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2 Servings of Avocado per Week May Cut Heart Disease Risk by 16%. New research finds that two servings of avocado a week may reduce cardiovascular risk.
- Researchers examined the relationship between avocado consumption and cardiovascular events.
- They found that eating 2 or more servings of avocado per week is linked to 16% fewer cardiovascular events over a 30-year period. One serving is half an avocado or 80 grams.
- The researchers conclude that replacing certain fat-containing foods with avocado could lower cardiovascular disease risk.
- BUT... They note however that replacing plant oils with avocado is linked to a 45% higher stroke risk.
A healthy replacement for fats
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. However, it can be prevented through lifestyle factors like diet.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting saturated fatty acids (SFA) and trans-fats to 5- 6% of your total caloric intake, then replacing that with monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats for better heart health.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA)Trusted Source.
Avocados are rich in MUFAs and polyunsaturated fats. Studies have found that their regular consumption reduces triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and total cholesterol level.
Most studies on avocado consumption have focused on cardiovascular risk factors. Studies investigating the link between avocado consumption and cardiovascular events could improve understanding of the fruit’s health benefits.
Recently, researchers have investigated the link between avocado consumption and cardiovascular events. They found that higher consumption of avocados was linked to a lower risk of CVD and coronary heart disease (CHD).
The results are significant and strengthen previous findings of avocados’ association with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. It should be noted, however, that avocado consumption doesn’t lower the risk of stroke in the study. Another point to be noted: avocado is not a replacement for healthy dietary fats such as olive oils, nuts, and other plant oils.
For the study, researchers included participants who did not have a history of heart disease, stroke, or cancer.
Males and females with higher avocado intake tended to have higher total energy intake and a healthier diet with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and dairy products such as yogurt and cheese.
After adjusting for major dietary and lifestyle factors, the researchers found that having two or more servings of avocado per week was linked to a 16% lower CVD risk and 21% lower CHD risk compared to those who did not eat avocados. They also found that replacing half a serving per day of mayonnaise, margarine, butter, egg, yogurt, cheese, or processed meats with the same amount of avocado was linked to a 19–31% lower risk of coronary heart disease.
They reported no significant association between stroke risk and avocado consumption. However, they noted that replacing half a serving per day of plant oils with an equivalent amount of avocado was linked to a 45% higher stroke risk.
Nutrient-rich foodWhen asked to explain what might account for the positive effects of avocado on CVD risk, study first author Lorena Pacheco, Ph.D., MPH, RDN, at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that avocados are nutrient-rich with favorable compounds including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (healthy fats), vitamins, minerals, soluble fiber, vegetable proteins, phytosterols, and polyphenols.
She explains that there are potential biological mechanisms in avocados like the primary monounsaturated fatty acid present in avocados called oleic acid, a healthy fat. “Researchers believe it helps reduce hypertension, inflammation, and insulin sensitivity.”
In addition, Dr. Pacheco said that avocados can also lead to a better lipid profile, meaning lower bad cholesterol levels. They also are a source of vegetable protein, and it’s likely that the avocado-specific group of these heart-healthy compounds accounts for the findings.
The researchers concluded that replacing certain fat-containing foods with avocado could lower CVD risk.
Study limitationsThe authors noted that because the study was observational, they couldn’t establish causation beyond all doubt. And, for perspective, eating less of any heart unhealthy food may be the explanation as opposed to the results being specific to avocado consumption.