“The avocado is a food without rival among the fruits, the veritable fruit of paradise.” This high praise comes from botanist and plant explorer David Fairchild, who introduced avocados to America. It also sums up how avocado lovers feel about this fruit, and with good reason. Avocados are tasty, satisfying and full of nutritious goodness. What’s more, a new study suggests that eating avocados regularly can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
The healthy unsaturated fats, fiber and other nutrients in avocados are what make them so good for the heart. Other studies have found that this “fruit of paradise” has a positive effect on risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high cholesterol.
Eating more avocados was found to be connected to a lower risk of cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke. Researchers at the T. H. Chan School of Public Health followed over 68,000 women between the ages of 30 and 55 who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study and over 41,000 men who were 40 to 75 years old and took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
Those who ate at least two servings of avocado each week lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease by 16 percent and their risk of coronary heart disease by 21 percent when compared to people who never or rarely consumed avocados.
Those who ate at least two servings of avocado a week lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease by 16 percent and their risk of coronary heart disease by 21 percent when compared to people who never or rarely consumed avocados.
In addition, people who used a half a serving of avocado every day instead of the same amount of margarine, butter, yogurt, egg, cheese or processed meat had a 16 to 22 percent lower risk of experiencing a cardiovascular disease event, or heart attack. Eating more avocados did not seem to affect the risk of having a stroke.
“We desperately need strategies to improve intake of AHA-recommended healthy diets — such as the Mediterranean diet — that are rich in vegetables and fruits, ” the chair of the American Heart Association’s Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, Cheryl Anderson, said in a statement. “Although no one food is the solution to routinely eating a healthy diet, this study is evidence that avocados have possible health benefits. This is promising because it is a food item that is popular, accessible, desirable and easy to include in meals eaten by many Americans at home and in restaurants.”
The study does have its limitations. It is observational which means that cause and effect cannot be proven. Food intake was self-reported and there is the possibility of measurement errors. The participants were primarily white nurses and health care professionals, so the results may not apply to other populations.
Th study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.