APR 04, 2022 2:00 PM PDT

Study Reveals How Much Avocado Can Lower Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

It’s well known that avocados pack a health punch. That’s because they’re filled with healthy unsaturated fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fatty acids have long been shown to help improve cardiovascular health by, among other things, helping reduce cholesterol levels in the body. Cholesterol build up is a defining feature of coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common type of heart disease.

But how much avocado is the right amount to have an optimal impact on our health?

A recently completed 30-year study, which examined the effect of avocado consumption on cardiovascular health outcomes, may have the answer: two servings (about 1 avocado) a week. Findings were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers followed almost 110,000 people for about 30 years. Participants, aged 30 to 75, included men and women pulled from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. No participant had any signs of CAD at the start of the study. During the study, each participant was polled regularly with questionnaires (every four years) about their dietary choices, including how many servings of avocado they ate. 

Findings from the study suggested an overall reduced risk of cardiovascular disease among those who ate more avocado. Specifically, researchers noted the following:

  • Compared to those who rarely or never ate avocado, people who ate two servings a week had a roughly 16% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. 
  • Swapping a serving of foods high in saturated fats (such as bacon, yogurt, cheese, or butter) with a serving of avocado showed a similar reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Interestingly, substituting avocado for other foods known to be rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as olive oil) appeared to have no discernible effect on cardiovascular disease risk.

Importantly, avocado did not appear to have any meaningful effect on reducing the risk of stroke.

Researchers highlight that their findings support current American Health Association guidelines to follow diets like the Mediterranean diet and other similar dietary guidelines. The team notes that while getting people to adopt these guidelines is difficult, avocado is at least a popular food. Getting people to eat more of it might not be too hard.

Sources: Science Daily; AHA; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
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