All you avocado lovers out there can pat yourselves on the back. You probably already knew they were high in good fats, oleic acid, vitamin B-6 and folic acid. Now, you can add another health benefit to the fruit you're crazy about.

Eating an avocado a day may keep the doctor away, according to Science Daily. A new study says eating one daily “as part of a heart healthy, cholesterol-lowering moderate-fat diet can help improve bad cholesterol levels in overweight and obese individuals.” The research was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers studied 45 overweight or obese patients who consumed an average American diet for two weeks prior to the study. After the two weeks, some were put on a lower-fat diet without avocado, some were put on a moderate-fat diet without avocado, and some were put on a moderate-fat diet with one avocado per day.

The patients who consumed the moderate-fat diet with one Hass avocado a day had a larger decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) — commonly known as bad cholesterol. Other “blood measurements were also more favorable after the avocado diet versus the other two cholesterol-lowering diets as well: total cholesterol, triglycerides, small dense LDL, non-HDL cholesterol, and others.”

Does this mean those with cholesterol problems can eat what they want as long as they add an avocado a day to their diets? Not at all. This was a very small study — only 45 people. More research needs to be done to confirm the results. Also, Americans need to learn how to eat avocado as an addition to a healthy diet, not just as a dip for chips.

Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., senior study author and Chair of the American Heart Association's Nutrition Committee, said that this was a controlled study and not what people in the real world usually eat. She commented that many people in the U.S. aren’t used to incorporating avocado into their daily diets unless it’s as guacamole, and guacamole is usually eaten with not-so-healthy corn chips.

Avocado benefits would be more beneficial if the fruit was added to salads, vegetables, sandwiches, lean protein foods or even eaten whole.

If you’d like to add avocado to your healthy diet, try one of these recipes.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.