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5 Powerhouse Benefits of Avocado You Didn’t Know About

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Avocados have a bad rep for being fatty, but the fats are healthy and the flesh is full of vitamins and minerals. See how else it benefits your body. By Alyssa Jung adapted from Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal (Reader’s Digest Association)

Avocado lowers cholesterol.

Avocados are rich in plant sterols, compounds shown to lower cholesterol by blocking its absorption into the bloodstream. A randomized trial published in JAMA followed a small group of adults with hypertension over a period of two years, and found that replacing a carbohydrate-heavy diet with one rich in monounsaturated fats resulted in lower blood pressure and improved lipid levels. Dutch researchers analyzed 60 trials to explore the effects of various fats on cholesterol levels, and also found that replacing carbohydrates with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats lead to a decrease in “bad cholesterol” and an increase in “good cholesterol.”

Avocado reduces risk of heart disease.

Studies have shown that substituting saturated fat with unsaturated fat—avocado’s calling card—can reduce heart disease risk better than merely lowering overall fat intake. An analysis of 50 studies and clinical trials showed that a Mediterranean diet, which is high in monounsaturated fat, […]