An avocado a day helps lower bad cholesterol levels

AvocadoSetting out a Christmas Eve snack for Santa? It’s no wonder the Jolly Old Elf is obese. There isn’t enough holiday magic to turn a plate of cookies and glass of whole milk into health foods.

In fact, dairy products, animal fats, and foods made with butter and cream are high in saturated fat. Too much of them raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Over time, this can block blood vessels and limit blood flow to the heart and brain. Bad cholesterol raises the risk for a heart attack or stroke.

What’s a heart healthy holiday snack? It’s good. It’s green. And it contains healthy fats that help lower bad cholesterol. The answer: Deck the halls and your plate with avocados.

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed just how healthy avocados can be. Eating one a day for five weeks helped obese people lower bad cholesterol. In the United States, about 72 percent of adults are overweight or obese. Healthy fats and antioxidants in avocados can also help:

  • Prevent plaque build-up on artery walls
  • Reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke
  • Lower the risk for certain types of cancer
  • Improve blood pressure
  • Lower triglycerides
  • Support brain function
  • Control hunger and aid in weight management

Spread avocado on whole-grain toast. Try veggie dip made with avocado. Add avocado to a salad or sandwich. And leave a healthy snack for Santa: carrot sticks and guacamole. His reindeer will thank you.

Tip: Keep track of calories and what you eat with a food diary or mobile app.

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