PARIS, April 2 (Benin News)-
A healthy diet focused on fruits, vegetables, grains or fish is a cornerstone of heart health. A new study from the American Heart Association adds avocado to the list of foods to eat several times a week to stay healthy and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Specifically, studies indicate that consuming two or more servings of avocado per week is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, especially if the avocado replaces certain fat-rich foods such as butter, cheese or processed meat. In this case, according to a study published in the “Journal of the American Heart Association,” not only does it reduce the risk, but it further reduces the likelihood of a cardiovascular event.
Avocados contain dietary fiber, unsaturated fats including monounsaturated fats (healthy fats) and other helpful components that have been linked to good heart health. Clinical trials have already shown that avocados have a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors, including high cholesterol.
The researchers note that this is the first large prospective study to confirm a positive association between higher avocado intake and a reduction in cardiovascular events such as coronary heart disease and stroke. “Our study provides further evidence that eating plant-based unsaturated fats can improve diet quality and is an important component of cardiovascular disease prevention,” said study lead author Lorena S. Pacheco. and postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture, “these results are all the more remarkable because avocado consumption has increased dramatically in the United States over the past 20 years.”
For 30 years, researchers followed more than 68,780 women (ages 30-55) from the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 41,700 men (ages 40-75) 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 lived in the United States. Researchers identified 9,185 cases of coronary heart disease and 5,290 strokes over 30 years.
The researchers assessed the participants’ diets using a food frequency questionnaire administered at the start of the study and then every four years. They calculated avocado consumption from a questionnaire item that asked for quantity and frequency of consumption. One serving was equal to half an avocado or half a cup of avocado.
The analysis found that after taking into account a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors and a general diet, study participants who ate at least two servings of avocados per week had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. 16% and 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared to those who never or rarely ate avocados.
Based on statistical modeling, replacing half a daily serving of processed meats such as margarine, butter, egg, yogurt, cheese, or bacon with the same amount of avocado was associated with a 16 to 22% reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.
Substituting half a daily serving of avocado with equal amounts of olive, walnut, and other vegetable oils did not provide any additional benefit. No significant association was observed between stroke risk and the amount of avocado consumed.
Study results provide additional advice to share with health professionals. suggests that “replacing certain spreads and foods high in saturated fat, such as cheese and processed meats, with avocados is something that doctors and other health care professionals, such as dietitians, may do when visiting their patients, Especially since avocado is a recognized good food,” explains Mr. Pacheco.
However, since the study is based on observation, it is impossible to prove the existence of a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Two other limitations of the research relate to data collection and the composition of the study population. Study analyzes may have been affected by measurement error because food consumption was self-reported. The participants were mostly white nurses and health care professionals, so these findings may not apply to other groups.
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