nutrient-‐dense avocados in the diet for heart health. Researchers from the University of the Pacific, California USA found that adding avocado in the diet daily significantly decreases key cholesterol markers associated with heart disease risk.
The meta-‐analysis of 10 clinical trials combined the results of 229 participants studied over 2 to 12 weeks.
Participants consumed between 136g to 300g of avocado daily; the equivalent of the edible portion of one
large or two small Australian avocados a day.
Results showed avocado consumption lead to significantly reduced total cholesterol by 0.49mmol/L, LDL
cholesterol by 0.43mmol/L and triglycerides by 0.70mmol/L. HDL cholesterol was reduced by a non-‐significant 0.005mmol/L.
Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian and consultant for the Australian Avocado Industry Lisa Yates
explains the significance of the results, which demonstrate that avocados can help lower blood cholesterol; a
major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
“Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of death in Australia, with 43,600 deaths attributed to CVD in 2013 – that’s one Australian dying from CVD every 12 minutes. One third of Australian adults had also
measured high cholesterol, meaning they are at risk of CVD2. Results of this new avocado meta-‐analysis
demonstrate how a simple change to the diet, such as adding avocado, can have significant health benefits.”
Previous research has found for each 10% decrease in total cholesterol this can result in a significant 15%
reduced risk for coronary heart disease (CHD)-‐related mortality.3
The new avocado research showed swapping avocado for saturated fats in the diet had the greatest health
benefits, versus adding avocado to an existing diet.
“Avocados are an excellent substitute for ‘bad’ fats in the diet (saturated fats and trans fats) that can raise
LDL cholesterol levels. Swapping avocado for butter on sandwiches and toast is a classic example,” said Ms
While authors of the new meta-‐analysis concluded the study effectively evaluated the use of avocados in
improving blood lipid profiles, they also advocate larger trials be conducted to determine the optimal amount
and frequency of avocado consumption for specific blood lipids, as well as the impact of avocado on
The research paper noted some limitations of the meta analysis, including weight loss during the trial and
small sample sizes in important subgroups such as those who are overweight or have diabetes.
Six of the 10 studies measured participants’ weight before and after an avocado enriched diet over two to six weeks. Body weight decreased in all six studies but was statistically significant in only three.
Given weight loss can also reduce blood lipids, this may have impacted results. However, what the study does show is that avocado can be included in diets and still result in weight loss.
“While further trials would certainly be beneficial, results of this study are highly positive and reflect similar
findings from studies of other healthy fat foods, including nuts and olive oil. Not only do results demonstrate
the health benefits of including more avocado in the diet, but also show the addition of healthy fat can still
result in weight loss. Avocados also offer a range of other heart healthy nutrients including vitamin C and E,
potassium, fibre, antioxidants and plant sterols4,” concluded Ms Yates.
Australian Avocados recommends eating at least a third of a small or a quarter of a large avocado each day
(50g) for health benefits. For further nutrition information on Australian Avocados or ideas for how to include
avocado in the diet, visit http://avocado.org.au.
Asian Noodles with Ginger, Garlic and Avocado
Zesty Balsamic Avocado
Stir Fried Chicken Mince and Avocado Pita Bread Pockets
1) Peou S, Milliard-‐Hasting B, Shah SA. Impact of avocado-‐enriched diets on plasma lipoproteins: A meta-‐analysis. J Clin Lipidol. 2016 Jan-‐Feb;10(1):161-‐71.
3) Gould AL et al Cholesterol reduction yields clinical benefits: meta-‐analysis including recent trials. Clin Ther. 2007 May;29(5):778-‐94.