A new study conducted by researchers from the American Heart Association (AHA) explored the heart health benefits linked with avocados. Their findings showed that eating two servings of avocados each week may lower consumers’ risk of cardiovascular disease.
“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,” said researcher Lorena S. Pacheco, Ph.D. “These are particularly notable findings since the consumption of avocados has risen steeply in the U.S. in the last 20 years, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
Healthier foods lead to better outcomes
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from nearly 70,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and over 41,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Participants completed questionnaires on how often they ate certain foods at the beginning of the study and then followed up every four years for 30 years. The researchers then analyzed the correlation between diet choices and long-term heart health.
The researchers learned that avocados were beneficial for the participants’ cardiovascular health. The study showed that those who ate at least two servings of avocados each week, which is about one avocado, were 16% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 21% less likely to develop coronary heart disease.
The study also showed that consumers who swapped out unhealthy fat options with avocados had better heart health outcomes. For example, choosing avocados over butter, margarine, cheese, or bacon was linked with as high as a 22% lower risk of heart disease.
The researchers hope health care professionals encourage consumers to make these simple diet changes in an effort to promote better long-term heart health.
“These findings are significant because a healthy dietary pattern is the cornerstone for cardiovascular health, however, it can be difficult for many Americans to achieve and adhere to healthy eating patterns,” said researcher Cheryl Anderson, Ph.D.
“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.”