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Avocados May Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Study

After controlling for a variety of cardiovascular risk factors and overall diet, study participants who ate at least two servings of avocado per week had a 16% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease than those who never or rarely ate avocados.

Shivam Dwivedi
Avocados
Avocados

According to a recent study, eating two avocados per week was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The findings were published in the 'Journal of the American Heart Association.' Avocados contain dietary fibre, unsaturated fats, particularly monounsaturated fat (healthy fats), and other beneficial components linked to good cardiovascular health.

Avocados have previously been shown in clinical trials to have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular risk factors such as high cholesterol. The researchers believe this is the first large, prospective study to show a link between higher avocado consumption and lower cardiovascular events like coronary heart disease and stroke.

Findings of Study

"Our study adds to the growing body of evidence that eating plant-based unsaturated fats can improve diet quality and is an important component in cardiovascular disease prevention," said Lorena S. Pacheco, PhD, MPH, RDN, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow in the nutrition department at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

"These are particularly noteworthy findings given that avocado consumption in the United States has risen steeply in the last 20 years, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture," she added.

Over 68,780 women (ages 30 to 55 years) from the Nurses' Health Study and 41,700 men (ages 40 to 75 years) from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study were followed for 30 years. At the start of the study, all study participants were free of cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke and lived in the United States.

During a 30-year period of follow-up, researchers recorded 9,185 coronary heart disease events and 5,290 strokes. Researchers evaluated participants' diets by administering food frequency questionnaires at the start of the study and then every four years. They calculated avocado intake using a questionnaire item that asked about the amount and frequency of consumption. Half an avocado or a half cup avocado was equal to one serving.

The analysis found:

After controlling for a variety of cardiovascular risk factors and overall diet, study participants who ate at least two servings of avocado per week had a 16% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease than those who never or rarely ate avocados.

According to statistical modelling, substituting half a serving of avocado for half a serving of margarine, butter, egg, yoghurt, cheese, or processed meats like bacon was associated with a 16% to 22% lower risk of cardiovascular disease events.

There was no additional benefit from substituting half a serving of avocado per day for the equivalent amount of olive oil, nuts, or other plant oils.

There were no significant associations between stroke risk and avocado consumption.

"The study's findings have provided health care professionals with additional guidance to share." Offering the suggestion to replace certain spreads and saturated fat-containing foods, such as cheese and processed meats, with avocado is something physicians and other health care practitioners, such as registered dietitians, can do when they meet with patients, Pacheco said.

"These findings are significant because a healthy dietary pattern is a cornerstone for cardiovascular health," said Cheryl Anderson, PhD, M.P.H., FAHA, chair of the American Heart Association's Council on Epidemiology and Prevention.

"We desperately need strategies to increase intake of AHA-recommended healthy diets rich in vegetables and fruits, such as the Mediterranean diet," said Anderson, professor and dean of the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at the University of California, San Diego.

"Although no single food is the answer to eating a healthy diet on a regular basis, this study provides evidence that avocados may have health benefits." This is promising because it is a food item that is popular, accessible, desirable, and simple to incorporate into meals consumed by many Americans at home and in restaurants," Cheryl concluded.

(Source: ANI)

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