eating avocado reduces risk of cardiovascular disease

One of the oddest looking fruits, avocados are unique and delicious. According to a huge, new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, they are also really good for your heart.

Cardiovascular disease kills more people in the world than any other disease: a fact that is particularly disturbing since CVD can largely be prevented by a healthy diet and lifestyle.  The American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology recommends that, for the prevention of CVD, saturated fats and transfats be replaced by plant-based monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

One tasty way to do that, it turns out, is to eat avocados. Avocados are rich in heart healthy nutrients, including fiber, magnesium, potassium, phytosterols, polyphenol flavonoids and those valuable monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

So, what happens when you eat more of them? Your cardiovascular system gets healthier.

This just published study followed 110,487 healthy men and women for 30 years and tracked diet and incidence of CVD. It discovered that people who ate one or more avocados a week had a 16% lower risk of CVD and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease refers to the narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, which can lead to angina or heart attack. Cardiovascular disease refers broadly to all the diseases of the heart and cardiovascular system.

Putting aside just half a serving a day of margarine, butter, egg, yogurt, cheese, or processed meats and replacing it with a quarter of an avocado was associated with a 16%-22% lower risk of CVD. Substituting avocado for butter reduced the risk of CVD by 22%. Eating avocado instead of egg reduced the risk by 18%. For cheese the reductions was 13%.

For coronary heart disease, replacing half a serving a day of the same group of foods with avocado reduced the risk by 19%-31%.

Interestingly, replacing other healthy plant sources of fats, like olive oil, nuts and other plant oils, with avocado did not seem to make a significant difference for CVD prevention, supporting, once again, the recommendation to replace saturated animal fats with unsaturated plant fats.

J Am Heart Assoc. 2022;11:e024014

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