Anew study has suggested that eating two or more servings of avocado weekly was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The study was published in ‘Journal of the American Heart Association’.
Avocados contain dietary fibre, unsaturated fats especially monounsaturated fat (healthy fats) and other favourable components that have been associated with good cardiovascular health. Clinical trials have previously found avocados have a positive impact on cardiovascular risk factors including high cholesterol.
Researchers have believed this is the first, large, prospective study to support the positive association between higher avocado consumption and lower cardiovascular events, such as coronary heart disease and stroke.
“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, PhD, M.P.H., R.D.N., lead author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow in the nutrition department 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,” she added.
For 30 years, researchers followed more than 68,780 women (ages 30 to 55 years) from the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 41,700 men (ages 40 to 75 years) 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 living in the United States. Researchers documented 9,185 coronary heart disease events and 5,290 strokes during more than 30 years of follow-up.
Researchers assessed participants’ diet using food frequency questionnaires given at the beginning of the study and then every four years. They calculated avocado intake from a questionnaire item that asked about the amount consumed and frequency. One serving equalled half of an avocado or a half cup of avocado.