Eating 2 servings a week of 1 fatty fruit can reduce the risk of heart attack, the study says

By Sandee La Motte | CNN

A new study found that eating avocados reduced the risk of heart attacks in both men and women, even when consumed in place of butter, cheese, or processed meats.

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, with nearly 18 million deaths each year. In the United States alone, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says heart disease comes to life every 36 seconds.

Eating at least two servings of avocado a week reduced the risk of having a heart attack by 21% compared to avoiding or rarely eating avocados. However, there has not been an equivalent benefit in reducing stroke risk, according to the study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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One serving of avocado, which is a fruit, was defined as “½ avocado or ½ cup of avocado, which weighs roughly 80 grams,” said study author Lorena Pacheco, postdoctoral researcher in the nutrition department. of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

“Although no food is the solution to eating a healthy diet on a regular basis, this study is proof that avocados have possible health benefits,” said Cheryl Anderson, president of the American Heart Association’s Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, in a declaration. Anderson was not involved in the study.

“We desperately need strategies to improve the intake of AHA-recommended healthy diets – such as the Mediterranean diet – that are rich in fruits and vegetables,” said Anderson, who is also professor and principal of the Herbert Wertheim School of Public. Health and Human Longevity Sciences at the University of California at San Diego.

Long-term study

The study followed more than 68,000 women and 41,000 men who were enrolled in two long-term government studies of risk factors for chronic disease: the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. All participants were cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke free at the start of the studies and completed dietary questionnaires every four years over a 30-year period.

In addition to examining the overall impact of avocado consumption, the researchers performed statistical models and found that they consumed half a serving of avocado (¼ cup) per day instead of the same amount of eggs, yogurt, cheese, margarine, butter, or meats. processed (such as bacon) reduced the risk of heart attack from 16% to 22%.

“The full benefit of routine avocado consumption observed here comes from swapping avocados in the diet and eliminating less healthy foods,” said Dr. David Katz, a specialist in preventive and lifestyle nutrition and medicine, who did not. was involved in the study.

However, the study found no differences in risk reduction when one serving of avocado in half was replaced with an equivalent serving of nuts, olive, and other vegetable oils. This makes sense, Katz said, because the health benefits depend on the food being substituted.

“If, for example, the common exchange were between avocados and walnuts or almonds, the health effects would likely be negligible as the foods have similar nutritional properties and expected health effects,” said Katz, president and founder of the True Health Initiative without. for-profit, a global coalition of experts dedicated to evidence-based lifestyle medicine.

But if avocado replaced butter and margarine as a spread, or was consumed in place of processed meats or cheese on a sandwich, “the nutritional distinctions are considerable” and should change the health outcome, he added.

Although avocados are “particularly rich sources of monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and fiber,” they can also be expensive and therefore not readily available to everyone, Katz said. Similar substitutes could include walnuts, almonds, olives, olive oil, and a variety of seeds such as pumpkin and flax, she said.

Other foods to include that have important health benefits at “much lower price points,” include beans, chickpeas, and lentils, “and perhaps whole grains and related seeds like quinoa,” Katz said.

Preventing heart disease

Preventing heart disease means controlling weight, blood pressure and cholesterol, getting plenty of sleep and regular exercise, managing stress, limiting alcohol and avoiding tobacco consumption, and eating a healthy diet low in sugar, processed and saturated fat, according to the National Library of Medicine.

The American Heart Association states that your body needs fat to increase energy, protect organs, produce hormones, and help with nutrient absorption. However, fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are heart-healthy choices. Olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, and sesame oil are sources of monounsaturated fats, along with avocado, peanut butter, and many nuts and seeds.

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