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12 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado

12 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado

The avocado is a rather unique fruit.

While most fruit consists primarily of carbohydrate, avocado is high in healthy fats.

Numerous studies show that it has powerful health benefits.

Here are 12 health benefits of avocado that are supported by scientific research.

1. Avocado Is Incredibly Nutritious

Benefits of Avocado

Avocado is the fruit of the avocado tree, scientifically known as Persea americana (1Trusted Source).

This fruit is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to various dishes due to its good flavor and rich texture. It is the main ingredient in guacamole.

These days, the avocado has become an incredibly popular food among health-conscious individuals. It’s often referred to as a superfood, which is not surprising given its health properties (2Trusted Source).

There are many types of avocado that vary in shape and color — from pear-shaped to round and green to black. They can also weigh anywhere from 8 ounces (220 grams) to 3 pounds (1.4 kg).

The most popular variety is the Hass avocado.

It’s often called “alligator pear,” which is very descriptive, as it tends to be pear-shaped and has green, bumpy skin like an alligator.

The yellow-green flesh inside the fruit is eaten, but the skin and seed are discarded.

Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.

Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving (3):

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
  • Folate: 20% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
  • Potassium: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
  • It also contains small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).

This is coming with 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber, so there are only 2 “net” carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.

Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat. This is why they are favored by some experts who believe these substances are harmful, which is a debated topic, however.

SUMMARYAvocado is a green, pear-shaped fruit often called an “alligator pear.” It is loaded with healthy fats, fiber and various important nutrients.

2. They Contain More Potassium Than Bananas

Potassium is a nutrient that most people don’t get enough of (4).

This nutrient helps maintain electrical gradients in your body’s cells and serves various important functions.

Avocados are very high in potassium. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving packs 14% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), compared to 10% in bananas, which are a typical high-potassium food (5).

Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure (6Trusted Source).

SUMMARYPotassium is an important mineral that most people don’t get enough of. Avocados are very high in potassium, which should support healthy blood pressure levels.

3. Avocado Is Loaded With Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

Avocado is a high-fat food.

In fact, 77% of the calories in it are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence.

But they don’t just contain any fat. The majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid — a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component of olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its health benefits.

Oleic acid has been associated with reduced inflammation and shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer (7Trusted Source8Trusted Source9Trusted Source10Trusted Source).

The fats in avocado are also rather resistant to heat-induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe choice for cooking.

SUMMARYAvocados and avocado oil are high in monounsaturated oleic acid, a heart-healthy fatty acid that is believed to be one of the main reasons for the health benefits of olive oil.

4. Avocados Are Loaded With Fiber

Fiber is another nutrient that avocados are relatively rich in.

It’s indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many diseases (11Trusted Source12Trusted Source13Trusted Source).

distinction is often made between soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is known for feeding the friendly gut bacteria in your intestine, which are very important for optimal body function (14Trusted Source).

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of avocado packs 7 grams of fiber, which is 27% of the RDA.

About 25% of the fiber in avocado is soluble, while 75% is insoluble (15Trusted Source).

SUMMARYAvocados tend to be rich in fiber — about 7% by weight, which is very high compared to most other foods. Fiber may have important benefits for weight loss and metabolic health.

5. Eating Avocados Can Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels

Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world (16Trusted Source).

It’s known that several blood markers are linked to an increased risk.

This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure and various others.

Eight controlled studies in people have examined the effects of avocado on some of these risk factors.

These studies showed that avocados can (17Trusted Source18Trusted Source19Trusted Source20Trusted Source21Trusted Source22Trusted Source23Trusted Source):

  • Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly.
  • Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%.
  • Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%.
  • Increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by up to 11%.

One of the studies found that including avocado in a low-fat, vegetarian diet significantly improved the cholesterol profile (24Trusted Source).

Though their results are impressive, it’s important to note that all of the human studies were small and short-term, including only 13–37 people with a duration of 1–4 weeks.

SUMMARYNumerous studies have shown that eating avocado can improve heart disease risk factors like total, “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides.

6. People Who Eat Avocados Tend to Be Healthier

One study looked at the dietary habits and health of people who eat avocados.

They analyzed data from 17,567 participants in the NHANES survey in the US.

Avocado consumers were found to be much healthier than people who didn’t eat this fruit.

They had a much higher nutrient intake and were half as likely to have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that are a major risk factor for heart disease and diabetes (25Trusted Source).

People who ate avocados regularly also weighed less, had a lower BMI and significantly less belly fat. They also had higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.

