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Originally published January 9 2015

Avocados are heart healthy fruits that lower bad cholesterol and provide complete protein

by PF Louis

(NaturalNews) It's common for weight-watching types and cholesterol-concerned folks to shun avocados at restaurants and totally ignore them when shopping at food markets. But that's a mistake.

Not only have tests shown that this fruit is packed with nutrition, but it actually lowers LDL cholesterol and helps maintain proper weight while giving you the healthy fats that are needed for overall health.

Fruit was not a typo. Though commonly recognized as a vegetable, it's actually a fruit, nicknamed the "alligator pear" because of it's color, bumpy skin and pear shape. It grows on trees in warmer climates. A lot of avocados sold are from California, Florida or Mexico. Hass avocados that resemble alligator pears are the most accessible.

Most don't realize that avocados provide a complete protein. Unlike meats that require pancreatic enzymes to break down difficult proteins, the sun breaks down avocado proteins into easily digested amino acids while they ripen on trees.

Thus the avocado provides all 18 essential amino acids needed to create complete proteins by the body.

Using and selecting avocados

Avocados are an essential part of guacamole, which is a healthy dip or dressing with its chopped onions, tomatoes and jalapenos. But be cautious of the chips that are used for dipping. Avoid GMO corn chips and chips cooked in hydrogenated oils (trans-fats) or you'll offset the health benefits.

Incorporating sliced and diced avocados in salads and sandwiches is a good way to go to include this super fruit into your diet. Or you can simply add good olive oil and vinegar with sea salt for a tasty treat.

Avocados are not among the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) "dirty dozen" foods most heavily sprayed. As a matter of fact, avocados are among the EWG's "clean 15" non-organic plant foods least sprayed.

So you can feel more comfortable grabbing them at lower prices than organic avocados. Selecting them involves knowing when you intend to use them. If sooner rather than later, don't bother with avocados that are hard.

Gently squeezing each will tell which ones are very slightly soft. Those are ready to eat. The hard ones need to sit for some time before being just right for consumption.

Slice the alligator pear in half longitudinally, exposing the pit in its entirety. If eating only half an avocado, use the side without the pit and cover and store the other side in the fridge for a day or two.

Scoop out the meat with a spoon or slice away the skin. The "meat" closest to the skin is the most nutritious.

Recent heart health study to motivate your eating avocado

A Penn State University clinical trial on humans sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA), "The Effect of One Avocado Per Day on Established and Emerging Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Risk Factors," was published and submitted to the AHA late 2014.

The researchers used 45 men and women who were overweight or obese and had slightly elevated LDL and blood pressure levels. They had them all on three different diets for five weeks with a two week break between each diet.

Diet one was low-fat, diet two was moderate-fat, and diet three was moderate-fat with the inclusion of one Hass avocado per day.

All three diets included monounsaturated fats, such as olive or other vegetable oils, tree nuts and peanut butter. But the one with daily avocado produced the lowest levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) as well as the lowest readings for CVD markers: total cholesterol, triglycerides, small dense LDL, non-HDL cholesterol and others.

Study conclusion: "Our results demonstrate that avocados have beneficial effects on cardio-metabolic risk factors that extend beyond their heart-healthy fatty acid profile."


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