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:
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.