Eating Avocados May Lower Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

It is well known that consumption of avocados confers many health benefits. A new study has discovered more therapeutic properties of this humble stone fruit.

A review of existing studies that documented the possible health effects of avocados on human health finds that the fruit could help treat risk factors of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is defined as a cluster of risk factors including high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, high fasting blood sugar, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (or “good” cholesterol) and high triglyceride levels that are associated with the development of other health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

The study by researchers at the University of Medical Sciences in Mashhad, Iran revealed that eating avocados reduces the risk for developing the aforementioned biochemical and physiological abnormalities.

In order to examine the effects of avocado on metabolic health, co-author Hossein Hosseinzadeh, of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, and colleagues reviewed 129 previously published in vivo, in vitro, and clinical studies that investigated the effects of avocado on human health.

The review of the studies showed that consumption of avocados had the greatest impact on lipid levels. It reduces triglyceride levels, lowers blood pressure, decreases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, increases HDL (“good”) cholesterol, decreases body weight and fat.

Hosseinzadeh and colleagues refer to one study that involved 67 adults, of whom 30 had a healthy lipid profile and the rest had mild hypercholesterolemia. As part of the study, the participants were asked to eat a diet loaded with avocados for four weeks. The team found that after a week of avocado-enriched diet consumption both groups had a reduction in LDL and total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

“The reported mechanism of this effect was regulating of the hydrolysis of certain lipoproteins and their selective uptake and metabolism by different tissues such as liver and pancreas,” explain the review’s authors.

“Another possible mechanism could be related to the marked proliferation of the liver smooth endoplasmic reticulum which is known to be associated with induction of enzymes involved in lipid biosynthesis.”

The researchers also uncovered evidence that daily consumption of avocado could be effective for decreasing body mass index (BMI), body weight and body fat in obese and overweight people. There were also evidence revealing avocado intake can lessen blood pressure among people with hypertension.

“Satisfactory clinical evidence suggested that avocado can be used as herbal dietary supplements for treatment of different components of MetS,” the authors noted.

Hosseinzadeh and colleagues reported their findings this month in scientific journal Psychotherapy Research.