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Exotic fruit that protects the heart – One a week is enough

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It has a buttery flavor and is an important part of vegan and vegetarian diets. The exotic fruit, in addition to its nutritious worth, also protects the heart.

Avocado toast has become the go-to breakfast for the fit and healthy, and recent research reveals that it may be good for their hearts.

Researchers discovered that individuals who ate half an avocado twice a week had a 16 percent reduced risk of heart disease and a 21 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who never or rarely ate the fruit.

Lead researcher Lorena Pacheco says “this 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 in the general population.”

“Our results are timely, since the nationwide consumption of avocado has risen steeply in the U.S. in the last 20 years.”

Pacheco emphasized that this type of observational study cannot establish conclusively that eating avocados lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, simply that there may be a link.

Avocados are high in dietary fiber, monounsaturated fat (healthy fat), and other nutrients that have been associated to improved cardiovascular health.

Avocados can be part of a heart-healthy diet, but “it is certainly not a magical bullet in itself,” Pacheco said.

The results could possibly be skewed because participants stated how much avocado they ate, and some of them may have misremembered.

Pacheco and her colleagues gathered information from over 110,000 men and women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study (roughly 69,000 women) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study for the study (nearly 42,000 men).

Over the course of the study’s more than 30 years of follow-up, more than 9,100 people acquired heart disease and 5,200 had a stroke.

According to Pacheco, replacing half a serving of margarine, butter, egg, yogurt, cheese, or processed meats with half a serving of avocado reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 16 to 22 percent.

The researchers found no additional advantage from substituting half a serving of avocado per day for olive oil, almonds, or other plant oils. They also discovered that the risk of stroke was unaffected by the amount of avocado consumed.

“These findings further substantiate the evidence on the replacement of certain spreads and saturated fat-containing foods, such as cheese and processed meats, with a plant-sourced fat such as avocado, which for the most part, is a well-accepted and popular food,” Pacheco added.

“Additionally, the results from this study are akin to those of other monounsaturated fatty acid-rich foods, such as olive oil and nuts.”

Avocados are a rich source of several key nutrients, including healthy fats, fiber, vitamins C and E, and minerals like potassium, according to Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Health in New York City. They’re also cholesterol-free by nature.

“Avocados have a creamy, satisfying texture and taste and are a good addition to one’s healthy, more plant-based, balanced eating style,” added Heller, who wasn’t part of the study.

Avocados can be eaten in a variety of ways, according to her.

“Serve guacamole with whole-grain tortilla chips mix mashed avocado with hummus for a dip served with crudites add avocados to smoothies top salads and sandwiches with avocado slices make avocado toast topped with fresh sliced tomatoes, or try an avocado-based sauce for pasta. You can even make sweets like fudge with avocados,” Heller said.

Source: Avocado

Image Credit: Getty

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