Following a healthy dietary pattern focused on fruits, vegetables, grains or fish is the cornerstone of cardiovascular health. A new study from the American Heart Association adds avocado to the list of foods that should be consumed several times a week to stay healthy and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Specifically, the study indicates that eating two or more servings of avocado per week was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and, above all, if the avocado replaces certain foods that contain fats such as butter, cheese or processed meats . In this case, according to research published in the ‘Journal of the American Heart Association’, not only is the risk reduced, it goes further and reduces the possibility of a cardiovascular event.
Avocados contain dietary fiber, unsaturated fats, especially monounsaturated fats (healthy fats), and other favorable components that have been associated with good cardiovascular health. Clinical trials have previously found avocados to have a positive impact on cardiovascular risk factors, including high cholesterol.
The researchers note that this is the first large prospective study to support the positive association between higher avocado consumption and fewer cardiovascular events, such as coronary heart disease and stroke. “Our study provides additional evidence that the intake of unsaturated fats from vegetable sources can improve the quality of the diet and is an important component in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases,” said Lorena S. Pacheco, lead author of the study and fellow at postdoctoral research in the department of nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
“These are particularly noteworthy findings as consumption of avocados has increased sharply in the US over the last 20 years, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture,” he warns.
For 30 years, the researchers followed more than 68,780 women (ages 30 to 55) from the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 41,700 men (ages 40 to 75) from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. . All study participants were free of cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke at the start of the study and lived in the United States. The researchers documented 9,185 coronary heart disease events and 5,290 strokes during more than 30 years of follow-up.
The researchers assessed the participants’ diet using food frequency questionnaires that were administered at the start of the study and then every four years. They calculated avocado intake from a questionnaire item that asked about the amount consumed and the frequency. One serving was equal to half an avocado or half a cup of avocado.
The analysis found, after accounting for a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors and diet in general, that study participants who ate at least two servings of avocado per week had a 16 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease. % lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared to those who never or rarely ate avocados.
Based on statistical modeling, replacing a half daily serving of margarine, butter, eggs, yogurt, cheese, or processed meats such as bacon with the same amount of avocado was associated with a 16 percent to 22 percent lower risk of cardiovascular events. cardiovascular diseases.
Substituting half a daily serving of avocado for the equivalent amount of olive oil, walnuts, and other vegetable oils showed no additional benefit. No significant associations were seen in relation to stroke risk and the amount of avocado eaten.
The study results provide additional guidance for health professionals to share. Offering the suggestion to “replace certain spreads and foods that contain saturated fats, such as cheese and processed meats, with avocado is something that doctors and other health professionals, such as registered dietitians, can do when they meet with patients, especially because avocado is such an accepted good food,” says Pacheco.
However, the study is observational, so direct cause and effect cannot be proven. Two other limitations of the research involve data collection and the composition of the study population. Study analyzes may be affected by measurement errors because dietary intake was self-reported. The participants were mostly white nurses and health professionals, so these results may not apply to other groups.