great tasting anytime snack, they also contain monounsaturated “good” fats and phytosterols.
They can also help Americans meet the dietary goals of the American Heart Association. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, when monounsaturated fats are eaten in moderation and used in place of saturated or trans fats they can have a beneficial effect by helping to reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood.
How Plant Sterols Affect The Body
Hass Avocado Board Director of Nutrition Nikki A. Ford, provides insight into the topic
What are plant sterols?
Plant sterols or phytosterols, are a group of compounds or phytochemicals found in plants. In the 1950’s, phytosterols were found to have cholesterol-lowering properties. Plant sterols have a molecular structure similar to cholesterol. This allows them, to compete with dietary cholesterol for absorption in the intestines. The three most commonly occurring phytosterols are sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol.
Plant sterols and lifestyle
Scientific evidence has documented the cholesterol-lowering effects of plant sterols. The National Cholesterol Education Program’s (NCEP) ATP III report recommends adopting lifestyle habits to reduce coronary heart disease risk, including a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, weight control and increased physical activity. As another component of the therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC), the NCEP report recommends including 2 grams of plant sterols/day.1
Avocados and plant sterols
In addition to food products fortified with plant sterols, certain whole foods contain naturally-occurring plant sterols, specifically vegetables, whole grains, oils, legumes, fruits and nuts. Avocados are a fruit source of phytosterols. Avocados contain 38 milligrams of beta-sitosterol per 50g serving. Beta-sitosterol is one of the three predominant phytosterols found in plants. These compounds can compete with dietary cholesterol during absorption by the intestines, thereby reducing cholesterol absorption.2
1 National Cholesterol Education Program. Third report of the expert panel on detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults. NIH Pub.No. 02-5215. Bethesda, MD: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2002.
2 Duester KC. Avocado fruit is a rich source of beta-sitosterol. J Am Diet Assoc. 2001;101:404-405.