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Avocado, Roasted Corn, and Cilantro Salsa

Most people are familiar with the need to get the right amount of healthy fat in their diet. Eating an entire avocado is one way in which you might be able to lower your cholesterol and get plenty of heart healthy fats, according to a study published recently in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers evaluated 45 healthy, overweight adults who consumed an average American diet, which contains high amounts of saturated fats and carbs, for a period of two weeks. After the two-week period ended, the participants were switched to a low fat (less than 25%) or one of two different moderate-fat (less than 35% fat) diets for five weeks.

For the moderate diets, one of them contained healthy fats like sunflower and canola oil, and the second received the majority of the fat from one whole avocado per day, with an average reduction of 13 points, while the others averaged about an 8-point reduction in LDL levels.

All 45 participants had improvements in their LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), which is likely because the low and moderate fat diets all contained less saturated fat than an average American diet. Those on the moderate fat diet containing an entire avocado each day experienced the most improvement.

Researchers conclude that while all sources of monounsaturated fat, including avocado, have the fatty acids that are beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels and improving heart health, but avocados seem to have additional properties that are helpful. Avocados contain high amounts of fibre and plant sterols, as well as certain sugars that help you feel fuller longer.

Keep in mind that although avocados do contain all of these great things, they still come with about 320 calories and 30g of fat, so eating an entire avocado each day may not be the best plan. Instead, consider adding half an avocado instead of other less-healthy foods to reduce your cholesterol and still stay within your daily fat and calorie intake goals.

Consider using avocado as a spread instead of mayo, or add it to your soups instead of sour cream for a creamy effect. Avocados make great snacks, with a sprinkle of lime juice and sea salt, too!