Whether cut up in a salad, spread on toast or transformed into a delightful guacamole dip, the latest research suggests a diet that includes a couple helpings of avocado a week can be beneficial to cardiovascular health.
The study, appearing in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found adults eating two or more servings a week (one cup) of the staple of Mexican cuisine have a 16 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and 21 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease compared with people who rarely eat avocados. The researchers also determined that the risk of cardiovascular disease was between 16 and 22 percent lower for folks who swapped half a daily serving of margarine, butter, egg, yogurt, cheese, bacon or other processed meats with avocado.
“Our study provides further evidence that the intake of plant-sourced unsaturated fats can improve diet quality and is an important component in cardiovascular disease prevention,” study lead author Lorena S. Pacheco, a postdoctoral research fellow in the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said in a statement.
What the study did
Researchers found the association between avocado consumption and cardiovascular health by analyzing data collected over three decades on more than 100,000 men and women in the United States from two long-term health studies: the Nurses’ Health Study, which involved 68,786 women, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study of 41,701 men. The participants were free of cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke at the start of the studies.
They were followed for about 30 years, during which time they answered dietary questionnaires every four years and underwent health screenings. Researchers documented 9,185 coronary heart disease events and 5,290 strokes during more than 30 years of follow-up. For this study, researchers focused on avocado consumption.