For years we have heard the age-old cliché “an apple a day” but maybe it’s time we update this old wives tale of health advice to “an avocado a day.” A new study has published results regarding the health benefits of the Mexican fruit, that is so wonderfully highlighted in guacamole, and while the study is new, the results are seemingly the same. Eating a heart-healthy diet that includes avocados may lower bad cholesterol in otherwise healthy overweight and obese people.  Just to clarify, the study results do not indicate that simply eating avocadoes all day will be healthy. But the study’s senior researcher clarified the results, stating that avocados incorporated into healthy diets reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. "They shouldn't just add an avocado to their diet, but it would be good if they incorporated an avocado into a healthy diet," said Penny Kris-Etherton, who chairs the American Heart Association's Nutrition Committee and is a nutrition expert at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

Kris-Etherton and her colleagues in the Journal of the American Heart Association recommend that 5 to 6 % of calories should be attained from eating saturated fatty acids, which are found in foods like butter, fatty meat and cheese. Instead of continued consumption of fatty acids, healthy diets and people should replace these foods with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. The study states that avocadoes are considered monounsaturated fatty acids, and also possess several other beneficial components, such as vitamins, minerals and fiber.

The study assigned 45 otherwise healthy overweight and obese people between ages 21 and 70, 1 of 3 diets that aimed at reducing cholesterol. The study stated that participants ate a normal “American diet” for 2 weeks before the study began, and then replaced their poor eating habits with cholesterol-lowering diets. The participants followed either a low-fat diet without avocado, a moderate-fat diet without avocado or a moderate-fat diet with one avocado added every day. At the beginning of this research the average LDL cholesterol among participants was about 128 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). An LDL level below 100 mg/dL is considered ideal, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. 5 weeks into the assigned diets, average LDL levels (which is the considered the bad cholesterol for it’s penchant to clog arteries) had fallen by 7.4 mg/dL in the low fat without avocado group and 8.3 mg/dL in the moderate-fat without avocado group. However, those participants on the moderate-fat diet with avocado had the largest change in bad cholesterol. Their average LDL level fell by 13.5 mg/dL, the researchers found.

"A healthy diet works, but there are some added benefits from including the avocado," said Kate Patton, a preventive-cardiology dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Also adding that the added benefits of an avocado may aide people in staying on track with their healthy diets, thus making them more successful. "Fiber basically helps you feel full longer and digest a lot slower," said Patton.