However, correlation does not imply causation, and there is no guarantee that the avocados caused these people to be in better health.

Therefore, this particular study doesn’t carry much weight.

SUMMARYOne dietary survey found that people who ate avocados had a much higher nutrient intake and a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.

7. Their Fat Content May Help You Absorb Nutrients From Plant Foods

When it comes to nutrients, your intake is not the only thing that matters.

You also need to be able to absorb these nutrients — move them from your digestive tract and to your body, where they can be used.

Some nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized.

Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, along with antioxidants like carotenoids.

One study showed that adding avocado or avocado oil to either salad or salsa can increase antioxidant absorption 2.6- to 15-fold (26Trusted Source).

So, not only is avocado highly nutritious, it can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you are eating.

This is an excellent reason to always include a healthy fat source when you eat veggies. Without it, a lot of the beneficial plant nutrients will go to waste.

SUMMARYStudies have shown that eating avocado or avocado oil with vegetables can dramatically increase the number of antioxidants you take in.

8. Avocados Are Loaded With Powerful Antioxidants That Can Protect Your Eyes

Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves.

This includes the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health (27Trusted Source28).

Studies show that they’re linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in older adults (29Trusted Source30Trusted Source).

Therefore, eating avocados should benefit your eye health over the long term.

SUMMARYAvocados are high in antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients are very important for eye health and lower your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

9. Avocado May Help Prevent Cancer

There is limited evidence that avocado may be beneficial in cancer treatment and prevention.

Test-tube studies suggest that it may help reduce side effects of chemotherapy in human lymphocytes (31Trusted Source).

Avocado extract has also been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells in a laboratory (32Trusted Source).

However, keep in mind that these studies were done in isolated cells and don’t necessarily prove what may happen inside people. Human-based research is unavailable.

SUMMARYSome test-tube studies have shown that nutrients in avocados may have benefits in preventing prostate cancer and lowering side effects of chemotherapy. However, human-based research is lacking.

10. Avocado Extract May Help Relieve Symptoms of Arthritis

Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are many types of this condition, which are often chronic problems that people have for the rest of their lives.

Multiple studies suggest that avocado and soybean oil extracts — called avocado and soybean unsaponifiables — can reduce osteoarthritis (33Trusted Source34Trusted Source).

Whether avocados themselves have this effect remains to be seen.

SUMMARYStudies have shown that avocado and soybean oil extracts can significantly reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.

11. Eating Avocado May Help You Lose Weight

There is some evidence that avocados are a weight loss friendly food.

In one study, people eating avocado with a meal felt 23% more satisfied and had a 28% lower desire to eat over the next 5 hours, compared to people who did not consume this fruit (35Trusted Source).

Should this hold true in the long term, then including avocados in your diet may help you naturally eat fewer calories and make it easier for you to stick to healthy eating habits.

Avocados are also high in fiber and very low in carbs, two attributes that should help promote weight loss as well, at least in the context of a healthy, real-food-based diet.

SUMMARYAvocados may aid weight loss by keeping you full longer and making you eat fewer calories. They’re also high in fiber and low in carbs, which may promote weight loss.

12. Avocado Is Delicious and Easy to Incorporate in Your Diet

Avocados are not only healthy, they’re also incredibly delicious and go with many types of food.

You can add them to salads and various recipes or simply scoop them out with a spoon and eat them plain.

They have a creamy, rich, fatty texture and blend well with other ingredients.

A notable mention is guacamole, which is arguably the most famous use of avocados. It includes avocado along with ingredients like salt, garlic, lime and a few others depending on the recipe.

An avocado often takes some time to ripen and should feel slightly soft when ripe. The nutrients in avocado can oxidize and turn brown soon after fleshing it, but adding lemon juice should slow down this process.

SUMMARYAvocados have a creamy, rich, fatty texture and blend well with other ingredients. Therefore, it’s easy to add this fruit to your diet. Using lemon juice may prevent cut avocados from browning quickly.

The Bottom Line

Avocados are an excellent food, loaded with nutrients, many of which are lacking in the modern diet.

They’re weight loss friendly, heart healthy and, last but not least, taste incredible.

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15 Incredibly Heart-Healthy Foods

Heart disease accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths worldwide (1Trusted Source).

Diet plays a major role in heart health and can impact your risk of heart disease.

In fact, certain foods can influence blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.

Here are 15 foods that you should be eating to maximize your heart health.

1. Leafy Green Vegetables

Berry and Almond Salad

Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens are well-known for their wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

In particular, they’re a great source of vitamin K, which helps protect your arteries and promote proper blood clotting (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source).

