Written By Lisa S. Jones / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Eating one avocado a day may help keep "bad cholesterol" at bay, Penn State researchers claim. They say bad cholesterol can refer to both oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and small, dense LDL particles. In a randomized, controlled feeding study, the researchers found that eating one avocado a day was associated with lower levels of LDL - specifically small, dense LDL particles - and oxidized LDL in adults that are overweight or obese. Specifically, the study - published in the Journal of Nutrition - found that avocados helped reduce LDL particles that had been oxidized. Similar to the way oxygen can damage food, like a cut apple turning brown, the researchers say oxidation is also bad for the human body.
Because the moderate-fat diet without avocados included the same monounsaturated fatty acids found in avocados, it is likely that the fruit has additional bioactives that contributed to the benefits of the avocado diet. "We were able to show that when people incorporated one avocado a day into their diet, they had fewer small, dense LDL particles than before the diet," says Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition. "Consequently, people should consider adding avocados to their diet in a healthy way, like on whole-wheat toast or as a veggie dip. A lot of research points to oxidation being the basis for conditions like cancer and heart disease. We know that when LDL particles become oxidized, that starts a chain reaction that can promote atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of plaque in the artery wall. Oxidation is not good, so if you can help protect the body through the foods that you eat, that could be very beneficial. When you think about bad cholesterol, it comes packaged in LDL particles, which vary in size. All LDL is bad, but small, dense LDL is particularly bad.
A key finding was that people on the avocado diet had fewer oxidized LDL particles. They also had more lutein, which may be the bioactive that's protecting the LDL from being oxidized. "Nutrition research on avocados is a relatively new area of study, so I think we're at the tip of the iceberg for learning about their health benefits," Kris-Etherton added. "Avocados are really high in healthy fats, carotenoids which are important for eye health and other nutrients. They are such a nutrient-dense package, and I think we're just beginning to learn about how they can improve health."
Scientists Develop Self-Powered Heart Monitor
In related heart news, scientists have developed a self-powered heart monitor that is taped to the skin. This human-friendly, ultra-flexible organic sensor is powered by the sun. There is a directly integrated sensory device known as the organic electrochemical transistor - an electronic device used to measure biological functions - infused into a flexible organic solar cell. With the use of this, the heartbeats of humans and animals are easily measured under bright light conditions. The research was carried out by RIKEN in collaboration with researchers from the University of Tokyo.
Previously, scientists had developed flexible photovoltaic cells incorporated into textiles. This self-powered device that fits perfectly on the skin can be used as a psychological sensor for monitoring the heart as well as the brain functions in the human body. However, this may be impractical due to constraints such as insufficient power supply or bulkiness of batteries, impeding comfortability, long-term operation and noise interference from the electrical supply.
The major requirement of this device is a stable energy supply. The device uses a nano-grating surface on the light absorbers of solar cells allowing high efficiency of photo conversion (PCE) and light angle independency. In recent research on the self-powered heart monitor – published in Nature - researchers were able to achieve a PCE of 10.5 percent and a moderately high power-per-weight ratio of 11.5 watts per gram, making the photovoltaic cell a fierce competitor with their silicon-based competitors. Under a repetitive compression test of 900 cycles there has been a decrease in PCE of about 25 percent and a higher PCE gain of 45 percent compared to non-grating devices under 60 degrees of light angle.
When further emphasis was placed on the practical application of this device, organic electrochemical transistors - sensory devices - were integrated on an ultra-thin substrate with organic solar cells to allow the direction of the self-powered heartbeat to record electrocardiographic (ECG) signals directly on the heart of a rat. The device worked well at a lightening level of about 10,000 lux and also experienced less noise than other devices connected to batteries.
"This is a nice step forward in the quest to make self-powered medical monitoring devices that can be placed on human tissue,” says Kenjiro Fukuda of the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science. “There are some important remaining tasks, such as the development of flexible power storage devices, and we will continue to collaborate with other groups to produce practical devices. Importantly, for the current experiments we worked on the analog part of our device, which powers the device and conducts the measurement. There is also a digital silicon-based portion, for the transmission of data, and further work in that area will also help to make such devices practical."
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Lisa S. Jones is a certified nurse, nutritionist, fitness coach and health expert. Her training credentials include a B.Sc. in Nursing from California State University in 2013 and Youth Nutrition Specialist Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates in 2015. In 2017, she also received Holistic Nutrition Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.