The Avocados contain dietary fiber, healthy fats. and other components that have been associated with good cardiovascular health. Now, a team of scientists has found that eating avocados can two or more servings of this fruit per week is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
This is the main conclusion of an observational study published in the ‘Journal of the American Heart Association’, which notes that. substituting avocado for certain fat-containing foodssuch as butter, cheese or processed meats, is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease events.
The authors believe this is the first large-scale prospective work-a 30-year follow-up-to support the positive association between higher avocado consumption and a decrease in cardiovascular events, such as the coronary heart disease and strokereports a release from the American Heart Association. “Our study provides further evidence that intake of unsaturated fats from plant sources may improve dietary quality and is an important component in the prevention of cardiovascular disease,” summarizes Lorena S. Pacheco, lead author of the study and researcher in the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
For 30 years, the researchers followed 68,780 women (aged 30 to 55 years) and about 41,700 men (aged 40 to 75 years). All were free of cancercoronary artery disease and stroke at baseline of the study and lived in the United States. The investigators documented 9,185 cases of coronary heart disease and 5,290 strokes during the more than 30 years of follow-up.
They assessed the participants’ diets using questionnaires, at the start of the study and every four years. These asked them about the amount of avocado consumed and the frequency of intake: one serving was equivalent to half of an avocado or half a cup of avocado.
According to observations, 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 diseasecompared to those who never or rarely ate avocados.
According to the statistical model, the substitution of half a daily serving of margarine, butter, egg, yogurt, cheese, or processed meats such as bacon with the same amount of avocado was associated with a 16% to 22% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Substitution of half a daily serving of avocado for the equivalent amount of olive oil, nuts and other vegetable oils showed no additional benefit. No significant associations were observed in relation to the risk of stroke and the amount of avocado consumed.
“Substituting certain spreads and foods containing saturated fats, such as cheese and processed meats, for avocado is something that physicians and other health care professionals can do when meeting with patients, especially because avocado is a well-accepted food“, notes Pacheco.
The study is observational, so no direct cause and effect can be demonstrated..
There are further limitations, such as that related to data collection and the composition of the study population: the study analyses may be affected by measurement errors, as dietary intake was self-reported. The participants were mostly white nurses and healthcare professionals, so these results may not be applicable to other groups.