They’re also high in dietary nitrates, which have been shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease arterial stiffness and improve the function of cells lining the blood vessels (4Trusted Source).

Some studies have also found a link between increasing your intake of leafy green vegetables and a lower risk of heart disease.

One analysis of eight studies found that increasing leafy green vegetable intake was associated with up to a 16% lower incidence of heart disease (5Trusted Source).

Another study in 29,689 women showed that a high intake of leafy green vegetables was linked to a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease (6Trusted Source).

SUMMARYLeafy green vegetables are high in vitamin K and nitrates, which can help reduce blood pressure and improve arterial function. Studies show that a higher intake of leafy greens is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

2. Whole Grains

Whole grains include all three nutrient-rich parts of the grain: germ, endosperm and bran.

Common types of whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat and quinoa.

Compared to refined grains, whole grains are higher in fiber, which may help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease (7Trusted Source8Trusted Source9Trusted Source).

Multiple studies have found that including more whole grains in your diet can benefit your heart health.

One analysis of 45 studies concluded that eating three more servings of whole grains daily was associated with a 22% lower risk of heart disease (10Trusted Source).

Similarly, another study found that eating at least three servings of whole grains significantly decreased systolic blood pressure by 6 mmHg, which is enough to reduce the risk of stroke by about 25% (11Trusted Source).

When purchasing whole grains, make sure to read the ingredients label carefully. Phrases like “whole grain” or “whole wheat” indicate a whole-grain product, while words like “wheat flour” or “multigrain” may not.

SUMMARYStudies show that eating whole grains is associated with lower cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, as well as a lower risk of heart disease.

3. Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are jam-packed with important nutrients that play a central role in heart health.

Berries are also rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which protect against the oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to the development of heart disease (12Trusted Source).

Studies show that eating lots of berries can reduce several risk factors for heart disease.

For example, one study in 27 adults with metabolic syndrome showed that drinking a beverage made of freeze-dried strawberries for eight weeks decreased “bad” LDL cholesterol by 11% (13Trusted Source).

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions associated with a higher risk of heart disease.

Another study found that eating blueberries daily improved the function of cells that line the blood vessels, which help control blood pressure and blood clotting (14Trusted Source).

Additionally, an analysis of 22 studies showed that eating berries was associated with reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, body mass index and certain markers of inflammation (15Trusted Source).

Berries can be a satisfying snack or delicious low-calorie dessert. Try adding a few different types to your diet to take advantage of their unique health benefits.

SUMMARYBerries are rich in antioxidants. Studies show that eating them can reduce multiple risk factors for heart disease.

4. Avocados

Avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to reduced levels of cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease (16Trusted Source).

One study looked at the effects of three cholesterol-lowering diets in 45 overweight and obese people, with one of the test groups consuming one avocado per day.

The avocado group experienced reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol, including lower levels of small, dense LDL cholesterol, which are believed to significantly raise the risk of heart disease (17Trusted Source).

Another study including 17,567 people showed that those who ate avocados regularly were half as likely to have metabolic syndrome (18Trusted Source).

Avocados are also rich in potassium, a nutrient that’s essential to heart health. In fact, just one avocado supplies 975 milligrams of potassium, or about 28% of the amount that you need in a day (19).

Getting at least 4.7 grams of potassium per day can decrease blood pressure by an average of 8.0/4.1 mmHg, which is associated with a 15% lower risk of stroke (20Trusted Source).

SUMMARYAvocados are high in monounsaturated fats and potassium. They may help lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and risk of metabolic syndrome.

5. Fatty Fish and Fish Oil

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been studied extensively for their heart-health benefits.

In one study in 324 people, eating salmon three times a week for eight weeks significantly decreased diastolic blood pressure (21Trusted Source).

Another study showed that eating fish over the long term was linked to lower levels of total cholesterol, blood triglycerides, fasting blood sugar and systolic blood pressure.

Additionally, each 3.5-ounce (100-gram) decrease in weekly fish consumption was associated with a 19% higher likelihood of having one additional risk factor for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity (22Trusted Source).

If you don’t eat much seafood, fish oil is another option for getting your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce blood triglycerides, improve arterial function and decrease blood pressure (23Trusted Source24Trusted Source25Trusted Source26Trusted Source).

Other omega-3 supplements like krill oil or algal oil are popular alternatives.

SUMMARYFatty fish and fish oil are both high in omega-3 fatty acids and may help reduce heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol.

6. Walnuts

Walnuts are a great source of fiber and micronutrients like magnesium, copper and manganese (27).

