Avocados contain high amounts of fiber, potassium, magnesium, folate, vitamin C and vitamin K.
The fruit is a known source of healthy, unsaturated fats and a great replacement for certain fat-containing foods like butter, cheese or processed meats.
In a study from the University of Texas Health Science Center, scientists found adding avocados to a healthy diet could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, including lowering your cholesterol.
That’s especially good news because the consumption of avocados in the U.S. has nearly tripled in the past two decades, up to nearly 2.6 billion pounds a year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In the study, the team found people who ate at least one avocado each week had a 16% lower risk of heart disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared to those who never or rarely ate avocados.
Replacing half a serving daily of margarine, butter, egg, yogurt, cheese or processed meats such as bacon with the same amount of avocado was linked to a 16% to 22% lower risk of cardiovascular disease events.
A previous study found that eating one avocado a day as part of a moderate-fat diet resulted in lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.
The team says although avocados are not a total solution to improving heart health, research shows substantial benefits to adding them to the diet.
However, everything is in moderation because avocados is not calorie-free. A medium avocado averages about 240 calories and 24 grams of fat, according to the California Avocado Commission.
Yet, they are a source of healthy fat that can be eaten in place of “bad” saturated fat in a typical diet.
And of course, if you’re eating them in guacamole or another type of dip, you’ll want to be careful not to indulge in too many chips, as well.
The research on avocados aligns with the American Heart Association’s guidance to follow the Mediterranean diet—a dietary pattern focused on fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, fish and other healthy foods and plant-based fats such as olive, canola, sesame and other non-tropical oils.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about how eating eggs can help reduce heart disease risk, and herbal supplements could harm your heart rhythm.
For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.
The study was conducted by Mayra L. Estrella et al and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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