Podcast Episode 163: Avocados, Antioxidant Potential and Heart Health – Patricia Bannan

Nov 10, 2020

This episode is sponsored by Fresh Avocados – Love One Today® and we thank them for their support of the podcast. Love One Today® is a science-based food and wellness education program that encourages Americans to include fresh Hass avocados in everyday healthy eating plans to help increase fruit and vegetable intake and as a delicious, heart-healthy, whole food source of fiber and naturally good fats. Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, is a spokesperson for Fresh Avocados – Love One Today®.

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A Moderate-Fat Diet with One Avocado per Day Increases Plasma Antioxidants and Decreases the Oxidation of Small, Dense LDL in Adults with Overweight and Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial published in The Journal of Nutrition

In addition to the well-known healthy, monounsaturated fats in avocados, this research suggests that the phytosterols and other bioactives may also make a beneficial impact as well.”

Avocados are a nutrient-dense source of monounsaturated fatty acids (5g of MUFAs per one-third of a medium avocado) and other essential nutrients. They may have an additional LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering effect beyond that observed when their MUFAs are substituted for saturated fatty acids (SFAs), especially on small, dense LDL (sdLDL) particles, which are susceptible to in vivo oxidation and associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

This study investigated whether a healthy diet with 1 avocado daily decreased the following secondary outcomes: circulating oxidized LDL (oxLDL) and related oxidative stress markers.

A randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial was conducted with 45 men and women, aged 21–70 y, with overweight or obesity and elevated LDL-C (25th–90th percentile). Three cholesterol-lowering diets were provided (5 wk each) in random sequences: a lower-fat (LF) diet (24% calories from fat—7% SFAs, 11% MUFAs, 6% PUFAs) and 2 moderate-fat (MF) diets (34% calories from fat—6% SFAs, 17% MUFAs, 9% PUFAs): the avocado (AV) diet included 1 Hass avocado (∼136 g) per day, and the MF diet used high oleic acid oils to match the fatty acid profile of 1 avocado. A general linear mixed model was used to analyze the treatment effects. This study was supported by the Avocado Nutrition Center as part of the Love One Today® education program.

Tune in to this episode to learn key takeaways from this study about:

  • the potential role of avocados in lowering cholesterol
  • additional effects regarding antioxidant potential and oxidation of small dense LDL
  • phytosterols and other bioactives in avocados
  • simple heart-healthy tips for swapping good fats for typical sources of saturated fat in the diet and adding fiber in recipes

As with all research, there are limitations to consider, including the relatively short duration of the diet intervention, the analytical method used to quantify one of the oxidative biomarkers, and the small subset sample size for assessing aspects of gene expression. A longer-term diet intervention and measuring additional biomarkers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and antioxidant capability would be helpful to further understand the effect of avocados on inflammation and endothelial function.


Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN

Patricia Bannan

Patricia Bannan is a nationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist and healthy cooking expert. She is the author of Eat Right When Time Is Tight and has shared expert advice on shows such as The TODAY Show, The Doctors, ABC News, Fox News Channel and CNN. She has also written for and been interviewed by magazines such as O, The Oprah Magazine, People, Self, Shape, Fitness, Glamour, Parenting, Men’s Health, Redbook and Good Housekeeping.

In addition to her nutrition expertise, Patricia received a professional chef certificate from The New School of Cooking in Los Angeles. She enjoys using her culinary skills to develop recipes, shoot cooking videos, and teach clients how to make healthful changes in their lives starting in the kitchen. Her website, PatriciaBannan.com, shares recipes and expert advice to help people live their best life.

When she’s not traveling the world talking about nutrition, you can find Patricia at home in Los Angeles with her husband, children, and labradoodle, Pablo.


Study overview | Published study – A Moderate-Fat Diet with One Avocado per Day Increases Plasma Antioxidants and Decreases the Oxidation of Small, Dense LDL in Adults with Overweight and Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial –  published in the Journal of Nutrition – October 2019

Fresh Avocados – Love One Today® Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn

Heart-Healthy Slow Cooker Avocado Lime Chicken Soup recipe

Patricia Bannan Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter




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