Research shows that incorporating a few servings of walnuts in your diet can help protect against heart disease.

According to one review, eating walnuts can reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol by up to 16%, lower diastolic blood pressure by 2–3 mm Hg and decrease oxidative stress and inflammation (28Trusted Source).

Another study in 365 participants showed that diets supplemented with walnuts led to greater decreases in LDL and total cholesterol (29Trusted Source).

Interestingly, some studies have also found that regularly eating nuts such as walnuts is associated with a lower risk of heart disease (30Trusted Source31Trusted Source).

SUMMARYStudies suggest that walnuts can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and may be associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

7. Beans

Beans contain resistant starch, which resists digestion and is fermented by the beneficial bacteria in your gut (32Trusted Source).

According to some animal studies, resistant starch can improve heart health by decreasing blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol (33Trusted Source34Trusted Source35Trusted Source).

Multiple studies have also found that eating beans can reduce certain risk factors for heart disease.

In one study in 16 people, eating pinto beans reduced levels of blood triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol (36Trusted Source).

One review of 26 studies also found that a diet high in beans and legumes significantly decreased levels of LDL cholesterol (37Trusted Source).

What’s more, eating beans has been linked to reduced blood pressure and inflammation, both of which are risk factors for heart disease (38Trusted Source).

SUMMARYBeans are high in resistant starch and have been shown to reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, lower blood pressure and decrease inflammation.

8. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, which can help boost heart health.

Interestingly, several studies have associated eating chocolate with a lower risk of heart disease.

One large study showed that those who ate chocolate at least five times per week had a 57% lower risk of coronary heart disease than non-chocolate eaters (39Trusted Source).

Another study found that eating chocolate at least twice per week was associated with a 32% lower risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries (40Trusted Source).

Keep in mind that these studies show an association but don’t necessarily account for other factors that may be involved.

Additionally, chocolate can be high in sugar and calories, which can negate many of its health-promoting properties.

Be sure to pick a high-quality dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%, and moderate your intake to make the most of its heart-healthy benefits.

SUMMARYDark chocolate is high in antioxidants like flavonoids. It has been associated with a lower risk of developing calcified plaque in the arteries and coronary heart disease.

9. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a natural plant pigment with powerful antioxidant properties (41Trusted Source).

Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals, preventing oxidative damage and inflammation, both of which can contribute to heart disease.

Low blood levels of lycopene are linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke (42Trusted Source43Trusted Source).

One review of 25 studies showed that a high intake of foods rich in lycopene was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke (44Trusted Source).

Another study in 50 overweight women found that eating two raw tomatoes four times per week increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol (45Trusted Source).

Higher levels of HDL cholesterol can help remove excess cholesterol and plaque from the arteries to keep your heart healthy and protect against heart disease and stroke (46Trusted Source).

SUMMARYTomatoes are rich in lycopene and have been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as an increase in “good” HDL cholesterol.

10. Almonds

Almonds are incredibly nutrient-dense, boasting a long list of vitamins and minerals that are crucial to heart health.

They’re also a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber, two important nutrients that can help protect against heart disease (47Trusted Source).

Research suggests that eating almonds can have a powerful effect on your cholesterol levels, too.

One study in 48 people with high cholesterol showed that eating 1.5 ounces (43 grams) of almonds daily for six weeks reduced belly fat and levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, two risk factors for heart disease (48Trusted Source).

Another small study had similar findings, reporting that eating almonds for four weeks resulted in significant decreases in both LDL and total cholesterol (49Trusted Source).

Research also shows that eating almonds is associated with higher levels of HDL cholesterol, which can help reduce plaque buildup and keep your arteries clear (50Trusted Source51Trusted Source).

Remember that while almonds are very high in nutrients, they’re also high in calories. Measure your portions and moderate your intake if you’re trying to lose weight.

SUMMARYAlmonds are high in fiber and monounsaturated fats, and have been linked to reductions in cholesterol and belly fat.

11. Seeds

Chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds are all great sources of heart-healthy nutrients, including fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Numerous studies have found that adding these types of seeds to your diet can improve many heart disease risk factors, including inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.

For example, hemp seeds are high in arginine, an amino acid that has been associated with reduced blood levels of certain inflammatory markers (52Trusted Source).

Furthermore, flaxseed may help keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.

One study in people with high blood pressure showed that eating 30 grams of flax seeds every day for half a year decreased systolic blood pressure by an average of 10 mmHg and reduced diastolic blood pressure by 7 mmHg (53Trusted Source).

