Story at a glance
- Researchers followed documented avocado consumption of around 110,000 people over a 20-year period.
- The team found participants who ate two or more servings of avocado each week were at 16 percent lower risk than those who rarely consumed the fruit to develop cardiovascular disease.
- They were also at 21 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.
Eating at least two servings of avocado weekly was associated with lower risk of developing several types of heart disease, a new study suggests.
“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 Lorena S. Pacheco, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
“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,” Pacheco added in a news release.
Researchers followed for 30 years more than 68,780 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 41,700 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were free of cancer, heart disease and stroke at the beginning of the study period. Participants’ diets were then evaluated every four years through a questionnaire, which measured their avocado intake. One serving equaled about a cup of avocado.
During the study period, researchers documented 9,185 coronary heart disease events and 5,290 strokes.
The team found participants who ate two or more servings of avocado each week were at 16 percent lower risk than those who rarely consumed the fruit to develop cardiovascular disease, and 21 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.
Researchers additionally concluded through statistical modeling that replacing half a serving daily of margarine, butter, egg, yogurt, cheese, or processed meats can lead to a 16 percent to 22 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease events.
“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,” said Cheryl Anderson, chair of the American Heart Association’s Council on Epidemiology and Prevention.
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