In one study of 17 people, eating bread made with flaxseed was shown to reduce total cholesterol by 7% and “bad” LDL cholesterol by 9% (54Trusted Source).

Although more research is needed about the effects of chia seeds on heart health in humans, one study in rats found that eating chia seeds lowered blood triglyceride levels and boosted levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol (55Trusted Source).

SUMMARYHuman and animal studies have found that eating seeds may improve several heart disease risk factors, including inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.

12. Garlic

For centuries, garlic has been used as a natural remedy to treat a variety of ailments.

In recent years, research has confirmed its potent medicinal properties and found that garlic can even help improve heart health.

This is thanks to the presence of a compound called allicin, which is believed to have a multitude of therapeutic effects (56Trusted Source).

In one study, taking garlic extract in doses of 600–1,500 mg daily for 24 weeks was as effective as a common prescription drug at reducing blood pressure (57Trusted Source).

One review compiled the results of 39 studies and found that garlic can reduce total cholesterol by an average of 17 mg/dL and “bad” LDL cholesterol by 9 mg/dL in those with high cholesterol (58Trusted Source).

Other studies have found that garlic extract can inhibit platelet buildup, which may reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke (59Trusted Source60Trusted Source).

Be sure to consume garlic raw, or crush it and let it sit for a few minutes before cooking. This allows for the formation of allicin, maximizing its potential health benefits.

SUMMARYGarlic and its components have been shown to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. They may also help inhibit blood clot formation.

13. Olive Oil

A staple in the Mediterranean diet, the heart-healthy benefits of olive oil are well documented.

Olive oil is packed with antioxidants, which can relieve inflammation and decrease the risk of chronic disease (61Trusted Source62Trusted Source).

It’s also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, and many studies have associated it with improvements in heart health.

In fact, one study in 7,216 adults at high risk for heart disease showed that those who consumed the most olive oil had a 35% lower risk of developing heart disease.

Furthermore, a higher intake of olive oil was associated with a 48% lower risk of dying from heart disease (63Trusted Source).

Another large study also showed that a higher intake of olive oil was associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure (64Trusted Source).

Take advantage of the many benefits of olive oil by drizzling it over cooked dishes or adding it to vinaigrettes and sauces.

SUMMARYOlive oil is high in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats. It has been associated with lower blood pressure and heart disease risk.

14. Edamame

Edamame is an immature soybean frequently found in Asian cuisine.

Like other soy products, edamame is rich in soy isoflavones, a type of flavonoid that may help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.

One analysis of 11 studies showed that soy isoflavones reduced total cholesterol by 3.9 mg/dL and “bad” LDL cholesterol by 5 mg/dL (65Trusted Source).

Another analysis showed that 50 grams of soy protein per day decreased LDL cholesterol by an average of 3% (66Trusted Source).

If combined with other changes to diet and lifestyle, even slightly reducing your cholesterol levels can have a big impact on your risk of heart disease.

One study showed that decreasing total cholesterol levels by just 10% was associated with a 15% lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease (67Trusted Source).

In addition to its isoflavone content, edamame is a good source of other heart-healthy nutrients, including dietary fiber and antioxidants (6869Trusted Source).

SUMMARYEdamame contains soy isoflavones, which have been shown to help decrease cholesterol levels. Edamame also contains fiber and antioxidants, which can also benefit heart health.

15. Green Tea

Green tea has been associated with a number of health benefits, from increased fat burning to improved insulin sensitivity (70Trusted Source71Trusted Source).

It’s also brimming with polyphenols and catechins, which can act as antioxidants to prevent cell damage, reduce inflammation and protect the health of your heart.

According to one review of 20 studies, a higher intake of green tea catechins was associated with significantly lower levels of LDL and total cholesterol (72Trusted Source).

What’s more, an analysis including 1,367 people showed that green tea decreased both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (73Trusted Source).

Another small study found that taking green tea extract for three months reduced blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL and total cholesterol, compared to a placebo (74Trusted Source).

Taking a green tea supplement or drinking matcha, a beverage that is similar to green tea but made with the whole tea leaf, may also benefit heart health.

SUMMARYGreen tea is high in polyphenols and catechins. It has been associated with lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.

The Bottom Line

As new evidence emerges, the link between diet and heart disease grows stronger.

What you put on your plate can influence just about every aspect of heart health, from blood pressure and inflammation to cholesterol levels and triglycerides.

Including these heart-healthy foods as part of a nutritious, well-balanced diet can help keep your heart in good shape and minimize your risk of heart disease.